Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Anthony Trial Shows Legal System at Its Worst

I have written a post in the past about my frustrations with the legal system, and the Casey Anthony trial in Florida is proving to be one of the best example of why many people don’t trust lawyers or our legal system.

I covered trials as a reporter and was once a juror, having been voted to be the foreman of the jury by my fellow jurors.  It has been my observation that instead of being forums for determining the truth, trials often become nothing more than debate tournaments between opposing legal counsels.   

Sometimes, as has happened in the murder case of Casey Anthony, the attorneys, especially the defense attorney in this situation, puts on a spectacle that appears designed to get to anything but the truth.  Jose Baez, the defense attorney for Anthony has posed a premise that Casey did not kill her daughter, but panicked after her daughter drowned in the family pool and then engaged in a cover up.  As Baez said in his opening statement, “Casey may be guilty of not calling 911, but she is not guilty of murder.”

To refresh your memory, in July of 2008, Casey Anthony reported to police that her daughter had been missing a month.  Casey said she had nothing to do with the disappearance of her daughter, and when the body of two-year-old Caylee was eventually found in December 2008, Casey said she had nothing to do with her child’s death.

Now I understand that it is the duty of a defense attorney to help get a not-guilty verdict for the client.  That’s a fundamental right provided by the Constitution.  However, it is also my understanding that a defense attorney cannot concoct a totally false premise to gain an acquittal.  If an attorney does that, they are subject to legal and professional sanctions.

I’m not in the court room, and I haven’t read every news account on the Anthony trial, but it appears to me so far that Baez has created a totally false premise in an attempt to get Casey acquitted.  The autopsy of Caylee Anthony’s body shows no indication of a drowning.  What is more damning is that police have testified during the trial that they offered Casey a plea deal in which she could plead guilty to concealing an accidental death and was turned down.

After some of the jury decisions that have occurred during my lifetime, I wouldn’t dare predict the outcome of this trial.  However, if it turns out that Anthony’s defense turns out to be a total fraud, I hope the court does whatever it can to throw the book at defense attorney Jose Baez.

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