Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Does Casey Anthony Verdict Prove that the System is Broken?

Casey Anthony was vilified, and convicted in the press. She lied at every turn. She was out partying when her daughter was "missing." She got a tattoo saying "Beautiful Life", again, AFTER her daughter was missing. She staged an elaborate cover up with fake jobs, fake child abuse, and fake people. It seemed that her eventual conviction in a court of law was a foregone conclusion. The jury's quick deliberation seemed to be a confirmation of her guilt, and people waited for the hammer to drop on her. Only, the hammer didn't drop. The jury came back not guilty. What?? This is outrageous!!!!! Something must be done!!
Is it outrageous? Does something need to be done?

First is it outrageous? Yes. This woman was obviously involved in her child's death. HOWEVER, it is to the State to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Its case is a theory about what happened. They then must use factual evidence to show that their theory is the correct one beyond a reasonable doubt.
So, what do they need to prove their theory? Typically the magic three things the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, is that the accused must have had motive, means, and opportunity to commit the crime. In order to prove this they must find evidence to support that the accused was in the place when the crime occurred (opportunity). They must determine the cause of death of the victim, so that they can determine what kind of weapon was used, then show that the accused knew how to operate the weapon and that they could use that weapon to commit the crime (means). Finally, they must show that the accused had some reason to do the crime (motive).
No mater what the accused does after a crime is committed, if you can't prove those three things, you can't prove your case. As the State, you can not just shotgun theories about how and why a crime, especially capital murder, is committed. You must determine one sound theory, and prove that theory to the point that no reasonable doubt can be found.

I keep repeating this phrase "no reasonable doubt." This is the highest standard of evidence in law. It means that the jury must be convinced absolutely, with every piece of their decision backed by solid evidence. If there is any doubt, any at all, that the evidence does not explain, the accused can not be declared guilty.

In the Casey Anthony trial, the State said that Anthony's motive for the murder was that she was a party girl and that the baby was cramping her style. However, the jurors said that the State failed to show that wanting to be a party girl was enough of a motive for her to kill her baby.
The jurors also said that the State failed to produce evidence for the cause of death. With out a cause of death, there is no means. With out means, how could the State prove that Anthony killed the baby? How can they prove that the baby was murdered at all?

Now to the second part... Does something need to be done? Well... what are our alternatives? In the United States of America our founding documents grantee the right of the accused a trial by jury. Why? Doesn't this get in the way of justice? No. It gets in the way of the State.

Part of the social contract that the governed enters in to with any form of government is that the governed remits to the government the sole ability to deprive an individual with life, liberty, and property. With out this, the State is powerless. See Somalia. Individual warlords rule their area and act with impunity to take life, liberty, and property.
In any other major form of government, there are no checks on the State. If the state believes that you are guilty, off to the headsman you go. The State does what it wants, nothing is in its way.
In the American, and now commonly in the free world, form of justice, a jury of individuals can step in front of the State, with all of its power, and say, "You must provide us with compelling evidence of this person's guilt, or set them free." In the case of Casey Anthony, 12 people stood in front of the power and majesty of the State of Florida, and said, "You did not prove your case. Let this woman go." And the State did just that. Common place for us today, but this form of justice has only been around for 222 years.
In defense for this form of justice, Benjamin Franklin stated " is better one hundred guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer."
If you change the system, and put the State in complete control of justice, the people's rights are trampled. The death of this child is tragic, and Casey Anthony most likely had some very large part in her death. However, the State did not do its job. She must go free.

No comments: