I think I speak for everyone when I say that this is a gross, gross miscarriage of justice.
And on this, I’m being polite. As a crim-J graduate, and as someone who has absolutely no mercy to speak of towards abusers of any and all kinds, I’m angry.
For those who do not know, Casey Anthony was arrested for the murder of her daughter, two-year-old Caylee. Today, she was found not guilty.
This is the thing: Casey’s parents, Cindy and George Anthony, were fully aware that Casey took the kid with her. Casey reported her “missing” after 31 days – well long enough for a body to begin to decompose. Her parents initially called the cops, freaking out how they’ve not seen Caylee. Then Cindy recants, saying that the car smelled like trash.
Let me remind you that this was Florida in the summer. Heat accelerates decomposition, rapidly so. The only thing far as Casey’s car to signal that Caylee was in there was a hair in the trunk. Interestingly, new research at the University of Tennessee’s body farm shows that the hair has a band of sorts form on it at death. The hair in the trunk was identified as Caylee’s, and had that band.
The parents completely disregarded that the car smelled like trash; Cindy Anthony only remarked on it. And when Caylee’s remains were found, they were found in a swamp. In Florida heat, there will not be much soft tissue left. And what was left? Duct tape wrapped around Caylee’s head, which was later matched to the tape found at the Anthonys’ house, where Casey lived with her parents. The blanket. And, likely, just the skeleton.
When Casey Anthony was asked where her daughter was, she named a woman. Except that woman had no idea who Casey or Caylee were, and actually filed a defamation suit since then. No one else was named by the family in this case.
It doesn’t take very much to figure out that Casey Anthony is responsible for her daughter’s death. Her car had Caylee’s hair in it, a hair that clearly identified that she was already dead. The car smelled like trash, which is a nice way of saying decomp; in Florida June heat, the inside of a car trunk can get up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. I can promise you, if you leave anything perishable in a trunk that hot, it will be either cooked or rancid by the end of the day. I cannot imagine the stench that the little girl’s decomposing body must have kicked up if she had been kept in the trunk that long. And the duct tape – trust me, there was no way that Caylee would’ve wrapped the duct tape around herself. And I don’t know about you, people, but if there were people around the little girl, as I’m sure there were, then I somehow doubt that a month would’ve crept by before someone noticed that she was not around. The parents of Casey Anthony should’ve been the first.
It speaks a lot to character, and I think that they were all in on it.
The prosecution did a very poor job of properly compiling the evidence. Recanting on the parents’ part. The fake babysitter on Casey’s. Casey’s computer turned up evidence of her Googling broken necks, death, and how to make chloroform. And more interestingly, Casey Anthony didn’t give a whit about her kid in the immediate days, including getting a tattoo saying “Bella Vita” and partying. This, of course, is considering what was found in her car.
As far as child-killing moms go, at least Susan Smith had the grace to put on a good show before it was found out that she was the killer.
Oh, and George Anthony almost handed the prosecution their case. The defense tried a spin that Caylee drowned in the pool, and George panicked and covered it up. George denied it on the stand. Good morning, prosecution, and where were you? Also, the prosecution accused the Anthonys of abusing Casey, in an attempt to prove mens rea by reason of PTSD. Except Casey was never sexually abused.
Really. Though this evidence is circumstantial in some aspects, it was enough to have put her behind bars for good. Seriously. Scott Peterson was convicted on much shoddier evidence than this, but the prosecution left nothing to chance in getting that case put to bed. Susan Smith and Andrea Yates, also child killers, got convicted.
Why did Casey Anthony not get convicted?!
I would bet you good money that the jury played semantics on this one. The evidence was there. Maybe poorly presented, but it was there. Did they think that the poor, poor family who lost the baby suffered enough and they can’t possibly be made to suffer more by having Casey Anthony go to prison? Maybe. Or maybe it’s the slant of the justice system that the mother cannot possibly be guilty of murdering her own child – something that the Smith/Yates prosecution teams have battled tooth and nail; the glaring evidence in their favor also helped. But one way or another, the case was nowhere near as well-presented as it should have been, and a killer walked as a result.
I will say a very unpleasant truth. One that will shatter many, many an illusion, but for some of the readers of this blog, it will come as no surprise.
Not everyone wants children.
An addendum to that rule: some of those who have children they do not want will attempt to rectify the problem.
Casey Anthony was one of those people. She had a child. She didn’t want the child. And instead of having an abortion when she found out that she was pregnant, or giving the child up for adoption at birth, she went on to have it, and keep it. And, of course, she resented the child for putting a cramp into her lifestyle, and had sought a way to rectify that. So she did. By killing Caylee.
Screw semantics for a minute and look at the cold, hard truth, even if it’s seriously unpleasant. Casey Anthony killed her daughter. Knowingly and deliberately. The evidence, while not as strong as I would like, personally, was enough to convict her. And it didn’t happen.
The parents have done everything possible to enable their child, even if it meant overlooking neglect. One thing I can tell you, both as route of my studies, observation, and experience, it is that this doesn’t happen out of nowhere. Abuse and neglect always have a pattern, always have a starting pattern. This must have been happening for a long time.
What’s worse is that this case is a new precedent, and not one I like. What I’m concerned about now is that the death of Nixzmary Brown, also at the hands of her parents, would be decided the same way. And that if ever there is a case of a child dying at their parents’ hands, semantics will, once again, dictate that a parent just couldn’t possibly be guilty of killing their own child. Even though, as in the cases of Theresa Knorr, Debora Green, and Diane Downs had shown, it’s not only possible, but it happens.
And what’s even worse is that every abused kid who is struggling to get out will now get to hear, “They didn’t convict Casey Anthony, they won’t convict me either” as a justification to the abuse they may receive.
Way to go, jury. Your semantics just set back whatever ground that anti-abuse precedents may have gained.