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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The State of Florida's explanation makes a lot of sense and is probably the closest thing to the truth that we will ever know.  The people may be lying, but the dog is incapable of lying.  If the dog whose has spent his entire lifetime doing nothing much other than sniff out cadavers says there was a body in that car, he is probably right.  It may not be scientific or whatever, but a cadaver dog can tell the difference between rotten baloney and a dead person.  Besides partying your life away while your child is missing is just a really odd reaction.  Most parents would be beside themselves - frantically looking for their child within hours.
Dogs can smell cancer in the body of a living patient.  Casey's behavior has become a major point of the prosecutor's argument.

I know if it were me and one of my kids was missing for even an hour I would be not only calling the police, I would be totally inconsolable.  I get upset if my kid wonders into the next aisle where I can't see them at Walmart.  I can't imagine not reporting a missing child for an entire month and then her mother called not her.  What kind of parent does that?  Not a very caring one. 


I get tired of the excuse "I was abused.  It's not my fault I did x.y,z."   Of course, the defense's evidence that her father sexually abused her hasn't seemed very convincing to me, but I haven't read every article about the case. 

You needn't have read or seen everything, since it is no longer a part of the case.  To dispose of the childhood sexual abuse non-issue, the judge disallowed discussion of it in argument, yet Casey's lawyer got away with slipping mention of it in his very first sentence.  They had attempted to bring it out circumstantially, e.g. the grandfather's extramarital affair during this period of time, the implication Casey's brother was abused, too. None of that is the same as having Casey on the stand saying her father abused both her and her brother.  Since the D.A. did not object to Mr. Baez's remark, the judge did nothing.  But the abuse stuff is a non-issue, which is going to upset those jurors who thought all along it had nothing to do with anything, so it was wrong of Casey to bring it up in the first place.  It just put her parents through more misery.
The fact that it took so long for the kid to be reported missing alone is damning evidence that her death wasn't accidental.
yeah; it's serious in regards to that. why hide a missing child, hello!
dysfunction was written all over the place from what I gathered.
If coming from a dysfunctional family were a defense to crime, we could close our prisons.

ooo that's good. Funny thing is they don't consider fundamentalist religious bigotry to be dysfunctional. In fact a good old testament based childhood is considered 'good.' Just so long as there is a married couple in the house, and the children are fed well enough and aren't being beaten - the house is deemed ideal. This is what I hate, when I tell people I have two parents ect, they expect that my childhood must have been ideal. This is simply false, if my mother was a single parent, and I was an only child I don't think I would have silenced my self-expression. People expect parents to 'love' their children, the fact is this word 'love' can mean virtually anything - from tough love, to 'God's love' >>.


... END RANT...

Is that another way of saying that the path to Hell is paved with good intentions?  Semanticists would cringe at some of the twisted ideations behind new uses of certain words, and, sadly, "family" is one of them.  Although as we all know this is an age of extended families, the traditional "nuclear family unit" is what is contemplated by the bigoted evangelicals.  They want "family," like "marriage," to be the special province of bigoted evangelical social policy, and it's tempting to flaunt the Anthony's as evidence of what many, if not most, nuclear families end up looking like.  (Note that in this case, the Anthony's really are a nuclear family: mom, pop, a boy, a girl.)  We can start with the obvious: they probably had religious upbringings, too.  All four of them are devout liars.  If false witness were punished by an omniscient God, hurling lightning, the Anthony's would be long gone, as would such Pastors as John Hagee and such PAC ops as Tony Perkins.  These people bear false witness about science and reason and a good omnipotent God would have bolted them with a billion volts long, long ago.  Of course, this begs the question: If God is omniscient why did he create the Anthony's, Hagee, and Perkins in the first place?  And while we are at it, who created God?
As regards reporting missing kids, I believe there are bills being put forward in a couple states (Ohio included, I think) which REQUIRE report of a missing child within a given period (24 hours in our case).  I believe a violation would be a felony, though at what level, I do not know as of yet.

Yesterday, I read the story of a family where the mother's boyfriend beat her up and while she was reporting this to the police, the boyfriend when to the baby daddy's house, picked up her kids and supposedly killed them.  These children where missing 45 minutes when the mother reported them missing.  You should have seen the comments on Yahoo comparing this woman to Casey Anthony!  She has done all parents a disservice with her actions.  Good grief!  45 minutes when the children are staying with someone else is not very long at all. 


There should be some sort of addendum if the child is staying with someone else or that person should be charged.  Otherwise, I think this is a good law.  31 days is a ridiculous amount of time for a 2 year old to be missing before people start searching for her.  Frankly, the way I understand it, in a kidnapping case, the first 24 hours are critical.  You don't want to give some psycho much time at all with a child. 

The way the jurors seem to put it, there wasn't enough evidence to convict.  I think they took the phrase "without a reasonable doubt" seriously and didn't want to falsely accuse and become, for all intents and purposes, murderers themselves.  This was a murder trial.  The death penalty was considered.  The jurors weren't convinced enough by the evidence that what happened to this poor child was intentional homicide.  The state couldn't prove how she died.  And Casey had the right to be innocent until proven guilty.  No matter how we judge her as a mother and a human being. The public was judging her  in subjective ways and emotional ways.  But the state couldn't prove that she is a murderer.


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