Casey Anthony verdict: The system worked but justice is denied

Deplorable as it is, little Caylee won't get justice. Why not bend the rules just this once? Because without our legal precepts anarchy would run amok. Photo: Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Tx.  July 8, 2011 — It’s now official: even the heavens don’t seem to be happy with the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. The Orlando Sentinel reported yesterday at 6:00 pm EST,

“A tall tree in the same area where Caylee Marie Anthony’s remains were found was struck by lightning this afternoon — just hours after her mother learned she would be released from jail next week.”

Caylee Marie Anthony (b. 9-9-05 d. 6-16-08). Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony, was found not guilty Tuesday, July 5, 2011, of killing her 2-year-old daughter three years ago in a case that captivated the nation as it played out on national television. (Associated Press)

Caylee Marie Anthony (b. 9-9-05 d. 6-16-08). Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, was found not guilty Tuesday, July 5, 2011, of killing her 2-year-old daughter three years ago in a case that captivated the nation as it played out on national television. (Associated Press)

Beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard by which we judge the evidence against the accused; not how we feel about him/her. The legal system did work but there will be no justice for Caylee.

Unfortunately all the evidence was circumstantial and the prosecution couldn’t say for sure how the toddler died.  Therefore the jurors felt they could not render a guilty verdict much to their dismay.

Juror #2 is quoted by IBTimes | New York,

“Everybody agreed, if we were going fully on feelings and emotions, she was done. But the jurors instead went on the evidence presented before them, and as a conclusion, acquitted Anthony because there were not enough pieces to convict her.”

It’s easy to understand why people are angry because of the verdict. But it it’s also easy to see it wasn’t an easy choice made by the jury.

We always hear that we have the best judicial system in the world but that doesn’t mean the outcome of cases will always be the one on the side of justice.

In this instance there was no smoking gun. It didn’t  wrap up nicely with a pretty pink bow like on TV. Even though shows about law enforcement are a lot more realistic than when I was a kid they are still not real.

True life doesn’t work like that.

Investigators did find in her mom’s car a decomposing hair belonging to the little girl. It means Caylee’s dead body was in the car but it doesn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that her mother murdered her. Logic tells us that that evidence means she probably knew about it, but that would make her an accessory to the crime. Not the murderer.

Casey Anthony wasn’t charged with being an accessory to a crime.

 I noticed a comment left on a blog that encouraged people to write the judge to overturn the verdict.

It doesn’t work that way.

Making a guilty decision in spite of the evidence goes against everything we believe as a nation. We can’t go by our feelings.

If we did  we might as well get out our pitchforks and torches every time a murder trial or other legal case makes us angry. That conjures up images of outraged citizens charging up a mountainside after Frankenstein’s Monster.

Or of the lynch mob that gathered outside the town jail as Atticus Finch barred them from the jail cell of Tom Robinson.

There’s another way to look at this:

What if someone accused you of a crime and the police believed the accuser even though you are innocent? What if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time? What if you looked like someone who committed a horrible crime and witnesses were sure you were the one they saw?

You don’t think that couldn’t happen to you?

A nice, decent person such as yourself?

What if an eyewitness is absolutely convinced her attacker was you and says so, many times over despite a lack of physical evidence? It happened to Timothy Brian Cole. He was a decent person, an Army veteran and student at Texas Tech.

Timothy Brian Cole, wrongly accused of rape; exonerated by DNA after death in prison (B. July 1960, d. December 1999)

Timothy Brian Cole, wrongly accused of rape; exonerated by DNA after death in prison (B. July 1960, d. December 1999)

He also has the love of a family who miss him very much.

Mr. Cole was innocent yet convicted of aggravated sexual assault and given twenty-five years in prison. He died of asthma after thirteen years behind bars still declaring he was innocent. The state of Texas posthumously exonerated Timothy of the crime when someone else confessed and DNA proved the confession true.

Talk about too little too late.

What if law enforcement believed a person who claimed to see you in the area of a dead body from a distance of 75 yards in an unlighted parking lot on a moonless night?

And went on further to identify your nose as looking like the person he saw?

What if investigators also neglected to interview a principal alternate suspect in your case that was also a relative of the victim who provided a dubious alibi?

That happened to David and Cynthia Dowaliby. They are decent people too.

Indicted in the murder of their seven-year old daughter Jaclyn they had to fight the legal system all the way to the Illinois Appellate Court. According to Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University,

“At the Dowalibys’ 1990 jury trial, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Neville granted a directed verdict of not guilty in Cynthia Dowaliby’s case because there was no credible evidence against her. Neville allowed her husband’s case to go to the jury, even though the only difference between the evidence against the two was the so-called ‘nose witness’ testimony.

In 1991, the Illinois Appellate Court reversed David Dowaliby’s conviction outright, holding that the evidence against him had been no more probative than that against his wife. The appellate court also held that Assistant State’s Attorneys Patrick O’Brien and George Velcich had committed reversible error during closing argument and that Neville had erred in allowing jurors to see gory crime scene and autopsy photographs.”

Thankfully those cases are the exception, not the rule.

I know if I was in the hot seat I’d be delighted to see a defense lawyer stand between me and the prosecutor. The fifth amendment would become my best friend. And I’d be really happy that the evidence had to be beyond a reasonable doubt to convict me.

Defense attorney Jose Baez and Casey Anthony react after the jury acquitted her of murdering her daughter, Caylee, during Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (Image: Associated Press)

Defense attorney Jose Baez and Casey Anthony react after the jury acquitted her of murdering her daughter, Caylee, during Anthony’s murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (Image: Associated Press)

In fact I like them already.

The above cases show why our legal precepts must be followed. In those cases had law enforcement done so Timothy Cole might be alive now and the Dowaliby’s wouldn’t have so much more hell heaped upon them in addition to grieving the loss of their beloved daughter.

For the record I believe Casey Anthony isn’t innocent the verdict stinks on ice.

But without the stops put in our legal system civilized society would snowball out of control all the way to anarchy. Anarchy on TV is fine. But in real life it would be hell on earth.

****

For Claire Hickey, writing is a newly realized passion. Read more of Claire’s work at Feed The Mind, Nourish The Soul in the Communities at The Washington Times, her blog Sustenance For The Mind, and the writing group she belongs to at Greater Fort Worth Writers Group.

 

Join her on Facebook at facebook.com/Claire0803 and

Twitter http://twitter.com/Claire0803


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Claire Hickey

Claire has held a Texas Cosmetology License, Certification in Surgical Technology and has decorated cakes professionally. She believes that life is a banquet to be experienced and wants to learn and do as much as possible while she’s here. This Stay @ Home Mom has always loved to write and thanks to the Communities @ The Washington Times has got her chance. Her curiosity and writing lead her to create her column based on “garbage in garbage out” theory to provide interesting and thought provoking pieces that enrich her readers. A proud member and Treasurer for the Greater Fort Worth Writer’s Group she is currently working on her first novel.  

 

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