Thursday, July 7, 2011
Why the Casey Anthony Jury Was Right
Like many people I felt sad and angry when I heard the Casey Anthony verdict. I wasn't surprised that they didn't convict her of first degree murder - I knew the evidence wasn't there. But not even manslaughter? This woman is most certainly guilty. The prosecutor did a masterful job of destroying her alibi narrative ("My daughter died in the pool and my dad and I covered it up out of fear.") Taking the entire story down in one blow the prosecutor asked, "What kind of grandfather covers up an accident by making it look like a murder and tosses his grand daughter's body in a swamp?"
But upon reflection, I realized that the Anthony jury was right - and perhaps heroically so.
This was just a bad case. They didn't have the evidence. The prosecutor was able to prove that Casey was a self-centered woman of low morals and a liar. But as legal analyst Dr. Bill Anderson points out on his blog, "...having a bad character does not mean one is a murderer. If that were so, then Washington, D.C., would be the murder capital of the world."
The prosecutor believed that she killed her daughter. I believe she killed her daughter. The jury probably believed that she killed her daughter. But their job was to determine if the prosecution PROVED that she killed her daughter. And that, they did not do. They proved exactly what Dr. Anderson pointed out. Casey Anthony is a terrible human being, an awful parent and a liar.
The system worked, and often it doesn't, because it's times like these that the integrity of our system is tested and tried: unsympathetic defendants, horrible crimes and shaky evidence. Our system is engineered to let guilty people go free rather than take undue risk of convicting an innocent.
Really, our justice system is actually based on faith in God. We do the best we can with all of the evidence, err on the side of letting guilty go free, and then trust that what God will do to them far exceeds anything we can do. No one escapes justice forever.
Any time a police officer plants evidence, or a DA withholds exculpatory evidence, or a jury decides to convict even when the evidence is not there, someone has played God. And the problem with that is that none of us is God. When we play God we make terrible mistakes and ruin lives. The agents of justice bring injustice. And it only starts with the self-centered wretches like Casey Anthony. It moves on to all of us.
Casey Anthony didn't get off scot free. She will either repent or fall into the hands of a living God. And THAT is a terrible thing.