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article imageOp-Ed: Why Casey Anthony was laughing and smiling in court

By Arthur Weinreb     Jun 28, 2011 in Crime
Orlando - When the Anthony trial resumed Monday morning, court did not begin until approximately 40 minutes after the scheduled 8:30 start. Prior to Judge Belvin Perry entering the courtroom, Casey could be seen smiling and laughing.
When court finally did begin, Judge Perry explained why the sudden recess after an hour on Saturday was necessary. The defense had brought a motion for a declaration whether the defendant was competent to continue with her trial. Perry informed court that Casey was examined on the weekend by three mental health experts and on the basis of reports he received, the judge ruled she was competent to continue.
A criminal trial that is broadcast live and has a worldwide audience adds a new dimension to the phrase "public trial". But no matter how much interest there is, there are some facts that are simply not released to the public. The reports of those who examined Casey were sealed and not referred to in open court.
Facts unavailable in a high profile trial leads to rampant speculation especially in the age of 24-hour news cycles and cable news networks. There was much speculation during the weekend about why court suddenly recessed after only one hour on Saturday. And when Casey was seen laughing and smiling on Monday before the judge entered the courtoom, her demeanour became the subject of more speculation.
One theory to explain her demeanour was that she is so mentally out of it that she is not really cognizant of the fact she is facing the death penalty for the death of her daughter, Caylee. This goes against the finding she is competent to continue her trial. Perry and the experts have concluded that Casey appreciates the nature of the proceedings and is able to assist in her own defense.
Much evidence has been adduced at trial to show that Casey was extremely sociable and loved to party, even seemingly having a good time in the days and weeks after Caylee's disappearance. As she is held in protective custody and receives no jail visits, the time she spends with her defense team constitutes her social life. Possible.
Another theory put forward to explain her happy demeanour is that she has suddenly realized the position she is in, has no confidence in an acquittal and is feigning non-competence to terminate or at least delay being made accountable for her actions.
The most likely scenario is that Casey is arguing with her lawyers over whether she will take the stand in her own defense. Despite criticisms leveled at Jose Baez, the defense lawyers are no doubt confident they are raising a reasonable doubt as to Casey's guilt. Putting a defendant in a capital case on the stand is to be avoided, especially when that defendant has a proven history of lying. Had Casey been found to be not competent, the defense would not have to worry about putting her on the stand against their advice.
Casey thinks she is pretty smart; a lot smarter than her defense team. This is the woman that successfuly convinced her friends and family that she was gainfully employed at Universal Studios and that her precious daughter was being looked after by the fictitious "Zanny the Nanny." She feels she can take the stand, explain to her mental inferiors on the jury that Caylee accidentally drowned and then walk out the door.
Prior to court resuming on Monday, Casey knew or surmised that she would be found competent to continue the trial. She could now insist on taking the stand. Despite being on trial for capital murder, this would make her one happy camper.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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