Libertarian Hawk


Casey Anthony’s New Tattoo: “The System Worked!”

July 13, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics


Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

Casey Anthony is set to be released from jail on Sunday after being found not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse, and guilty only of providing false information to police.

What was astonishing about the public reaction to the verdict last week was not that ordinary citizens were outraged, wondered whether prosecutors and jurors had done their jobs, or asked whether there were still some way to serve justice to the acquitted murderess.

What was astonishing was the instant, instinctive chorus of chronic felon-defenders everywhere that “the system worked.”

Harvard law professor and O.J. Simpson-defender Alan Dershowitz decided that this travesty of justice would be the perfect opportunity to lecture Americans, Janet Napolitano-style, that “the system worked.”  (Liberals’ sense of irony is even less developed than their sense of humor.)

Dershowitz wrote, “[A] criminal trial is not a search for truth.  Scientists search for truth…  A criminal trial searches for only one result: proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”  I suppose the hours of scientific testimony by forensic experts at the Anthony trial were provided for mere entertainment value.

Commentators everywhere chided the masses for swelling in anger over the “not guilty” verdict and portrayed them as overemotional, unthinking rubes with no respect for our legal system and a hankering for the days of vigilante justice.

In fact, a truly open-minded, thoughtful person would at least consider whether the district attorneys had failed to live up to their responsibilities, whether the twelve Floridians saddled with the responsibility of life-or-death decisions had failed to do their jobs, and whether these jurors had any biases or ulterior motives for returning a “not guilty” decision the very morning after the Byzantine, two-month trial had ended.

This supposedly objective, death penalty-qualified jury included:

  • Two jurors who opposed or were ambivalent about the death penalty
  • A family man raised by a single mother “like Casey” (in his words) who admitted to attorneys that although he thought Casey was guilty, “[I]f I had to return a verdict right now, I would say not guilty”
  • A dishwasher salesman who repeatedly fell asleep during the presentation of scientific evidence
  • A fervently religious woman who didn’t want to be on the jury because “I don’t like to judge people,” and whom Anthony’s defense lawyers fought rabidly to keep over the prosecutors’ objections

In any other area of life, a reasonable person would say, “Well, wait—we’re 99% sure that x is true, yet this body of individuals decided the opposite.  Is there even a faint possibility that these individuals didn’t do their job properly?  Is it possible that there were any flaws in the decision-making process?”

A broadminded assessment of the case would consider alternative options for pursuing a satisfactory resolution, such as a civil defamation suit against the fictional maid whose real-life counterpart Anthony besmirched (already in the works), a civil suit by the private search agency that spent thousands of dollars helping conduct a futile search for Caylee Anthony (also in the works), a civil suit against Anthony by the estate of her daughter, a boycott of publishing houses and television studios that offer the defendant money for her story, and a general banishment of Anthony from decent society like the one Simpson experienced after his verdict.  Victims’ rights advocates have also proposed Casey’s Law, which would make it a felony for a parent to fail to report the disappearance of her child in a timely manner.

But no—by mindlessly, repetitively, robotically focusing on the glory of “the system,” leftist commentators unwittingly reveal that they are concerned, not with justice, but with procedure.

Most everyday citizens were quoted by the media saying things like, “This is a terrible injustice.  I guess we have to accept the verdict, but I hope this woman pays in some way for what she did.”

Most left-wing elitists were quoted saying things like, “The system worked.  It doesn’t matter whether she’s guilty.  The jurors did their job.”  Which group of commentators sees the big picture?

Repeating “The system worked” ad nauseam after the Casey Anthony verdict is like adding 2 and 2 on a calculator and getting 5 and repeating “The calculator worked.”

Dershowitz is wrong that the purpose of the legal system is not justice but procedure.  The purpose of the legal system is justice through procedure.  If procedure yields horrific injustice, people have a right to ask whether the procedure failed or should be reexamined.  If the calculator fails, the user has a right to ask whether the battery should be changed.

Dershowitz admits that jurors are “human” and may have made a mistake in this case—but because of his belief that the jury system is sacrosanct, he considers it tacky and unenlightened for us everyday folks to question the rules of the system or the actions of these particular jurors.  We’re not supposed to care, for example, that the jury reportedly was split 6-6 on the manslaughter charge as late as Tuesday morning, mere hours before the verdict was rendered, and that the 6 “not guilty” voters—who, in the words of Juror #2, “had decided not to convict Casey Anthony of any charge in the girl’s death”—shouted down the 6 “guilty” voters.

The jurors did their duty.  Move along—nothing to see here!

