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Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
Contributor •

Casey Anthony, The Fugitive, and Denzel Washington

2 comments

I did a WFMY News2 interview on focus groups and Casey Anthony, just hours before the jury returned its Not Guilty verdicts, much to the dismay of many.

I can now share with you that when I met with the reporter that day, she asked me what I thought the outcome of the trial would be. I told her that from an emotional, subjective viewpoint, I thought Casey was guilty of something, but from an objective assessment, the State had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that she was guilty of anything other than being an idiot.

I also said the prosecution had made a strategic mistake in asking for the death penatly and trying her on a first degeree murder charge when there was simply no way they could ever establish premeditation.

There’s an old saying that often comes true in a trial: Pigs get fed, Hogs get slaughtered.

In short, when you ask the jury for way more than you should, it will probably come back to haunt you.

There was simply never any proof of the cause of death; without any scientific evidence to connect Casey, how could a jury ever know, beyond a reasonable doubt, what happened or how it happened? The prosecution asked for way more than they could have ever established and the jury really had no choice but to reach this verdict.

The state—and the media—could never prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Casey actually murdered her child; all they could do was create suspicion and conjecture. That should never be enough.

No one should be tried and convicted by the press. There was a famous case years ago involving Dr. Sam Shepherd, who was accused of killing his wife. In fact, his case became the basis for the TV series and subsequent movie, "The Fugitive." The US Supreme Court held that he had been denied a fair trial because of the media circus surrounding his case. Fundamentally,the Court said it is vital to our rule of law that the accused be judged in the courtroom under the rules of evidence rather than having guilt determined by external forces.

And that’s where the Presumption of Innocence protects Casey and anyone else accused of a crime in this country. We established long ago in the United States that there is a constitutional right to be presumed innocent. Look around at other countries that don’t believe at that principle—is that really where you would want to live?

This jury followed the Constitution and the law. I am convinced the appellate courts would have overturned a conviction based on the lack of evidence presented, even if the jury had convicted her.

While you and I would almost certainly agree that Casey was morally bankrupt in her actions. the reality is the legal system worked well. Both the prosecution and defense had a fair opportunity to present the evidence, in the presence of an impartial judge; a jury of her peers then carefully considered that evidence and found the proof lacking.

Remember the line from the movie Training Day where Denzel Washingtonis is the bad cop? Denzel tells his young partner who is gong to turn him in, "It ain’t what you know, it’s what you can prove."

In America, that still holds true.

Thank goodness.

2 Comments

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  1. danacopper says:
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    I totally disagree. Maybe 1st degree murder but there were lesser charges she could have been convicted of (& should have been). How did the duct tape get on her face & why? Why was there chloroform in the trunk of her car? Why did she do searches for neck breaking, how to make chloroform etc? Lastly if it was indeed an accident why the heck didn’t she report it? Why wait? The jury did not look at the evidence. They were too quick to go home. I sincerely believe there’s something suspicious with the jury. They weren’t sequestered immediately and were allowed to access the internet while the trial was going on. In addition Judge Perry was so concerned about not having a mistrial and was so lenient with Baez that I feel the jurors took that as a sign he favored their side. I think the whole think stinks & so does the rest of America (minus one blogger)

  2. John Stanton says:
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    Fact:
    Caylee was in Casey’s care when she left house.
    Testimony: George

    Fact:
    Caylee was found dead with duct tape over her mouth.
    Testimony: Crime scene photos

    Inference:
    Casey put the duct tape there UNLESS REASONABLE alternatives exist.
    Testimony: Roy Krunk denies he did it under oath.
    Evidence that any other reasonable explanation exists: None.

    Statement:
    Caylee drowned in the pool.
    Testimony: George testifies under oath it didn’t occur.
    Casey reports a false kidnapping – no drowning
    Cindy reports no EVIDENCE of drowning
    Casey dismisses drowning theory in jailhouse video
    Evidence of a drowning: none.

    Fact:
    Searches were done on home computer for chlorophorm
    Testimony: Various forensics experts about computer searches.
    Cindy testified to performing searches.
    Employer impeached by submitting evidence of concurrent actions at time she claimed to be searching

    Inference:
    High probability Casey searched for a means to create a sedative evidence later found in car.

    Fact:
    Strong odor of decomposition from Casey’s car.
    Hair strand (with death band) matching Caylee in car.

    Inference:
    Caylee’s body was stored in Casey’s car

    Evidence that anyone else had access to Casey’s car who also had access to Caylee after June 16th: None.

    Casey put Caylee’s dead body in her car.

    Inference:
    Lacking a reasonable alternative to explain all the reasonable inferences and facts, Casey killed Caylee, put duct tape over her mouth, kept the decomposing body in her car, and acted in a manner to keep law enforcement from discovering the truth.

    Her searches for chloroform suggests premeditation; the invention of kidnapper two years before the death suggests premeditation.
    The providing of false statements to Lee about the kidnapping by a kidnapper invented two years ago suggests consciousness of guilt an d premeditation. The providing of false statements to law enforcement about the previously invented kidnapper suggests premeditation.

    Reasonable inferences are to be considered as facts.

    “…must be proof of such a convincing character that a reasonable person would not hesitate to rely and act upon it”

    Given this juror charge:
    do you think the jurors would send George to jail for covering up for Casey? They would have to, and would have to overlook the more reasonable inference that Casey did it.

    do you think they would send Roy to jail for putting duct tape on the skull – or otherwise destroying a crime scene? They would have to, and would have to overlook the more reasonable inference that Casey did it.

    The process of making reasonable inferences requires the weighting of cumulative facts and inferences toward the veracity of subsequent facts and inferences.

    I think the jurors were imprecisely charged and were allowed to create Unreasonable and unsubstantiated inferences and use them to justify their decision.

    Should the law require that jurors’ use of reasonable doubt be subject to the same proven / unproven standard that is used on evidence?

    For instance it is perfectly reasonable, in the absence of fact-based alternatives, to have convicted her and yet I don’t believe the juror’s use of reasonable doubt comports with the law. Reasonable doubt does not permit any doubt to weighed equally with doubt supported by the facts.