When witnesses take the stand, they are administered an oath to swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, tell the whole truth, and tell nothing but the truth. Yes, I know, the oath is fraught with fallacious pitfalls, beginning with the quantum theoretical problems with "truth": given that the only truth we can know is subjective, almost every other version of the truth is inherently unreliable.  In jury trials, there are potent motivating factors to ensure that some of the witnesses will be lying some of the time; some will be lying most of the time, and some will be lying all of the time.  To put it country simple, every time we take the oath we lie. 

It is the sine qua non of criminal defense that you take a (sometimes barely) plausible lie and turn it into truth.  The clever rascals who got O.J. off scot free in his murder trial,  "The State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson" took the lies of police corruption and racism, and used an ingenious ploy with demonstrative evidence: "If the gloves don't fit, you must acquit."  The mostly-African-American jury cut him some slack.  If the State had tried the case in, say, Beverly Hills, a conviction would have been certain.  So, how can you or I put ourselves into the mind of the average juror in the O.J. case?  (Unless, one of us is African-American.  Races do not see truth in the same way.) But make no mistake about it: if you can make black as plausible as white, a jury will let your criminal defense client go.

There is an evidentiary problem in the law, formerly applicable in most jurisdictions to both civil and criminal suits but now almost exclusively limited to civil actions only.  It regards what is known as "circumstantial evidence."  Briefly stated, it is that where an equally plausible explanation of the known facts is possible, neither story may be accepted as true.  The result can only be that there is no evidence whatsoever in proof of the proposition sought to be shown.  Sadly, inexplicably, in my own neck of the woods, the plausible explanation has given way to a more prosecution-favoring "totality of the circumstances."  Now you may be thinking, wait a minute, how can any mere human draw conclusions from "a totality of the circumstances." 

"Caylee drowned in the family pool," Mr. Baez told his staff, opening the brainstorming session the day his law firm came up with a plausible explanation.  Unfortunately, the State of Florida's plausible explanation makes a lot more sense.  The judge wisely disallowed argument on any theory of defense having to do with the defendant's childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her father.  By not taking the stand, Casey waived her right to prove the proposition by repeating the accusation to her father's face so to speak.  Frankly, I think Mr. Baez has shot himself in the foot.  His plausible proposition had the legal equivalent of no evidence in support of it.

But that oath bothers me.  It is not enough that they add "or affirm."  Was that added with humanists in mind?  Were they wary of certain Christian sects who are not allowed to take oaths?  The entire oath is meaningless because even devoutly Christian people are incapable of telling The Truth on the witness stand.  They can only tell one version of the truth.  I had an honest cop one time who smiled at me when he gave something up to the defense.  Most cops lie on the stand -- to the extent that they tell the truth from their professional point of view.  Their veracity is on the line.  But they have a very strong motive to lie: their job and their ego.  To paraphrase Mae West, and with apologies, "God-ness had nothin' to do with it."

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I completely agree, though I thought the circumstantial evidence might have convinced another jury in some other court.  I think you are correct, legally, in your observation that the state could not prove cause of death.  I do not recall if that is an "element" of the offense, and I ought to know, but even if it need not be proved as a matter of law, a jury could easily say that until they know that they cannot link up the circumstances making Ms. Anthony guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  I think you are saying, the doubt was reasonable, and with that I must agree.
They should have been advised they could convict her on a lesser charge.  They did prove without a shadow of a doubt she was guilty of gross child neglect. 31 days is way too long to wait before reporting a 2 year old missing and start looking for her.  If she was, by some odd chance, kidnapped and murdered (although that scenario seems to have never been proposed by either side), the police might have been able to find her and save her, if she had been reported missing the first day she was missing instead of a month later.

That was also what I heard as a criticism of the way the Prosecution framed the case... if the charges were 'gross child neglect', I think most juries would have seen evidence of THAT.  Did neglect lead to this child's death?  Not directly... but the public sure didn't see a frantic mother searching and losing sleep about her child's absence, which would be what most moms would consider a 'normal' response to such a horrible situation!  But can we punish somebody for not responding in 'normal' ways?  Casey was a bad mother.  Casey is an immature person. I doubt Casey will outlive the stigma and harsh judgment that people have about her...there have been death threats made upon her, the judge, members of the jury, her lawyer, etc etc.  This case certainly hit a nerve of retribution overdose! I find the public reaction interesting in its degree of involvement in this story.



