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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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The Casey Anthony Verdict: What System Would YOU Prefer?

34 comments

I am a father and a grandfather; the idea of one of my daughters doing harm to or killing one of my two grandsons is unimaginable to me. Approximately nine weeks ago, twelve very brave, very judicious, United States citizens were handed the responsibility of judging the case of whether a mother, Casey Anthony, was responsible for killing her own daughter.

As our system requires, these twelve people did not get to listen to the rantings of Nancy Grace and others on television; these "talking heads" had this young woman convicted before she ever saw the inside of a courtroom. The twelve people were excused from the room when certain pieces of evidence were argued over, when snide comments were made, and when the media commented on the comments. I saw more lawyers who have never seen the inside of a courtroom comment on the guilt and/or innocence of this woman, the mounting or lack of evidence against her, her behavior after the child went missing, and her painful-to-listen-to-allegations against her own father. The jury in this case was limited to judging only the evidence proffered in court. Her attorney, Cheney Mason, was correct in his criticism of the media and its prejudgment of the outcome of his client’s case.

The bedrock of our justice system, both criminal and civil, is our jury system. If I am accused of doing something wrong, if I am seriously injured or damaged in some way, I want a jury of my peers determining my fate. I want a completely independent analysis of the facts and circumstances of my case. I do not want my case decided by someone who is employed by the system. That’s what makes our system great; our fate is determined by our fellow citizens, not by the prosecutors, not by the judges, not by talking heads on TV, not by politicians, not by corporate or financial business interests, but by a jury of our peers. The Bill of Rights says so.

You remember the Bill of Rights; these were the first ten Constitutional Amendments, introduced by James Madison to the 1st Congress of the United States in 1789. They went into effect in 1791. The more well-known 6th Amendment guaranteed a right to jury trial in criminal cases. That is why Casey Anthony’s guilt or innocence was determined by a jury of her peers. The less well-known 7th Amendment guaranteed a jury trial in civil cases involving controversies larger than $20.00. No "right" guaranteed by the Bill of Rights has been trampled on more than the 7th Amendment. Tort reforms, at both state and federal levels, have seriously damaged a citizen’s precious right to a jury trial in civil cases. Citizens should be outraged; instead, they stand passively aside and watch corporate interests run roughshod over the 7th Amendment and their civil rights.

These same passive citizens are now outraged that a jury of their peers said that the prosecution in the Casey Anthony case did not do their jobs; they did not meet their burden of proof. They proved that Casey Anthony was a liar, but they proved little else; they did not prove that murder was committed; they did not prove how little Caylee Anthony died. It was their burden to prove and they failed; that’s why they lost. The system did not fail little Caylee, the prosecution did. They brought a flimsy, toilet paper case and tried to use Casey’s conduct, after Caylee’s disappearance, to convince the jury that she was guilty. The issue was not what Casey did after Caylee disappeared; the issue was what Casey did before she disappeared. The prosecution had no evidence, none; the case was a sheep in wolf’s clothing. If you wish to vent anger, vent it at the prosecution for not building an airtight case before seeking justice for little Caylee.

If Caylee was murdered, only her maker and her murderer know what happened. I drew conclusions as the trial dragged on; it was impossible not to. I will not share those conclusions here, because whether or not you and/or I believe Casey Anthony to be guilty does not matter. Those who say "justice was not done" or ask "where is the justice for little Caylee?" are misunderstanding our system. Justice was done in the Casey Anthony trial. When a citizen is charged with a crime, the state has the burden of proving her guilt. Casey Anthony has always been innocent under our system; she is innocent until the prosecution proves her to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and a jury of her peers accepts and votes "guilty" upon that proof. That is the standard we want for ourselves; that is the standard we want for our family members. That is the standard we just celebrated on the 4th of July. It is the only one of its kind in the world. It is the standard that we all should celebrate as applying to all of our fellow citizens. As angry as you might be at the verdict, ask yourself this question: Who do you want standing in judgment of you?

Mark M. Bello is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation where he is instrumental in providing cash flow solutions and consulting when necessity of life lawsuit funding is needed during litigation. Mr. Bello has thirty-four years experience as a trial lawyer and 13 years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the litigation funding industry. Mr. Bello is a sustaining and Justice PAC member of the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, Justice PAC member of the American Association for Justice, Member of the American and Michigan Bar Associations, Member of the Public Justice Foundation, out-of-state member of the Mississippi Association for Justice and a business associate of the Florida Justice Association, Tennessee Association for Justice, Central Ohio Association for Justice and the Consumer Attorneys of California. He is also a proud member of the InjuryBoard.

