The horse is quite dead, but I'm going to beat it anyway.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve truthfully become quite weary of reading blogs and social media posts about Casey Anthony. Granted, I realize how hypocritical this is to blog about it. After all, I’ve probably just added more fuel to the fire that is Case-Book. However, unlike most of America, I don’t feel that she should burn at the stake, face street justice or be stalked and called a baby-killer. I don’t see it as black-and-white as that.

See, back in 1789, there was this thing called the fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights that basically says that a person is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Additionally, no person is to face excessive punishment for a crime. Granted, it also states that an accused does not have to speak in court in the event of possible self-incrimination; Hence someone ‘pleading the fifth’. Innocent, however, is not necessarily synonymous with not guilty and cannot always be used interchangeably.

In the case of Casey Anthony, she was found not guilty on all but 4 counts brought against her, including capital murder and child endangerment and abuse. I am one of the rare few who completely and totally agree with this judgment.

Bear in mind, though, that I absolutely do not believe she is completely innocent in the death of her child. I just do not feel that the prosecution proved that Casey Anthony killed her daughter. I feel that in order to prove that she killed her own child, there would have to be a definite cause of death.

Can anyone in the general public cast absolute light on how Caylee Anthony died? I didn’t think so. If the death was accidental (hypothetically), does that mean she committed capital murder (To define, capital murder is when someone knowingly and willingly ends another’s life)? No. It does not. I happen to know of someone who is incarcerated currently for accidentally causing the death of her nephew. She was charged with manslaughter, not capital murder. She was sentenced to five years in prison; not death.

Ah, but one of the charges was manslaughter, wasn’t it.  Well, lets take the anonymous friend again, for example. This friend was driving a car. She had a BAC twice the legal limit. The car hit a tree at a very high speed. The passenger, her nephew, died instantly. There, we have a cause of death as well as a cause of the accident. We know all circumstances surrounding this particular child’s death. Two plus two in this instant easily equaled manslaughter. What can we say about how Casey Anthony was responsible in some way for the actual death of her daughter? Nothing, directly.

She was found not guilty for child abuse as well. There was no proof that she physically abused her daughter. Videos showed them smiling and happy. Witnesses saw no signs either. Thus, you cannot prove she was abusive.

So, what DID Casey Anthony do?  She lied to authority. That much was obvious. But you know what? We are all products of our parents and it became fairly obvious during the trial that she was a direct product of her own parents. So, why weren’t they charged with perjury as well?

So, what else did she do? She partied when she should have been in mourning. I agree that this behavior isn’t what one would expect of someone whose daughter is missing or presumed dead. In fact, I do agree that it was downright incriminating. However, it doesn’t prove anything except that she should have taken an IQ test before getting pregnant. It’s true that everyone handles grief differently. Not everyone will cry at a loved one’s funeral. Some laugh. I know.

I’ll use myself as an example, here. In 1995, I lost my great-grandmother and my uncle within 10 days of each other. My great-grandmother was 103 folks. I would see her each year on her birthday and every other Christmas and each year, sometimes twice a year, I would say good-bye to her for the last time. After about 20 years of this, we started wondering if Grandma would ever die, honestly. At her funeral, my family and I laughed. We remembered the good times. We joked about things that happened through the years. We truthfully had a good time together. That afternoon, we visited my uncle in the hospital and he told us he had only days to live. On the way back home from the hospital, we joked around. We made fun of other drivers we were sharing the road with.

At Uncle Jim’s funeral a week later, my four cousins and I joked some. We giggled again at stories from our childhood and overall enjoyed each others’ company. Some found our actions inappropriate and thought it would have been better if we had been somber and crying. This wasn’t us though. It isn’t in our nature. It’s not how we handle these kinds of events. Sure, we all cried privately and dealt with this traumatic week in our own ways, but we didn’t do what everyone expected of us. For that, one of the four of us received some pretty harsh criticism…

Two years ago, a friend of mine lost her infant suddenly. She mourned plenty. I witnessed enough of it. But she picked herself back up and moved on. She went to concerts, went to bars and enjoyed (and still does) the good life. Personally, I say good for her.

