Although it’s unpopular, the verdict handed down by the Casey Anthony jury was correct. Simply stated, the prosecution failed to prove their case against her. First, the cause of the 2-year-olds death was undetermined. Second, the prosecution offered no DNA, fingerprint or other direct evidence linking Ms. Anthony to the crime. Without such evidence a prosecutors’ contention of guilt was mere conjecture.
Evidence plays a crucial role in the determination of guilt or innocence. There are two types, circumstantial and direct. Circumstantial evidence does not expressly prove that a person on trial is guilty. It requires the person(s) making the decision to accept one fact as proof of another, i.e. infer one thing is true since another is. For example, suppose the exact make, model and color of a popular car is seen fleeing a crime scene seconds after the crime occurred. The defendant has such a car and he knew and was seen arguing with the victim just a few days before. No one saw the license plate or the driver. One could infer that it was the defendant and his car leaving the scene. This would be the prosecutions’ offer of circumstantial evidence proving guilt. But, what if the car seen actually belonged to someone else. After all, the car is popular and no one definitively said that it was the defendant and his car that were involved. This, in turn, would be the defendants’ counter argument as to innocence. With a he said/she said argument like this, who’s to know for sure? Do you believe the prosecution because they put criminals away everyday and, of course, would know. Or do you believe the defendant who may or may not have been there and has an overwhelming interest to lie if he was?
In contrast, direct evidence is independent of the prosecution and defense and ties the accused directly to the crime. In this example, direct evidence would include an eye witness who got the fleeing cars’ license plate and saw and could identify the defendant as the person driving. Here, there would be no reason to believe anything other than the defendant was involved. Thus, without direct evidence a criminal case basically comes down to the prosecutors’ speculated theory against the defendants’ motivation to either (a) prove his or her innocence or (b) to escape detection.
In the Casey Anthony case the prosecution had no direct evidence so the jury was left to decide who was telling the truth. Was it the heartless prosecution whose only interest was to close the case and get a conviction? Or was it the grieving single mother of a two-year-old child found dead in the woods of unknown causes? Add to that the reluctance to find a mother guilty of killing her own child and disposing of the body in such a cruel and inhumane way. Irrespective of the prosecutions’ half-baked theories, the decision of the jury in this case was clear. Only the person who had a personal and biological bond to the child could be telling the truth. As a result, reasonable doubt set in and Casey was acquitted.
So where does the jury verdict leave us. Well, the prosecutions’ credibility has been shot. They were so intent on convicting Casey. Now that she has been acquitted the prosecution will be hard-pressed to show that someone else did it unless, of course, they have some solid direct evidence to the contrary. And we will never know whether or not Casey did it. Hey, she did tell a few fibs to the police. Therefore, little Caylees’ death may forever go unpunished. But let’s face it, in this society truth and justice aren’t the same thing.