How could a mother research "chloroform" on the Internet, cover up her daughter's disappearance for a month, lie about it, party hard while her daughter was dead and leave a car trunk smelling of rotten flesh? Substantial evidence pointed to Casey Anthony's guilt. The jury believed Casey Anthony was dishonest, but this was not translated into convictions for the more serious offenses. Many believe the not guilty verdicts were a travesty of justice. (http://digitaljournal.com/article/309420
Before the verdicts, the main defense attorney was criticized and ridiculed. (http://digitaljournal.com/article/309991
). Most thought the prosecutors were far more professional and able. After the verdict, the main defense attorney at trial praised the prosecutors for their quality and skill.
Several things are clear: It's an imperfect world and necessarily an imperfect legal system. People are capable of great evil. In fact, our entire system is predicated on a desire to minimize wrongdoing by judges, juries, law enforcement officials, attorneys, parties and witnesses. The system of checks and balances sacrifices some aspects to achieve greater reliability and honesty in others.
One of the safeguards is that criminals are not required to testify in their own trial. Casey Anthony did not have to testify and so she did not. As a practical matter, this suggests guilt, but the jury is not supposed to draw any inference from a defendant's failure to testify. Another safeguard is the burden of proof required in a criminal case: guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The reasonable doubts of the Casey Anthony jury very likely explain the not guilty verdicts. It is at least possible that someone else killed Kaylee Anthony, although I do not believe it. The jury system itself is a huge safeguard against the arbitrariness and potential corruption in allowing one person rather than 12 to make a very important decision. It is nearly impossible to bribe 12 jurors, but bribing one person is relatively easy if the decision-maker is willing to take a bribe.
Many condemn the American legal system, a system that without question is subject to criticism and always in need of reform. (For just one example, http://digitaljournal.com/article/310091
). The system appears to have misfired in a high-profile case. The most galling aspect is that Casey Anthony will walk and might even end up making a million dollars with a book, interviews and other money-making ventures.
Here's how you can feel better about the verdict: Find a good book about Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler and read about the judicial systems in the Soviet Union under Stalin or Nazi Germany under Hitler. Take your mind off the technicalities and specific evidence in one murder case and study how dictators kill millions, most without trials. Be sure to study how their trials are conducted, and you will clearly see legal systems devoid of justice and filled with prejudice, politics, racism, hatred, mistakes, insanity, insensitivity, corruption and waste. The one verdict you are worried about will shrink in significance compared to the millions of tragedies that have gone before. This of course will not set anything right in the case that stunned you, but it will make our system look much better by comparison.