Oh, no.  The charge was aggravated assault of a child.  This can be boiled down to the simpler, more accurate: assault on a child, since the child's tender years are what makes the crime of assault "aggravated."  The only evidence of this was circumstantial and, in keeping with what I said in the initial entry in this string, if there exists in the minds of jurors any other reasonable scenario, then the only conclusion that may be reached is that there is no evidence whatsoever.  Perhaps Florida still recognizes that old rule of criminal law; in Texas, we do not, using a "totality of the circumstances" test instead.  Do you suspect that O.J. has become thoroughly familiar with the life of Cain after he killed Abel?  I love the story, not its source.  Condemned to walk the earth, not knowing from one moment to the next that some Tucson-like maniac will just walk up to you a put a bullet in your head?  Well, that is how Casey feels now, or soon will....
Some prosecutors shoot themselves in the foot.  First, they refuse to plead the case out at a penalty for a lesser included offense, then they go for broke trying to get the death penalty.  Negligent homicide might have seen that woman in prison for a long time, but parole eligibility these days is very, very short.  She might have been willing to tell us all how Caylee actually died.  This is the fact that was missing from the scenario portrayed by the state's case, and the jury just thought this failure of evidence introduced reasonable doubt into the trial.  The attorney for Casey certainly knew how to skirt the procedural niceties of the proceedings.  Although subject to a ruling that neither side could bring up childhood sexual abuse, Mr. Baez used the term in the first sentence of his summation.  Clever guy.  The judge noted it, too, and glanced at the state to see if there would be an objection.  There being none, he looked back at Baez and said nothing.  This was a far cry from the lunatic judge who heard O.J.  The judge in Casey's trial may have thought it a comment on the weight of the evidence had he interrupted and scolded the defense lawyer when no objection has been raised by the prosecution.  It was a pretty fair trial.
The charges you bring up do not properly belong in that narrow category of crimes that we call "lesser included offenses," and the cardinal rule is that, generally, to be a lesser included offense, the crime must have required the same evidence and proof the same elements of the offense.  Gross child neglect is not a lesser included offense of capital murder because negligence is inimical to an intentional act.  (At civil law, both are torts, but even there, the most heinous acts require plentiful evidence on "intent" just to get usual damages.)  Have no fear, states are working overtime to pass new Caylee Laws designed to severely punish parents who do not report their child missing within 24 hours, since as every profiler knows, it's almost certain the child is deceased beyond that time.  I must point out that the standard for the state is not "without a shadow of a doubt" but "beyond reasonable doubt."  In fact, prosecutors always tell juries to promise the state will not be held to proving their case beyond the "shadow" of a doubt, whatever that nebulous term may mean.
One thing is certain, she will have to find a very good job to pay off her lawyer and possibly another lawyer to fend off the defamation of character suit by her former nanny.  She will also, at last, have to stop sponging off her folks and find a new place to live, because I doubt her dad will want her living under the same roof as him when she's made so many accusations against him which were unsubstantiated and unproved (as well as probably untrue).  I wouldn't hire her (as a chronic liar and maker of false accusations) nor would I let her live with me.  Good luck to her.  She's going to need it - especially if she has any more children.
The possibility of a Nanny suit is exciting to say the least.  Remember, one of the survivors of the O.J. rampage sued him and got a civil judgment.  The problem she will have is that she will HAVE to testify.  She does not enjoy any 5th Amendment privilege to remain silent as in the criminal case.  She can be compelled to give evidence no matter what is asked so long as it is relevant or might lead to relevant, admissible evidence.  Even if the nanny cannot collect on her judgment, her attorneys will jump on any profits from a book sale (as they did with "If I Did It").  My advice to Casey: move to Santo Domingo.

I can't imagine what a criminal lawyer whose dedicated around three years of his time to her is going to cost.  I understand they make more than estate attys(the only kind I've had occasion to spend much time around) who seem to be some of the lower paid ones.  She's nice looking, maybe she'll get a reality tv job.  They like her type on that type of show - which is why I don't watch Housewives or Jersey Shore.  All she has to do is throw a lot of tantrums and be hard to get along with. 


Her defense atty is the one who is really going to make out over this one.  Not only will  he collect a huge fee from her, he'll be rolling in clients after this. 


Speaking of OJ, I was surprised to learn after Johnny Cochran's death that he was a fairly decent fellow who did many worthwhile things.  The stain of OJ never really left him or any of the attys either.  Let's hope these lawyers fair better than the OJ trial ones. 

Marsha Clark is showing up on talk shows putting down the Florida prosecution for this and that mistake.  Duh!  Seems to me, if I let O.J. get off, I would disappear pronto.  I wouldn't go out and get plastic surgery, a new head of hair, and a new face and go on TV shows to dis colleagues.  What a bitch!







Like she has room to talk!  Didn't she leave the legal profession entirely and become a lounge singer?















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