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The case against Casey fell apart

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Column by Jim Clark

Now that the “trial of the century” (another one) is over, we can look back and see how the verdict evolved. From my view, this was a botched prosecution from the start.

Consider how it began, with numerous witnesses who were friends and acquaintances of Casey Anthony and workers from nightclubs, including “shot girls.”

The prosecutors spent a week or so in this type of testimony, and when it was going on I thought to myself, “Is this the best that they’ve got? They’re in trouble.” All of this behavior was after the fact and was supposed to give the jury a look at the moral aspect of Casey’s life. But none of it linked her to the death. That’s what the defense called speculation and innuendo, and that was correct.

Remember there was also talk that the meter man who discovered the body had tried to call police earlier, but was rebuffed. If that’s true, how much physical forensic evidence was lost over those four months that the remains lay in the swampy area?

Then came the long, drawn out forensic testimony, nearly all of which was rebutted by the defense. It showed forensic “experts” criticizing each other’s findings, which probably led the jury to not believe any of them.

In the end, it was the lack of a murder weapon, the lack of a location, the lack of a time of death that did the prosecution in. No jury is going to send someone to the death chamber without some concrete evidence.

Watching the reactions afterward was enlightening about how little some people know about the courts. One woman nearly screamed into the microphone, “Was this jury watching the same trial I was?” Well, no ma’am, they weren’t. The jury wasn’t hearing all the “analysis” that was going on during each recess. The jury wasn’t exposed to the nasty comments of Nancy Grace every night for the entire trial. All it heard was the actual testimony, without the editorial comments.

Finally, there came the closing summations. The defense won this, hands down. The prosecutor spoke first, and he was a disaster. He read from notes, constantly turning the pages, making very little eye contact with the jury, and exhibited nervousness by taking a swallow of bottled water every couple of minutes. He seemed to be speaking from the notes, not from the heart.

Then came the defense, and Jose Baez did a masterful job. He spoke with very few notes, instead focusing on the jury and engaging the jury in a one-sided conversation. He appeared at ease with his job and spoke with passion.

The prosecution rebuttal came the next day, and everyone said it was an advantage for the state, but it didn’t seem that way. The jury just wanted to get going and probably didn’t care about listening to more legalese from the attorneys.

There were those who criticized the speed (11 hours) of the verdict. I wonder if these people were ever on a jury. I was on a DUI case once, and we went into the jury room, chose a foreman (for some reason they chose me) and I called for a vote to see where we stood. The vote was 6-0 guilty, so after only 15 minutes, we were done. There really wasn’t anything to discuss.

This may have been the same thing. With seven counts to go through, it would seem that there was agreement the first time around on most of them. People said they didn’t call for more testimony to be read to them or for longer looks at the evidence, but if they’re all in agreement from the get-go, why bother?

No one likes to see Casey go into party mode, or possibly reap huge profits from movie and book deals, but that’s the way the system works. If she did it, and remember, she was found not guilty (not “innocent”), then she’ll have to answer to a higher power some day. That’s when the truth will all come out … no jury verdict needed.

 

Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.