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The View From Where You Stand

When Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her daughter Caylee, my heart skipped a beat and I immediately felt angry.  When it was announced that she was found not guilty of even manslaughter and child neglect, I was enraged.  Casey did a great job of portraying herself as a selfish woman who was not prepared to raise a child and who was not quite ready to grow up and accept the responsibilities of adulthood.  The media overwhelmed the public with all the juicy details of Casey’s private life; incriminating photos, rumors from friends, facts from family members and employers.  Casey easily became one of the most hated women in this country.

After the verdict was handed down and Casey was to become a free woman, the collective rage of the public was palpable.  People needed someone to blame.  The court found Casey to be blameless in the eyes of the law, save for lying to law enforcement, and we had been blaming her all along anyway.  The natural scapegoats were the jurors assigned to this trial.  People were outraged that this group of 12 let a murderer walk away after killing a child.  How could they come to such a decision when it was obvious to US that she killed her baby?  These people truly were clueless, heartless bastards.

Jurors have been banned from restaurants, insulted and threatened online, and shunned by family members. One woman quit her job and moved out of Florida because she was afraid for her life.  Nearly every day I check the news websites, there is a story on a juror and the hardships they now face for being associated with this trial.  The hatred and anger that should be reserved for other parties has now landed solely on the shoulders of these jurors.

Personally, I was outraged at the verdict and initially couldn’t understand why she was acquitted of murder and not charged with manslaughter or neglect.  That being said, it’s understandable that Casey was allowed to walk free.  An anonymous juror told People Magazine that the vote to convict Casey of lying to the police was easily 12-0, while the vote to convict her of murder went from 10-2 to acquit to all voting for acquittal after 30 minutes.  The manslaughter charge went from a split decision, to 11-1 to acquit, and finally to 12-0 to acquit in what was called a very difficult decision.  Every single juror interview I have read or seen has included a variation of the statement “I wish we could have convicted her, but the evidence just wasn’t there.”  That may sound like a cop-out to many of us who have had full internet and TV access throughout the trial, but it makes perfect sense to the sequestered jury who had to go solely off of the evidence provided by the prosecution and the defense.  Every single one of those jurors could have thought Casey was a murdering cold-hearted sorry excuse for a parent, but that doesn’t mean a damn thing when it comes time to handing down a verdict.  The only thing that matters is what was presented to them in court, and what was presented was a very weak case by the prosecution.

If we are going to be angry, let’s get angry at the prosecution for not presenting a better case.  Even better, let’s be angry that a small child lost her life.  Let’s get mad over the fact that it took far too long for Caylee to be reported missing because no one seemed to care enough to speak up.  Let’s be angry that a murderer, whether it’s Casey or someone else, is walking free after committing such a vile act.  I truly hope that this case serves as a learning experience for the prosecuting team and that next time around, they are able to build a solid case that finds the guilty party guilty and provides proper punishment.  I also hope that people refocus a bit and stop blaming the jury for doing the only thing they could have done, handing down a not guilty verdict while knowing the public would hate them for it.  These people performed their civic duty to the best of their ability and don’t deserve this backlash of anger and hatred.  Let them move on.

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