WASHINGTON, July 6, 2011 — Most people learning of the “not guilty” verdict in the highly publicized Casey Anthony murder trial thought the outcome was unjust and unfair, but not all.
Some, like former criminal prosecutor and current trial attorney Debbie Hines, expected that the young Orlando, Florida mother, accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008 and then partying afterwards, would be set free. Yesterday, a jury found Casey Anthony guilty of misleading the police but not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, or aggravated child abuse.
“It was a classic textbook case of reasonable doubt,” Hines said. She was quite surprised to discover after learning of the verdict that she was in the minority who thought the case was fairly decided. Hines, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who has defended clients in criminal cases, said she found herself in demand over her differing viewpoint on the case. She was called in to appear on several local shows, appearing on the local CBS affiliate WUSA9 before settling down to pen her thoughts in a post on her blog, Legal Speaks:
“There were enough holes for the jury to see through the prosecution’s case. There was more than enough reasonable doubt to go around. The jury only needed one reasonable doubt and the defense gave them many more doubts based on reason. …
“When I prosecuted, I always asked that the verdict be fair and just. And if it was fair and just based solely on the evidence and nothing else, I was satisfied, even with a not guilty verdict. … The prosecution had a good victim in Caylee but a poor or weak circumstantial case. Hence, the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murder of her daughter, Caylee.
“In the words of the late attorney Johnnie Cochran, if the evidence doesn’t fit, you must acquit. And in the Casey Anthony case, the evidence didn’t match up to a murder conviction. It was a just and fair verdict.”
Indeed, many people found the verdict reminiscent of the outcome of the OJ Simpson murder trial. In that 1995 case, the Heisman Trophy winner was acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. The Casey Anthony case had an equally sympathetic victim and broke the hearts of many parents.
In the end, no matter how much people wanted a guilty verdict for Casey Anthony, the prosecutors did not meet their burden. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. Court watchers who are parents, and even those who are not, invested a lot of energy in this case. They don’t have to agree that it was decided wrongly or rightly, but the fact remains that a little girl’s life was snuffed out and no verdict will bring her back. Instead, we are left with an empty feeling wondering whether justice was indeed served, or denied.
Read more Politics of Raising Children in The Communities at the Washington Times. Follow Jeneba Ghatt at @JenebaSpeaks. Her work can also be read at JenebaSpeaksm BlackWeb 2.0 and Politic365. She also co-hosts a Blog Talk Radio show called Right of Black which tackles current events and politics from a perspective not often seen in the mainstream media.
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