If those reflexively defending the system showed a smidgen of outrage over the verdict, contemplated the possibility that jurors might not have done their job, or expressed hope that Anthony would receive justice in some other way, their obsessive focus on the system might be understandable.

But no—in soft-on-crime leftists’ backwards view, a sociopath being found not guilty, despite overwhelming evidence against her, is ironclad proof that the system worked.

The reaction to the Anthony case reveals, not everyday citizens’ contempt for our legal system, but elitists’ callous, glib indifference to justice.

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Casey Anthony’s Defense: I Was “Trained to Lie”!

July 06, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics


Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

The Casey Anthony murder trial is the most depressing case currently working its way through the American court system, not just for the shocking and horrifying actions alleged, but for the way in which it embodies the prevalent left-wing worldview of phony victimhood.

All evidence suggests that 22-year-old Florida mother Casey Anthony killed her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony, so she could resume the hard-partying lifestyle she enjoyed before she accidentally got pregnant with and gave birth to Caylee.

According to prosecutors, Anthony coldly, methodically drugged her daughter with chloroform, covered her mouth with duct tape to asphyxiate her, stuffed her dead body in a plastic bag, stowed it in the trunk of her car, concocted an elaborate series of lies to tell authorities and family regarding Caylee’s absence, and later dumped her daughter’s body in a swamp.

Anthony’s attorneys’ brilliant defense against the mass of forensic evidence the prosecutors presented to support their case was that Caylee actually fell in the family’s above-ground swimming pool and drowned—a claim for which they offered not a drop of physical evidence.  The accident happened due to neglect from Anthony which, they argued, was justified because she had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her father.

In fact, the claim of sexual abuse was betrayed by such a complete lack of evidence during the trial that the judge refused to even let the defense utter it again in their closing arguments.

Defense attorneys couldn’t explain why Anthony would cover up an accidental death rather than call 911, why Anthony’s father would help cover up the death of his beloved granddaughter, why Anthony’s car’s trunk had traces of chloroform in it, or why Caylee’s skull had rotting strips of duct tape over its mouth and nose.

The defense called Caylee’s death an “accident that snowballed out of control”—you know, like when the hundreds of children who drown every year are whisked away by their conspiratorial mothers and grandfathers, wrapped in duct tape to make their deaths look like homicides, crammed in a car trunk for two weeks, and plunked in a nearby swamp.  Those sorts of everyday out-of-control accidents.

Anthony refused to take the stand, no doubt because she knew prosecutors would tear her testimony to shreds.  Even defense attorneys conceded that this congenital liar’s credibility was moot, due to the complicated, detailed fabrications she had fed investigators and her parents for a month after Caylee’s death.  These lies included nonexistent friends, a phony job at Universal Studios, a fake Mexican nanny scapegoat named “Zanny” who supposedly kidnapped Caylee, and an imaginary father for her daughter.

Inspection of Anthony’s computer’s hard drive revealed that in the months leading up to Caylee’s death, someone had done internet searches on phrases such as “how to make chloroform,” “neck-breaking,” and “ruptured spleen and death.”

There hasn’t been a case this open-and-shut since the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Naturally, where Simpson’s defense team argued that he was innocent because police who investigated the crime might have been racist, Anthony’s defense team argued that the outrageously suspicious actions Anthony performed after Caylee’s death were plausible because of the “abuse” Casey had experienced as a child.

Suppose even for a minute that you believed the defense’s crackpot theory about Anthony covering up an accidental death and making it look like a homicide because she “panicked.”  The victimhood excuse they offered for her actions reflects the trendy modern worldview that people are not responsible for their actions, but are rather the product of societal forces beyond their control that push them to and fro like trash on the beach.  Anthony’s defense attorneys argued that her elaborate lies were proof, not that she was a calculating liar who was responsible for the crime all evidence suggests she committed, but that she needed help and compassion because there was “something wrong with her.”  Is there any other era in American history in which attorneys would cast someone like Casey Anthony as the victim in this trial with a straight face?

Lead defense attorney Jose Baez argued that Anthony couldn’t help telling bald-faced lies about her daughter, because the sexual abuse from her father had “trained” her to lie about stressful events.  That’s funny—I don’t recall, say, concentration camp survivors becoming pathological liars who cover up every misstep in their lives because they were “trained” to lie about stressful events.

Even prosecutor Jeff Ashton succumbed to this passive, victim-oriented stance in the language of his closing arguments: “[T]he conflict between the life that she wanted and the life that was thrust upon her was simply irreconcilable.”

Thrust upon her?  There was only one act of thrusting in this sorry saga, and Casey Anthony was fully amenable to it.

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