I didn’t follow the Casey Anthony trial.
I read about the case about a month ago and it sounded like a horrible tragedy, similar to a handful of other horrible tragedies in recent news. Last week I happened to be in a place where they were showing a live broadcast of the judge reading the jury’s verdicts. There were seven separate charges, but the gist of it seemed to be not guilty on killing her daughter, guilty on lying to the cops.
The most disturbing thing about the broadcast was watching the “people on the street” interviews that happened immediately after the verdicts were announced. And by interviews I mean, the mob outside of the courthouse frothing at the mouth and screaming into the microphone when it came anywhere near them. The “interviews” went on for quite a while, and more than a few crazed yahoos had a chance to yell threats about what they’d do to Casey Anthony if they met her in a dark alley, or proclaim that the justice system is broken, or lament the travesty of justice that had occured, or that you bet your ass they would have voted differently.
And this week, this happened. From News9.com:
CHOUTEAU, Oklahoma — An apparent case of mistaken identity almost cost one Oklahoma woman her life. The Chouteau woman says someone tried to kill her because she looks like Casey Anthony, who, as of July 14, was still jailed halfway across the country in Florida.
The Casey Anthony trial was not a reality TV show, and the audience does not get to vote in the outcome. We have a set process with lawyers, aids, a judge and in this case, a twelve-person jury. And. We. Were. Not. A. Part. Of. It. We do not get to help decide this one, and we do not get to take justice into our own hands because the jury didn’t give us blood.
The jury members may or may not have thought that Casey Anthony killed her daughter. But whatever they thought of her guilt, the fact of it is we are innocent until proven guilty in this country, and the jury decided that there was not enough evidence to prove that Casey Anthony was guilty. That’s what is so wrong about the words, threats and actions of the crazed yahoos – they decided that what they *thought* was enough to justify a guilty verdict and evidence be damned.
As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t followed the story, and what I know about trial procedure (and pehaps the entire field of US law) could fit into the period at the end of this sentence. So I couldn’t tell you if I believe that the jury made a good decision. We have to assume that they followed the regulations of current trial process and gave an honest decision based on the available evidence.
So that’s it. Drop it. Stop with the Dexter jokes, stop with the whispering about conspiracies, stop with the calls for vigilante justice. It’s disgusting, and it reflects poorly on all of us.