34 Comments

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  1. Debra says:
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    People are talking as if they know Casey murdered her daughter. The prosecution had a theory and the theory had too many holes in it. I don’t believe she murdered her daughter. The problem is the media and the way they sensationalize these cases and tell the people what to think and believe. Thank God this young woman was able to get a fair trial because of an excellent defense and a no-nonsense judge who ran his courtroom they way they should be run. They lawyers in Family Court do the same things Aston was doing in court from day 1. They make faces, laugh,(sometimes out loud) roll their eyes back in their heads, especially when the moms (whose children they have taken or trying to take), are testifying. Anything to to upset the mother are cause her humiliation. I thought the prosecution was terrible. I’m surprised Mr. Baez was able to control himself as long as he did. I believe Caylee’s death was an accident, and I believe her grandfather disposed of the body and panicked when the police became involved. The duct-tape was clearly not on the child’s mouth or face when she died. There was no DNA or cloraform, or hair on that tape and there would have been had she suffocated as the prosecution wanted people to believe. Thank God this jury was intelligent enough to realize you can’t convict a person based on a theory. If you have a theory you must be able to prove it. Scott Peterson was not as lucky, he is on deathrow because he committed adultry. Thank God this jury was intelligent!

  2. lori says:
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    I believe she’s guilty but I also believe that this country’s justice system should be based on ‘innocent until proven guilty’. That’s almost unheard of anymore tho. This is all simple…the Prosecution team didn’t do their job!!
    It’s not my place to judge this woman…but SOMEBODY KNOWS what happened to that baby and the way they just threw her in a ditch is wrong! They will pay. God says “vengeance is mine”.

  3. NY Consultant says:
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    I’m appauled at the reaction of citizens in this country that formed an opinion that Casey murdered her daughter. I do not believe the prosecutor proved his case beyond a reasonable doubt. I love the phrase “There before the grace of God goes I”, should this same situation happened to any of the nay sayers I think their sentiment would be different. Relating this case to O.J. Simpson is also ridiculous. Anyone who felt Caylee did not recieve justice I think Mr. Baez said it best “there were no winners in this case”. The likes of Nancy Grace and other attorneys on court TV should respect the law that states you are innocent until proven guilty, they sensationalize this case and condemn Casey before the trial. For the citizens that formed a guilty verdict without all of the facts should get a life. I pray for the Anthony family because their lives will never be the same.

  4. audriana says:
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    This is an amazing cause i am trying to support! Please join and help less fortunate children in Caylee Anthony’s memory! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Donate-toys-and-necessities-to-charities-for-kids-in-Caylee-Anthonys-name/217230941646048?ref=ts&sk=wall

  5. Kathy says:
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    I agree with you, Mark. I just finished serving as a juror on a 5 week double murder trial, and people have no idea what a difficult job that can be. It really frustrates me when people are so quick to blame the jury instead of realizing they did their job and the prosecution didn’t prove their case. We were not on that jury so we have no idea exactly what they heard or saw and what they had to consider as the actual facts and evidence in the case. What we hear on the news or what the attorneys say in court is NOT evidence. Everyone is supposed to be considered innocent until PROVEN GUILTY, not the other way around. Unfortunately, there are a lot of armchair jurors out there who think they are qualified to determine someone’s guilt without knowing the facts and applying the law, and I sure hope if I’m ever fasely accused of something, I don’t have jurors like that. My fellow jurors and I were told by the attorneys for both sides of the case to be the kind of juror we would want if we or a family member were on trial or a victim of a crime. Everyone should keep that in mind. People also need to realize that just because a jury finds a defendant not guilty does not necessarily mean they think they are innocent…it just means that the State did not prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and it is a heavy burden placed on a jury to make that kind of determination and have someone’s life in their hands.

  6. R says:
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    Reasonable “doubt” is reasonable doubt. The defense showed reasonable doubt in more than one “key” instance during this trial. And BY LAW, all the defense was required to do was show a single shred of reasonable doubt to acquit Casey Anthony. That was EASILY accomplished. Most people may not think the (jury) did their job, but the SYSTEM ITSELF did it’s job. IT WORKED. And the virtual whirlwind of volatile, MOB-LIKE, lynch mentality across the nation needs to redirect itself into something positive like changing the laws if they feel THAT passionate about it. Otherwise they embarrass themselves with their ignorant vigilante justice comments. INNOCENT UNTIL (((PROVEN))) GUILTY IN THE COURT OF LAW. CASE CLOSED.

