I’ve allowed eight hours for the verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial to sink in. For those who haven’t heard, Ms. Anthony was found not guilty of all felony counts, while the jury conceded that she was guilty of four misdemeanor counts of lying to the police.
The misdemeanor conviction carries a maximum one year prison sentence per count; however, the sentences can be served concurrently. Furthermore, Ms. Anthony has spent practically three years in jail, so she’ll get credit for time served minus her felony sentence. Plus, she’ll get credit for good behavior. This could mean that she’s on the street as soon as Saturday.
Meanwhile, at a three-hour champagne party, the defense team is celebrating its great, but Pyrrhic victory. What cannot be celebrated is that a defenseless little girl was killed, and in this Turkey’s opinion, it was at the cold, unfeeling hand of her mother, who will soon be free to live la bella vita once again.
Cheney Mason was ill behaved at that fancy expense account dinner. He was observed flipping the bird at spectators and reporters.
In the eight hours I’ve let lapse between hearing the verdict and taking pen in hand, I’ve witnessed quite a few reactions. Most of them were scornful toward the jury. A few were jubilant about Casey getting away with it. And several were happy with the fact that the justice provided for in the U.S. Constitution prevailed, even if they thought Ms. Anthony was guilty.
My feeling? I’ve already said that I believe Casey did it. But let me go a bit deeper into some speculation about why she was not convicted. The opinions expressed here are the gobbling of an old Tom Turkey and do not represent the views of the Google Ad Sense sponsors whose ads adorn these pages. I need them — the money I’ve made from click-throughs goes to buy Purina Mouse Chow for the Mouse Who Ate Xanax. But I digress.
Clearly, the State did not prove its case to the satisfaction of the jurors. The burden of proof was on the State of Florida and they botched it. If you read the previous post featuring the words of a deputy sheriff in another county, you know that the State Attorney’s Office was bludgeoned by the media early in the game, pressured into indicting Ms. Anthony before they had a case. You can keep an eye out for this section to learn more about their roles in criminal cases. It seems that even with three years to prepare a case, much theorizing had to be done at the eleventh hour. The State constructed a house of cards centering on duct tape and chloroform as murder weapons, but they could not prove the theory and the house came tumbling down.
Why the big obsession with chloroform and duct tape? Because it was all they had. But let me propose an alternate theory involving “Zanny the Nanny.” “Zanny” happens to be a nickname for Xanax, a drug used for generalized anxiety disorder that has a sedative effect and which is easily available on the street. Teenagers use it because it is relatively cheap and it produces a dreamy effect, which is even stronger if it is crushed and snorted. It isn’t much of a stretch to theorize that “Zanny the Nanny” could refer to the use of Xanax as a sedative for a child who wouldn’t go to sleep when mommy wanted to go out and play — especially if mommy was into the club/drug scene and could obtain an unlimited supply of Zanny. What if mommy slipped a little too much Zanny to the child and caused an overdose? Perhaps the child went into convulsions and died. Perhaps the duct tape was not a significant part of the whole thing.
Here are some definitions from our friends at Urban Dictionary:
Alprazolam. More commonly known as Xanax. A short acting benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety.
Don’t ya just love wakin up in the morning after droppin a few zannys and having no idea what happened for the past 12 hours?
|Zanny the Nanny
A fictitious babysitter, created by amoral, trashy, and promiscuous single mothers in order to deflect blame for poor parenting. “Zanny”, actually is the street name for a drug called Alprazolam.
I was so bombed, high, and too busy having sex! It sure is a good thing Zanny the Nanny was watching my child!
As for chloroform, perhaps Casey wanted to figure out the best way to sedate a child and did a web search because she had heard that people use chloroform for that purpose. When she found out how hard it was to obtain, and how it was even harder to make, she turned her attention elsewhere — to Zanny. Cheap and available Zanny.
Alas, no toxicological evidence could be obtained in this, a “dry bones” case, so nobody including the Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner’s office knows what caused Caylee Marie Anthony’s death. It is all theoretical. The prosecution’s case was theoretical. The defense’s defense was theoretical. Too much time elapsed before the remains were discovered.
Let me propose something here, something that is pretty obvious to a layman, something about which I might be completely out of line because I’m not a toxicologist. That one hair that was found in the trunk of Casey’s car that was proven to belong to Caylee, the one with the band around it that suggested that it was from someone who recently had died — couldn’t hair analysis show the presence of either chloroform or Xanax? (Artificially Sweetened tells me that today’s hair analysis tests cannot detect short half-life agents, but until she changes her name to Boa Vista, I’m not believing her.)
My theory is as good as the prosecution’s, but it is still not good enough that a skilled defense counsel could not poke enough holes in it to make a wheel of Swiss cheese jealous. Remember, all the defense needs is to establish reasonable doubt in a single juror, which is what happened in this case, right?
