This piece will likely be somewhat controversial to some of you, perhaps many of you. It is a piece that I had considered writing for a few days but because it involves the Casey Anthony trial, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to include it in a political blog. I changed my mind, when after much thought, I realized that it does go in line with the Questioning With Boldness… concept: Thoughts on the government, current issues, and the U.S. Constitution.
It’s easy to say that Casey Anthony had justice served but you have to understand that unless you were living in Orlando and actually saw the entire fiasco play out over the days afterwards all the way through the trial, you only saw sensationalized national news coverage of the case. However, if you live in Orlando… such as I do… you do know that there were many factors involved that were never broadcast on the big-brand media outlets. You also realize that everyone rushing to “defend the system that worked” are really promoting an agenda themselves. What system worked? And in what regard did it work? Just because the court system went through the motions and a jury successfully reached a verdict does not mean the system worked in the interest of justice or in the interest of what is right. It simply means that the system functions still but that it is NOT error-proof.
Sure, I understand all of the intentions of the creation of our legal system… “it is better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be sent to prison.” except that that was the concept of an Englishman explaining the English legal system in the 1760s. Our Founders have stated similar precepts about how our system is to work. However, our system is still vulnerable to fallibility of human nature.
For those who delved into this case from the beginning and are not residents of Orlando, they saw a whole different case than was what was allowed in the court room. I am not referring to “the case tried in the media” either. I am referring to the material facts that were not allowed into the courtroom due to claims that they might be prejudicial. That is a determination of a judge as based upon the merits of the arguments to exclude or include evidence by the attorneys in the case. This is where human fallibility plays a role. Whether the state’s attorneys failed to provide good reason for facts to be included or the judge decided against the inclusion of certain facts had direct bearing on the outcome. On top of the fallibility of human nature in the production of evidence submission, there was also the fact of human nature as it related to the jurors. These jurors took next to zero notes for a 6 week case, by media accounts were twirling pens in the juror box, requested no courtroom transcripts to be read back, and did not ask to see any evidence when they decided this case.
For those who DID watch just the trial, they are outraged that the jury did not feel that the case was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Viewers who saw the case believe that there was adequate evidence supplied to get a conviction on the charges… and rightly so. The key expression is “beyond a reasonable doubt” not “beyond all doubt”.
In a case based upon circumstantial evidence, such as this one had to be(because no one came forward to say they saw Casey actually murder Caylee), the facts presented had to be all-inclusive minus the physical murder. The state provided those facts all the way up to the physical death. The jurors have said that they needed to have a connection to the murder. Well, there is a problem with that… if you need to see the murder then you’re not a juror, you’re a witness.
Somewhere along the way, all of us have been led to believe that every crime is provable through pure forensics if there is not a witness. Well, we are discovering that forensics are just as equally flawed if indeed they are expected to be able to prove everything. There is no feasible way for forensics to prove everything that is not a material object… such as the intentions of a mother who wanted to party instead of be a mom.
To buy into the idea that this was a horrible accident that snowballed as juror #14 did, one has to believe that a retired cop would prefer to try to cover up an accident by committing a crime punishable by jail in order to cover up an accident without criminal punishment. Where is their logic in that? There is none. Why would anyone commit a crime to cover up a non-crime accident? Who says, “I’ll risk going to jail so that my daughter can go party and avoid dealing with her daughter’s death for 31 days”?
Now, humans are fallible, but to assume that they would be willing to go so far as to commit a crime to cover up an accident is ludicrous. From the facts presented in the courtroom, the facts not presented in the courtroom, the understanding of human nature, and the jurors own actions, one can reasonably argue that this was NOT a properly functioning system of our courts. It exposed the flaws of an overly embattled judicial system that now errs greatly on the side of criminals because of two centuries of defense attorneys over-litigating the system in order to get the already convicted off. Through two centuries of attacks, the weary judicial system is beginning to crack under the pressure of an unrelenting stream of challenges that come from people rightly convicted of heinous crimes. Even when proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, criminals get appeals that attack the police, the juries, the judges, the laws cited, the forensics, and on it goes.
Justice is supposed to be blind. But to what? Justice is supposed to be blind to who is sitting in the defense box. Justice is not supposed to be blind to the Constitution or to the laws of the individual states. Justice is not blind to the facts either. However the executors of justice, our judges, are not blind to the pressures of appeals litigation either. In this case, Judge Belvin made rulings on evidence allowed or disallowed based on the pressures of a likely appellate case for a conviction. In doing so, he likely precluded from admissible evidence facts that could have been tangible for the jurors. We’ll never know that now though. This leads to one other observation. If Judge Belvin made rulings of evidence on what he perceives as being a stumbling block for a future mistrial or appellate case, then how many cases through the years have since provided case precedence for future trials that were decided under similar pressures? Would we not be building upon a system of overt paranoia for fear of appellate cases because of the over-litigation of defense attorneys who profit from longer cases and get guilty people free “on technicalities”? Have we laid the building blocks of overly defined laws that may apply only to a specific case and begun to treat them as though they are all-encompassing?
It is my belief that we are seeing rulings become the law of the land as opposed to the Constitution. I thought that we used the Constitution as the actual framework for our rights and our liberties and not a judge’s interpretation of the Constitution from a prior case to later decide all cases. Sure, we have the Supreme Court to provide us case law but all too often judges rely on case law from previous cases that aren’t SCOTUS decisions to base their decisions on evidence.
It is also my contention that those who want to say that the system worked are themselves in a rush to provide security for our barraged judicial system without considering the realities of this case. They are merely trying to defend the system from it’s attackers… We The People. See, we the people who have watched this case have observed flaws that we don’t want in our system. Why is it that we say that the government is made up of us citizens and that they don’t know better than us but then we concede that the judicial system that we created now knows better than us? If we are to watch the government with a discerning eye, shouldn’t we also watch the arbiters of justice with that same discerning eye? If we see fundamental flaws that are allowing criminals to slip through the cracks at an alarming rate, shouldn’t we speak out and question the system?
It is commonly recognized amongst most conservatives that the trial lawyers who profit from suing doctors have brought about a need for tort reform in our healthcare system. What about the defense attorneys who profit from attacking judges and forensics and the police that have now caused a paralysis in our court system? Can’t we draw a similar conclusion? It is clear that attorneys are profiting from prolonged cases and appeals and in doing so, they are causing a breakdown of our judicial system.
Defense attorneys necessarily provide a “checks and balances” process to the courts system. But what is it that they are supposed to be defending? Are they solely defending their clients at all costs? Or are they really supposed to defend the Constitution? I prefer to believe that they are supposed to defend the Constitution and in doing so, they defend their clients.
In the case against Casey Anthony, the defense attorneys went about getting their client off at all costs, regardless of truths or mistruths. They showed a disregard for the morality of the Constitution and for the morality of humankind. It was a personal victory for them to get Casey Anthony off, but in doing so, they never once considered the judicial system or the Constitution that would suffer.