If you are not au fait
with the case of Casey Anthony, you can find a simplified timeline here
. While the OJ Simpson trial
was believed widely at the time to have divided America, the Casey Anthony trial did just the opposite; apart from a few simpletons - mostly young white males who keep their brains inside their trousers - America and indeed most of the world was united in hatred for this young woman who, acquittal aside, exhibited a wantonness and callousness towards her young daughter that beggars belief.
She was acquitted of the major charges against her solely because she was fortunate enough to be judged by the dumbest jury
ever to have been empanelled in the State of Florida, but was convicted on misdemeanours of lying to the police. Judge Strickland summed her up poetically
at an early hearing when he said the truth and Miss Anthony are strangers.
Earlier this month, Anthony spoke by telephone to expatriate TV host Piers Morgan, although the call was not broadcast. One of Anthony's lawyers appeared on the show with Morgan; J. Cheney Mason continued his advocacy
, but it remains to be seen if anyone but himself will be convinced by it.
Anthony's lead attorney Jose Baez has written a book
on the case, as was to be expected, and Anthony herself is said to be planning a book
, one that should most definitely be filed under fiction, or even fantasy.
More outrageous even than that though is the appeal Anthony is mounting against her misdemeanour convictions. The main (and quite spurious) argument her legal team is advancing is that because she was not advised of her right to remain silent (mirandized
), her questioning by the police should have been excluded by the trial judge. Of course, this is an argument that should have been made out at the time, but Judge Perry bent over backwards in this trial to be fair; the fact that he ruled more often in favour of the State rather than for the defense was due principally to the bull in a china shop behaviour of Mr Baez, which at times bordered on contempt.
As Anthony's lawyers should know, and undoubtedly do, the fact that the police have not administered a Miranda warning does not necessarily invalidate anything and everything a suspect or more generally a person says at the time. There is something called the community caretaker exception
which allows the police to ask questions without mirandizing; this applies also to warrantless searches (Mapp v Ohio). Double killer Neil Entwistle
has tried this gambit in connection with the latter, without success.
Briefly, there are times when the police act not entirely as police officers but as guardians of public safety. When Detective Yuri Melich
(Dick Tracy Orlando) questioned Casey Anthony frantically about the whereabouts of her daughter, he was concerned primarily with finding a young girl at risk. It is likely, even probable, that Melich believed Caylee Anthony to be dead and her mother to have been responsible for her death, but he had to assume both that Caylee was alive, and that Casey would be able to lead him to her.
It is true that too often, police officers regard rules, regulations, procedures and even laws as inconvenient barriers erected by the judicial system to prevent them from arresting, imprisoning or even at times killing people they regard as undesirable. But there is absolutely no evidence of anything like this happening here, indeed their behaviour was exemplary as it usually is when they are genuinely acting as community caretakers, for example in a situation where they are not chasing bad guys - a flood, or some other large scale emergency. Indeed, the only abuse that happened in the People v Casey Marie Anthony was and is by the defense, and it is time the courts, or somebody said, enough is enough.