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    I do not know what happened. Does anyone know? The killer knows. There is no perfect way to get the truth. No automatic way. When I listen to a talk show idiot churn the ratings by accusing the jury of everything imaginable and trashing the court system, I wonder why anyone would think that they know anything. We all have hunches. We all have opinions. We all have biases and prejudices. Nancy Grace makes millions of dollars by exploiting prejudice and fear and anger and frustration. Read “Twelve Angry Men” and try to understand that the process of justice is fallible and that prosecutors do their best, defense lawyers do their best, judges do their best and jurors do their best. As Mark Bello suggest, do you really want to have Nancy Grace make these decisions? And if you were asked to put the mom tpo death …. today …. to pull the trigger or inject the serum to kill her, could you stand up to whatever God you pray to and do it? I think not. Justice has been done and we will never know who killed this sweet child.

  8. Mark Bello says:
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    A comment to the comments. Many attorneys were concerned about whether we attorneys should blog or comment about our justice system after this verdict. The concern was that most people would think that this case is another example of a “broken system”. Of course, it is not; it is proof that the system works; it is proof that the burden of proof is on the prosecutor and that burden must be met if we are to convict a person of murder. It is the standard that all citizens should covet and embrace. The comments of non-attorneys like Kathy, Lori, “R”, and, perhaps, others, are heartening. Hopefully, my brother and sister attorneys are reading the comments of sensible citizens who do not share in the opinions of “talking heads” who make millions mocking jurors, verdicts, and our system of justice. There is hope out there ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.

  9. Alan says:
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    The sensational nature of journalism in this country today should be an embarrassment to all citizens. Seeing crowds of people around the Anthony home today makes me wonder if there are any sane people left in America.

  10. Richard says:
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    Having a jury of your peers decide your fate would be acceptable if those peers were not full of their own biases and prejudices. Most importantly, having a jury of your peers decide your fate would be acceptable if they did not favour one counsel’s manner of presenting evidence or argument as opposed to actual evidence (be it direct or cimcumstantial). When the most important aspect of the jury system is the selection process and where specialists are hired to help in selecting potential jurors you have to wonder how stable and solid the “bedrock” of your system is. Let’s face it, when selecting jurors becomes almost as important as presenting a case to jurors, you cannot help but feel the admiinistration of justice is at risk. Nevermind the plethora of issues that are raised when you sequester people for extended periods of time. The system is deeply flawed and the main reason why the administration of justice is brought in to disrepute on an almost daily basis. You can argue about reasonable doubt until your blue in the face but in a world where most cases are circumstantial you would hope the only thing that matters in relation to a jury is whether there is sufficient common sense and logic to even bother presenting a case to a jury.

  11. Richard says:
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    One more point I would like to add: it takes lawyers several years of education and practice to understand how to work with the law and apply the law, yet, we would believe that a jury of 12 lay people can “apply” the law on the basis of one simple instruction from a judge? This is a point I struggle with as I am quite hesitant to believe that a jury has the wherewithal to properly undertake the task of applying the law in a case, particularly, in the case of a matter where there is circumstantial evidence.

  12. dana says:
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    Wow! as a Mom, my kids would not be out of my sight for 2 seconds nevermind 4 or 5 weeks. We all know she is guilty and the unfortunate part of this is the lawyers who take on these cases pro-betem who want to be remembered and make themselves more famous. ( go ahead and keep popping that champagne!…are you happy) How sad? I could go on forever with this but what does it really matter in the end? political, disgusting etc. She must put her head down (casey anthony) on a pillow every night and hopefully feel some kind of remorse for her actions. (I doubt it, though)! Who was the father and where is her sweet innocent daughter Kaylee. I guess we will never know. How incredibly sad. I wish I was on the jury. I would have stayed for 5 years if I had to and left my job in order to find a verdict of “guilty”! sad, sad, sad and also, she may claim she will continue the rest of her life to find the murderer (didn’t OJ simpson say that about Nicole and then continue on to play golf)! until convicted of another crime? I will pray for this child and her soul! she is in a better place then being with the mother and family who so called “loved her so much and raised her” yeah right! God Bless you little sweet angel Kaylee!