I don’t know. José Baez seemed to conduct a rather disorganized, haphazard, and at times, incompetent defense. It seemed clear that the prosecution was winning with its methodical use of time lines and science. Baez’s closing was weak, but impressive in that he used no notes. Furthermore, he never proved — didn’t even try to prove — the assertion made in his opening statement that George Anthony had sexually abused his daughter and Lee Anthony, her brother, had sexually abused her as well. That was all fabricated. Neither did he prove his other major assertion, that Caylee Anthony drowned accidentally and was then bagged and tossed into a swamp by her grandfather, later removed by an evil, itinerant meter reader, and then replaced by the meter reader, who didn’t even bother asking for the reward money. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. But he didn’t have to prove any of it. He merely had to have some kind of a theory. The burden of the proof is on the prosecution, who had to spend as much time and effort trying to debunk Baez’s cockamamie theory as they did proving their own.
So, the jury had reasonable doubt about whether Casey killed her daughter. By the end of their first half-day of deliberating, they knew that. Absolutely not a single one of those seven women and five men felt that the prosecution proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Not one! Is it possible that they closed their minds to the evidence much earlier? They must have.
They confirmed Linda Drane Burdick’s worst fear: that they would let emotion get in the way of common sense. Twelve closed-minded jurors who wanted to go home deliberated about as long as the O.J. Simpson jurors to arrive at the same result.
Perhaps the prosecution can be faulted for not using voir dire effectively to weed out closed-minded prospective jurors. One of the jurors actually said that she found it against her religion to judge people. Say what? Just why the hell do you think you’re sitting on a jury, lady?
How nonsensical is finding Ms. Anthony guilty of providing false information to the police about her daughter when the only reason to do so was to evade prosecution for killing her — and then not find her guilty of the crime she was covering up? This was yet another clue that Casey did it and was backpedaling like mad trying to slither her way out of it. The jury might as well have exonerated her on these counts, too. Were they trying to make it look like they were doing their job properly? Did they read the transcripts of the four conversations with the police upon which they would base their judgment? Methinks not.
I think there was a clear abdication of responsibility by the jury to not review the entire case more closely before reaching a verdict. Did anyone expect that reaching a verdict in this complex case with a complex array of charges would take less than a day? Did you? I sure as hell didn’t.
Here’s the way I see it: Casey accidentally overdosed Caylee one night when she wouldn’t shut up and she wouldn’t go to sleep. The next morning, it became clear what happened. Casey panicked and tried to bury the lifeless toddler in the Anthony’s back yard, but found the process too arduous and lengthy. She gave up, put Caylee in a laundry bag and tossed her back into the trunk of her car. A few days later, Casey took the decomposing body to the swampy area at the end of the street where she lived part-time with her parents when she wasn’t shacking up with Tony, and dumped it there. If there were any tears, they were quickly dried. Casey didn’t have time for tears. She was too busy covering up her daughter’s murder. The big lie demanded Casey’s full attention.
If I correctly understood the jury instructions, assuming that killing Caylee was unpremeditated and unintentional, the verdict should have been guilty of aggravated manslaughter of a child at the very least. That crime carries a thirty year maximum sentence, which is the least I think Ms. Anthony should be serving in the Big House. Not going to happen. Instead, she’ll be going back to the Anthony house and shortly will be joining the party circuit once again, devoid of the impediment of a young daughter to take care of.
Don’t get me wrong. I love America, and I believe that our legal system is excellent. I’ll accept the decision by a painstakingly selected jury of Ms. Anthony’s peers. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t criticize it, which is just as inherently an American right as the right to a fair trial. So, consider my First Amendment rights exercised here, whether you agree or disagree.
As much as the media might have created a rush to judgment in the early stages of this trial, the jury seemed to have formed a backlash opinion before its conclusion. I assume that they were honest when they told the judge every day that they had complied with his admonitions not to discuss the case among themselves or with anyone else. So, they reached their opinions independently. They could not have reviewed very much evidence or dispelled many doubts among themselves in four hours of deliberation. It was their gut feeling not that Ms. Anthony was innocent, but that the State had not proven it to their satisfaction.
Agreed that the evidence was all circumstantial. However, it was complete enough to have proved motive and opportunity — but it could not produce a murder weapon or a material witness. The defense theory was hogwash, and every juror knew it. What kind of grandparent would discover a child floating face down in the family swimming pool and not call for help? What kind of grandparent would put that child in a bag and toss her into a swamp? Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the defense sure as hell seemed desperate to concoct that ridiculous hyperbole. Meanwhile, the jury couldn’t use their common sense to fill in any perceived gaps in the prosecution’s case. But that’s their prerogative.
I’m over it. Casey cannot be tried again for this crime. If she, in fact, committed it, she’s gotten away with murder. The fact that we’ve had two such high profile cases in the past 16 years pisses me off, but to paraphrase Deputy Sean in the previous post, I’d rather see two guilty murderers go free than one innocent person incarcerated. So, enough of this crying over spilt milk. Let us move on.
After the verdict was delivered and the trial concluded, defense counsel gave a press conference. Cheney Mason was a complete, sanctimonious asshole, standing there gloating while blaming the media for conducting a trial of its own. Kiss my ass, Mason, you pious prick. That’s how they sell newspapers and cable tv subscriptions. Why not be humble in victory like … like… um….
