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