What else did Casey Anthony do? She failed to report her child missing for 31 days. Though I agree this was the most incriminating move on her part, it still does not say beyond any doubt that she killed her own child. It could say she was an accessory to manslaughter. It could say it was an unreported accident. Either way, it was, without a doubt, her biggest guilt. Unfortunately, however, this was not a crime. Now, had she been accused of being an accessory to a crime in some way, I think she would have been found guilty. But it wasn’t one of the counts against her and the jury was not in a position to create something for her to have been guilty of. The system doesn’t work that way.

And so, in the end, Casey served almost 3 years for lying to officers. She isn’t serving a week and a half as some seem to think. She has been incarcerated for two years and nine months. Each count bagged a 1 year sentence. Just like when we punish our children, good deeds don’t go unnoticed. She kept up a good demeanor in jail. And so, in order to treat her fairly, just like most other people in jail, she got so many days off for each day of good behavior.

So, take her four years that she was sentenced and subtract from that her time for good behavior, and it came to two years and approximately nine months. She wasn’t Lohaned. She wasn’t serving a courtesy sentence. Casey Anthony got the maximum sentence for the crimes that were proven to have been committed.

The burden of proof was with the prosecution. The defense didn’t have to prove a thing. In all truth, they actually had every right to just sit back and say nothing, just as Casey Anthony did. For all we know, she may have been instructed to show no emotion during testimony. After all, wasn’t it an instruction on the entrance to the courtroom for the audience? I think that became pretty clear a few days before the verdict was read. Wasn’t it?

There are too many hypotheticals in the case of the death of Caylee Anthony. The tape wasn’t attached to her mouth, as there was no mouth any longer for it to be attached to. It would have been physically impossible for it to have been attached to bone if it was once attached to skin. It was attached to her hair. One can assume that it was once attached to skin, but then, there were no skin cells on the tape, were there? However, it was obvious that the tape had been used at the same time as the toddler’s death. But the actual cause of death was inconclusive. What if the parents did it and framed their child for some reason? What if the boyfriend did it and had possession of her car? In my eyes, that’s too many what-ifs will automatically lead a jury to a not-guilty verdict.

I am and always have been one to not incriminate someone based upon rumor or how another feels. I don’t shun someone because they did something to offend a friend of mine. I don’t place blame on someone based upon my own gut feelings. It’s simply not in my nature. I need solid proof. Maybe it’s the journalist in me. Though I admit I sometimes slip and fail, I try not to base my opinion of someone on rumors and assumptions. This would be one of those instances.

We can’t judge a book by its cover. We certainly can’t in court. Obviously, however, many have in public because we believe one person didn’t behave the way we felt that they should. Now, that one person’s life will be in more danger than ever before come Sunday afternoon. Rather than respecting the opinion of twelve people who followed instructions as well as the Bill of Rights, we as a general public are punishing her already and wishing ill  – even death – upon her. Just the other day, a woman tried killing another because she looked much like Casey Anthony. That woman is sitting in jail now for assault. Is that what this world has come to? Then what is the purpose of the court system anyway? Why have we stooped so low as to degenerate ourselves back in time where we could seek revenge upon someone without proof?

How disappointing society can be sometimes.

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About gespurr

Emily was born in Southwestern Louisiana and has moved over 20 times in her life through nine different states. Most of her life was spent in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where she met her husband and had her only child. Both she and her husband are also only children. She graduated from Stillwater (MN) High School in 1992 and from the University of Wisconsin in 1997 with a BS in Journalism. Three years later, she met her husband, George, and they married in 2002. Their daughter, Kathryn, was born early in 2004. She relocated with her family back to Arkansas in 2005 after being away for 30 years. She currently works as a customer service representative for a wireless company and lives in North Little Rock. When not taking care of her daughter she is either cooking, working, cleaning house, sewing, gardening, knitting, crocheting hiking, traveling or spending time with her husband.

Posted on July 15, 2011, in Current Events. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Well put Emily. Sometimes it seems people would rather engage in mob rule to get their desired result rather than follow the proper process (and risk getting what they consider an adverse ruling).

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