  13. Mark Bello says:
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    To Dana and Richard: We all pray for little Caylee. As I indicated in my post, the death of a child so young and beautiful is unimaginable and unacceptable in civilized society. As to Richard’s post about individual prejudices and the complex process of jury selection, OF COURSE there are jurors who have pre-conceived notions of justice; there are judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys who have pre-conceived notions of justice, as well. That is why both sides receive very liberal opportunities to thank and excuse jurors that do not meet with their own particular notion of potential “justice”. And Richard, there is no “one simple instruction” and off you go. There are a series of rather detailed instructions about the burden of proof and about the definition of “reasonable doubt”. I suggest that you take a breath and listen to what the jurors who actually heard all of the RELEVANT AND APPROPRIATE evidence (without all the media hype and opinions; with all due respect Richard, you didn’t evaluate the same evidence that the jury did; you got the media version) say in the coming days and weeks. You will find that the rule of law in criminal cases requires that the prosecution PROVE its case to the jury. It simply didn’t do that for this jury in this case; that’s why Casey walks.

    Whether you or I believe this woman to be guilty, there is no shame in having dinner and champagne for, as Jose Baez indicated, the saving of a life of someone that he believes to be innocent. He said that; he didn’t have to; lawyers often defend people who they believe to be guilty. It is their job and they take it quite seriously, in the face of frequent criticism. If Baez says he believes her to be innocent, I take him at his word and he has reason to quietly toast his victory.

    If Casey committed this crime, I wish her a horrible life, but I keep coming back to my original questions: What system would YOU prefer? Who do you want sitting in judgment of YOU?

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    GREAT post which deserves wide distribution! The 7th Amendment is the most unknown in the Bill of Rights.

  15. Mark Bello says:
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    Andrew: Thank you; that is high praise coming from someone as knowledgeable on the subject as you are. Regards, Mark

  16. KeepingThis4Reference! says:
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    Thank you so much for sharing this, Mark. Many, myself included, have already shared it with friends and family around the world.

  17. Richard says:
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    I mean no disrespect to anyone as this is a healthy debate handled in the proper manner and represents a meaningful exchange of ideas. My opinion is simply this: if we are to hold a jury to the same standard that we would hold a judge, that is, (a) they are to examine all evidence, (b) consider whether the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and whether the prosecution has met this standard and (c) carefully apply the appropriate law to the particular facts of the case and the burden of proof placed on the prosecution, then I see no material difference between having a judge alone or a jury deciding a person’s fate. When we ask a jury to strip away their emotions and intuitions and instead only determine if a prosecution has established a case beyond a reasonable doubt then wouldn’t a judge be in exactly the same position? What would make the jury system proper and appropriate is if they could on their own determine (having considered the evidence) whether the accused is guilty or not. How can we establish that the bedrock of the justice system is a jury system where jurors feel awful about rendering a verdict that goes against every fiber of their being. Consider this case where some jurors have expressed extreme disappointment at rendering a not guilty verdict. If they were allowed to render a verdict on their own without a careful application of the law, the verdict may have been different or at least resulted in a hung jury. Now considering all of this, would having a judge alone decide not yield the same result? Why would you think a judge would be any different than a jury of your peers that are asked to abandon all of their personal judgments in favor of a judgment based on a strict application of the law? I myself, think that the system is very flawed when a juror can be disgusted about having to render a verdict that goes against what they think should be the right verdict. This is my point. We do not need a jury system that essentially ask jurors to apply the same standards as would a judge. If somehow the system allowed jurors to apply logic and common sense than perhaps we would live in a society where so many guilty people would not walk out of a court. At the end of the day, where both sides of a case spend so much time choosing and picking the right jury (which seems counter intuitive if we deem the jury system as such an important part of our system) it leads me to believe that it would be no worse off if only a judge decided people’s fate. And more importantly, why is it so important that a jury decide your fate as opposed to a judge? Is their no faith in the concept of an independent arbiter? Does the judge’s oath not mean anything? Is their so much concern about a judge not applying the law that you are so confident a jury would? One begins to develop the feeling that the jury system is so favored because it becomes a lot easier to attain a not guilty verdict than it would be if one were facing a judge alone. At the end of the day, the jury system costs too much, both in terms of dollars, time and privacy. I am interested to hear your views about this.

