Sixteen years later, Casey Anthony’s not-guilty verdict is viewed by 64 percent of Americans as an injustice, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll, even though it was the right decision by the jurors.
In the Simpson trial, defense attorney Johnnie Cochran goaded prosecuting attorney Christopher Darden into having Simpson try on a leather glove found at the murder scene. Simpson’s eyes were set in fear as he placed it on his hand. Thinking the glove would fit, he could feel the darkness of death row closing in his murdering bones. Noticing the glove was too small, he acted out his Oscar-winning performance knowing he’d be free at last.
Prosecutors weren’t going to have Simpson try on the glove fearing it wouldn’t fit. It had been covered with blood and frozen two or three times and, as leather gloves do when they get wet, shrunk to a smaller hand size. Simpson was also wearing a latex glove to protect the integrity of the evidence. Naturally, the glove didn’t fit over the latex and the integrity of jurisprudence lost its credibility.
Referring to the glove in his closing statements, Cochran argued “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Instead of making comparisons of the same glove size wet and dry to account for the shrinkage, prosecuting attorneys allowed the imagination of the jury to use their own conclusions. Despite the clear evidence of his guilt or involvement, Simpson was freed. However, “no justice” was compelling. Simpson indicted himself by his criminal behavior in Las Vegas and is now a resident of Nevada‘s state prison system.
The Casey Anthony trial was a state’s case based entirely on circumstantial evidence and character assassination. Prosecuting attorneys couldn’t prove motive. They couldn’t place Anthony at the murder scene because they didn’t know where the death took place. Evidence was contaminated, forensics couldn’t verify the prosecutors accusations, there were no witnesses to any murder and, unlike the Simpson trial, there was plenty of reasonable doubt. Similar to the Simpson case, Anthony’s defense attorney’s outwitted the prosecution and presented good arguments. Unlike Simpson’s day in court, the jury made the correct decision on all counts presented to them.
Identifying Casey Anthony as a liar and a negligent mother was easy, but no one could prove she was a murderer. Bill O’Reilly summed up public opinion when he commented, “The mother has the 2-year-old in the house. The 2-year-old is gone. The mother says nothing and lies about it. Come on, that’s neglect.”
Taking matters in her own hands, Michelle Crowder from Durant, Okla., is circulating a website petition “Caylee’s Law.” It would make it a felony if a parent or guardian failed to notify police of a child’s disappearance within 24 hours. Don’t expect it to pass in Nevada. Our legislators rejected the common sense of “Brianna’s Law” that would have helped identify kidnappers, rapists, child molesters and murderers because of objections from the ACLU and NAACP; they certainly wouldn’t approve any bill that could prevent child neglect, abuse or even murder.
As man evolves, the science of law adapts to political environments and social circumstances. Mob rule that takes the law into its own hands is no longer tolerated. The days of hanging without a fair trial is archaic. Our civilized democracy mandates a fair trial for the accused and judgment by our peers based on conclusive evidence, not hearsay. We shouldn’t convict anyone to a death sentence based on personal opinion, rumor, gossip, speculation, unfounded circumstantial evidence or poor forensics.
Jurisprudence has many twists and turns. Good attorneys can twist words and cover the blind eyes of attentive jurors with the hand of legal, deceptive perspicuity. If the passage of “Caylee’s Law” is the compelling fulcrum between no justice and injustice, then justice is served.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. Contact him at email@example.com.