Like José Baez, who was the epitome of magnanimous humility, praising the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the system — all except for the death penalty, in opposition to which he chose to deliver some strong editorial comments. Fine, but at least he was humble otherwise and had some good things to say, unlike Mason, who was in just about every observer’s eyes on the losing team until the shocking verdict resonated like Roy Hobbs’ home run in The Natural.
The prosecution held a press conference later. The active lawyers in the case did not speak. Instead, Lawson Lamar, State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial District gave his comments. He acknowledged how difficult it was to prove a “dry bones” case in which much of the evidence had been destroyed by time and tide. He praised his attorneys and the defense. He yielded the floor to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, who told us all to stay the hell away from the Anthony’s house and don’t even think of staging any violent demonstrations. And that was that.
So, just as O.J. rots in prison because he couldn’t keep his nose clean after getting away with murder, now we can only hope that Ms. Anthony slips up somewhere. She can’t be re-tried for this alleged crime. She does have a potential civil case coming up, though. Zenaida Gonzalez, the name Casey concocted as “Zanny the Nanny’s” formal name, is suing Ms. Anthony for defamation of character. Of course, Zenaida Gonzalez is by no means a unique name — not exactly Mary Smith, but certainly worth a page in the Bronx phone book. On the other hand, her chosen plaintiff’s counsel team is John Morgan and Keith Mitnik of Morgan & Morgan (For The People), a cutthroat contingency ambulance chasing firm that has recently hired immediate past Florida governor Charlie Crist. If anyone knows how to squeeze money out of a defendant, this firm does.
(Ambulance chasing was honed to a state-of-the-art edge by Morgan & Morgan’s predecessor firm, Morgan, Colling & Gilbert. Perhaps 15 years ago, I spotted a shiny blue van with a yellow rotating beacon on top. On the side was the very tastefully and professionally letter caption, “Morgan, Colling & Gilbert Courtesy Van”. Yeah, courtesy alright! I’m thinking that it had a business card cannon in the back.)
Anyhow, if Casey thinks she can make a few bucks on the book rights to her case or the TV movie rights or whatever, perhaps Mitnik and Morgan are licking their chops over their contingency fee. Who knows if such a case can be successful — do you think that the jury will be any more predictable in that civil trial than these 12 were in the murder trial? Think again. Anything can happen when the the courtesy van shows up!
The jurors are now home, back in their beds fondling their spouses and telling stories of their great adventure. One juror had a previously planned overseas jaunt beginning tomorrow. The jurors refused to talk with the media before they were ushered out the secret door and onto the secret bus, so who knows when we’ll get those stories out of them. Leave them be for now. Their lives will be changed forever by this trial.
So will the lives of Cindy, George, and Lee Anthony. Lee was not present at the trial today. Still sour grapes for not being invited to the baby shower or Caylee’s birth? Who knows with this family, as dysfunctional as they are. After the verdict was read, Cindy was all smiles. Meanwhile, George stood on the other side, red-faced and clearly unhappy. I might even say pissed off. He loved little Caylee, and he had the common sense to know what happened. In particular, he knew that the defense’s concocted bag of lies was just that. I think Cindy knows that Casey had an angel on her shoulder today, too, and she is grateful to that angel for having come through for her. Meanwhile, Casey is mentally preparing for the big party that will happen upon her release, whenever that happens.
I suspect that the dichotomy between George and Cindy will result in a divorce. George was really pissed off today. Cindy, as you recall, lied on the witness stand to protect her daughter. Many of you condoned that as properly protective behavior for a mother. I beg to differ. An adult daughter is responsible for her own actions. Sorry, you folks who believe that individual responsibility doesn’t extend to chronic screw-ups. It does, and they must bear the consequences. If others, including mothers, give them crutches, it weakens them and encourages them to get away with more. So, Cindy’s lying on the stand served no purpose but to confirm that the whole damn family is a bunch of liars.
Of course, George is no saint, either. Who knows whether he did or didn’t screw River Cruz. Who cares? One way or another, his marriage is doomed. The rift between him and his wife is too great.
And what of Lee, who Mr. Baez would liked to have sacrificed for Casey’s benefit? Why was he excluded from the baby shower and the birth? Is there any truth to his groping Casey while she slept? What was the stuff about a paternity test to see if he was actually Caylee’s father all about? This is one FUBAR family!
Yes, indeed. And it will be even more FUBAR now with Casey’s return imminent. I’m hoping against hope that they all stay in town so Casey has a good chance of screwing up again — just like O.J. I can see it now, Casey leading an effort to establish a memorial to Caylee in the swamp. She’ll take them to the exact location and — oops, she had no way of knowing where that actually was. One thing is for certain. Her every move will be watched by the paparazzi. We’ll soon have a reprise of the night club pictures, only now they’ll be in the tabloids at your favorite supermarket checkout counter.
And much as O.J. Simpson dedicated his life to finding the “real killer” on the golf courses of America, we can expect Casey to be spending her time searching for Caylee’s real killer in the nightclubs of Central Florida.
I’m putting myself to sleep, so I’ll terminate this harangue. Three thousand words is enough. Now, I wish to thank the jurors for their commitment and dedication, and for their great pride in our legal system. I don’t agree with their decision. Not many of us do. How about you?