  18. Mark Bello says:
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    Richard: The answer is obvious. A judge is a political animal. He answers to his campaign contributors, fellow politicians, and the voters. The jury answers to no one. Regards, Mark

  19. Richard says:
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    Mark, the cynicism implicit in such an answer suggests the American justice system has no integrity and requires the intervention of a jury to overcome its inherent inability to impartially administer justice. If this is truly your opinion, then you would be calling into question the integrity of every judge. Moving only one logical step away from this, it call into question the very integrity and professionalism of all attorneys. All of them. If the everyday person shares your belief then there should be no surprise that attorneys are held in such low esteem. And while the jury may not in theory be a political animal, the selection of a jury and the location of which county the jury comes from is every bit as political as any other process in the justice system.

  20. Mark Bello says:
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    Richard: I am not a cynic; I’m a realist. I think judges work hard, all the time, to do the right thing. But, if you want your fate decided by someone who is beholden to no one, completely independent, you want a jury. The jury system gives the lawyer a little bit, just a little bit, more control of the process. Just my opinion; I don’t think that it is, in any way, cynical.

  21. Richard says:
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    One other question: why does the jury need to be unanimous in their verdict? Why does a simple majority not work in this case? Appellate courts and the Supreme Court are based on simple majority but somehow at the trial level a jury of 12 people needs to be in unanimous agreement to reach a valid verdict? If I am going to rely on my peers to judge a particular case and leave the complete decision in their hands why then does it need to be all 12 deciding the same thing. It seems to me that this creates scenarios where stronger personalities within a jury can exert more influence than should be allowed and possibly skew a system that is so highly regarded as being the bedrock of the judicial system. It completely leaves open the idea that justice may not be properly administered by a jury because factors outside of the case may have a greater bearing on why one juror decides one way over the other. Again, I am just asking questions because to me there is an abundance of illogical aspects to the jury system. At the very least, it should be based on a simple majority and not on a unanimous one.

  22. Mark Bello says:
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    I cannot answer your question other than to say: that’s the way the framers, in their infinite wisdom, designed it. It is a CONSTITUTIONAL guarantee. Add to that, in the Anthony case, that the death penalty was involved, I would think you would want a unanimous verdict before you execute someone.

  23. Joanna;the outsider says:
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    The jurysystem has failed little Caylee Anthony. To me the evidence was clear ;duct tape(from the Anthony home) found on the skeletonremains of the face attached to hair chloroform search,bag traceable to Anthony home .The child pooh bear blanket wrapped in same way as pets were buried in the garden ;Casey copied that from her dad . Casey borrowed shovel neighbour .Smell in car ; trash bag used as coverup. Failure to report child missing ;failure to report ‘so called accidental drowning’.Justice was blind here .How blind can people get? Casey is a very good actress to fool everyone. She should indeed play a part in her own movie and get a job at Universal .The state should not have gone for the deathpenalty though ;Casey will be punished anyway for life when she matures into adulthood ;and realises she does not have her daughter Caylee thanks to her own doing.She’s sure guilty of childneglect. And if the sexual abuse part were true why then didn’t Casey move out of that house once her child was born???Seek help from social services?{I,myself was at age 11 a victim of a childmolestor;or perverted cowardous maniac (officeclerk)who stayed working in mother’s office;she kept at house for more than 5 years and at late age I was raped by two men. I have two children ;in the meanwhile grown ; but I have avoided for my children all possible treats from crazy people;if my father(which I didn’t have) would have done that to me what Casey sais;I would have never let him near my kid.}If Casey uses that excuse for her irrational behavior and/or it is just another one of her lies;it still does not explain the childs’death .And if it were true ;why didn’t she tell her friend Tony;she told him about her brother?I am saying if the sexual abuse part were true ;it may explain’somewhat’her odd behaviour but it does not explain the childs’ death.Cindy was obviously covering for Casey.They actually hid Caseys pregnancy because of oldfashionned reasons; Casey was an unwed mother. I am a single mother but my kids turned out fine .One does not have to be ashamed of being a single parent.{I am an American living abroad}but not a native english speaker so forgive me my English .If her father really did all those things ;the sexual abuse to Casey then he should be brought to justice.

