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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

  1. Gravatar for Debra

    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. Gravatar for lori

    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. Gravatar for NY Consultant

    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. Gravatar for audriana

    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. Gravatar for Kathy

    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. Gravatar for R

    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.

  7. 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. 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. Gravatar for Alan

    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. Gravatar for Richard

    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.

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