  24. Richard says:
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    It seems to me that any rational person could look at the Casey Anthony case and determine that Casey Anthony was guilty. However, as most attorneys say, “you never know when you have a jury”. This is essentially how we live with the administration of justice being handled. This simply cannot be an explanation that we accept. But the sad reality is that it is especially when so many people benefit from an inefficient and ineffective justice system. Two very disturbing things that arise from this verdict is that it appears that juries are incapable of convicting anyone anymore. The scary thing is that this was a very publicized case and therefore attracts undue attention. Just imagine how all across America, juries are failing the community on a daily basis and letting obviously guilty people go free. And this ties in to my second disturbing thing that is evident from this trial. Somewhere, somehow, the idea of “reasonable doubt” has been derailed and highjacked to the point where juries need a smoking gun or CSI DNA evidence to convict anyone. Gone is the world where a person needs to think of a reasonable doubt that someone did something or not. In a world where the vast majority of cases are circumstantial, this bears a very frightening trend and it is obvious when you see a case like this where any intelligent and rational person would use logic and common sense and come to what seems like the apparent conclusion that Casey Anthony did something horribly wrong to her little girl. But not in America. “Reasonable doubt” apparently does not require intelligence, rational thought or any common sense. Rather it lives and breathes on unsubstantiated defense statements and distractions. The Casey Anthony trial shows that regardless of what the Constitution says or what the founding fathers thought over 200 years ago, the justice system is embarrassingly fallible and a little girl who was clearly murdered has had no justice. It is a failure of massive proportions. And I shudder to think how the system fails victims on a daily basis while defense lawyers laud reasonable doubt and praise shows like CSI for making juries think that you actually need DNA evidence or a smoking gun before you can convict someone. We either allow juries to use their brains or we don’t need them. Because we definitely don’t need to hear juries claim how upset they are after a verdict because they were not allowed to use intelligence and common sense.

  25. NY Consultant says:
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    Sadly there are no easy answers in this case. I am grateful the jury ruled the way that they did I believe if there was sufficient evidence to prove the case perhaps the verdict would have been different. Casey Anthony was prosecuted in the media we may never know the truth as to what happened to Caylee, I am a parent of three and could not imagine the loss of my child. I also have first hand experience of losing my brother to a violent act and the person responsible never served a day in jail. Our justice system is fickle for those that can afford superior representation the outcome is guaranteed, those that can’t afford it will more than likely serve time in jail. I am still puzzled why Lindsay Lohan is still under house arrest with several parole violations instead of serving time for parole violations. The inequity in our society is baffling and yet we the people choose what is fair based on our individual values. Whether Casey Anthony is found not guilty she will always be viewed as a killer to most.

  26. Mark Bello says:
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    Again, it is not whether we believe her to be guilty based on the media presentation of the case. The issue is whether the prosecution PROVED her to be guilty in the sanitized, appropriate, version of the case that the jury saw. They sensed she was guilty; but they listened to the judges instructions and asked each other this question: Did the prosecution prove to us, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she is guilty? Since the answer was “no”, they had no choice. That is not the fault of the “system”; it is the fault of the prosecution.

  27. Richard says:
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    This fixation with what the media presented is a cop out. We need to face facts. Juries are no more capable of administering justice than a judge. They need smoking guns. They need absolute DNA evidence. They are not allowed to take a group of circumstantial facts and make logical connections from one piece of evidence to another. Reasonable doubt is not reasonable anymore. In a world where circumstantial evidence is significantly more likely to be what a prosecution has to deal with, we are going to see more and more cases like this one where a guilty person goes free. Rightly or wrongly, we know for certain that there will be one group of people happy with this state of affairs…defense lawyers. They have an easier job in a system where everything is stacked against the prosecution. Let’s just wait and see what happens when that video showing Casey Anthony doubling over in agony when they told her that her daughter was found dead (even though she had supposedly drowned) surfaces. While it will make us all feel sick for thinking that it is justified to send guilty people free because we cannot use logic or rational common sense in a jury trial it wont change the fact that deep in our guts we know someone to be guilty but there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. That’s the state of the administration of justice in the United States in a nutshell.

  28. Mark Bello says:
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    Richard: You are attacking a comprehensive system that has served our country well for over 200 years and your representative sampling? One, highly publicized, over analyzed, case. I am not debating whether or not Casey was guilty. I am debating the use of her facts and circumstances to attack a system that is absolutely essential to justice in this country. It is ridiculous to assert that it was “easy” for Jose Baez to obtain an acquittal. This was an extremely difficult case for him to defend; he did a masterful job of creating doubt, which is his job. The system is not “stacked against the prosecution” as you assert. All it requires is that the prosecution prove its case to the jury. This was a death penalty case; why would justice expect less? I suggest you research murder cases or death penalty cases and see what the percentages of convictions are. You will see that the Anthony case is one exception, not the rule.

    You obviously have strong opinions; so do I. Let’s agree to disagree.

  29. Richard says:
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    Mark, we’ll agree to disagree. However, I am not as concerned about the Casey Anthony case as I am about cases all across the land that are not publicized and where juries are under no public pressure. I am not concerned about acquittal versus conviction rates in general. I am concerned about those rates specifically in circumstantial evidence cases. And as for Jose Baez. You think he did a masterful job? He alleged molestation and did not prove anything. He alleged an accidental drowning and did not prove anything. These were distracting statements that should not be allowed in a court of law unless they can be establised. Also, a couple of very significant factors worked in Baez’s favour: (1) little Caylee’s body had been rotting for so long that there was very little direct evidence that could convince a jury (who are not allowed in our system to use common sense and logic) and (2) the highjacking of what reasonable doubt now means in our modern society (suggesting that there is reasonable doubt if there’s no direct proof of a crime or any trace of DNA). Based on how quickly the jury decided I think any other defence lawyer would have got an acquittal. Any to be honest, anyone who watched his direct examinations and cross examinations and his objections could not be that impressed with his advocacy skills. In any event, this is a discussion and opinions differ. At the end of the day facts are facts…unless they are being presented by a prosecution.

  30. Mark Bello says:
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    Richard: Then do the research on “circumstantial evidence” cases. You will still find that the jury gets it right, almost always, and that cases like the Anthony case are the anomalies. Sure there were unfortunate reasons that the science couldn’t prove her guilt. But PROVE her guilt they must. ‘Strong suspicion’ is not enough. Jose Baez was not required to prove ANYTHING. Are you suggesting that the United States of America executes people on strong suspicion? It only took 11 hours for 12 different people of twelve different backgrounds to agree that the prosecution didn’t meet its burden. In a system where the vast majority of criminal defendants get convicted, the amount of deliberation time to reach this verdict tells me that the prosecution fell woefully short in its proofs. You view a sensationalized version of the trial on television, offer rhetoric and one case as your proof of a “broken system”. While you are eloquent in your presentation, the facts do not support your rhetoric. Do the research and publish as loud as your criticisms the results of your research on circumstantial cases. You will find that the criminal justice system has served its country well since 1789.

  31. Richard says:
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    Mark, one of the jurors had a cruise to catch. That explains more behind the quick verdict than anything else. You sequester 12 people for 6 weeks (which is ridiculous no matter how you consider it) and keep them away from their lives and families, you cannot help but think they want to return to normal as soon as possible. It was less about the prosecution’s case and likely more about fatigue and isolation. And one factor alluded to in your analysis seems to suggest that the jury took sentencing into consideration (i.e., death penalty) as part of their verdict. It seems to me that this is a glaring error and an improper application of the law. A jury is not supposed to take into consideration the possible sentence when reviewing evidence and applying the law to a particular case. We know this is what happened and we should all admit that that is completely inappropriate in arriving at a verdict. And one last point: a system based on voting for prosecutors suggests that any analysis and research on conviction rates may be suspect. Prosecutors cherry pick cases all the time (to attain higher conviction rates and seek reelection). This more than likely leads to higher conviction rates and creates situations where many guilty people go free without falling into an acquittal statistic because prosecutors never bring charges in the first place. In any event, I will see what I can find.

  32. KT4R says:
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    Wow, there are so many assumptions there, my head a’sploded!

  33. Richard says:
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    No matter what your position is on any issue, there is no substitute for eloquence. KT4R thank you for your meaningful contribution to this discussion.

  34. NY Consultant says:
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    Richard is passionate about this issue as many other citizens. I would challenge Richard to explore the countless cases that were prosecuted leading to a conviction where the defendants were innocent hence the Innocence Project. My observation in regards to Casey Anthony is too many people have emotionally attached themselves to this case and while there is a childs murder unresolved for many the burden of proof was not there to convict her. I don’t believe a juror’s plans to attend a cruise had any bearing on what was presented by the prosecutor. Our country has a broken system if you are pollyanna on how our system is suppose to function good luck with that.