July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony

I had actually never heard of Casey Anthony until reading Bill James's book Popular Crime a few weeks ago. So, I have nothing to say about the verdict in her case except to make a general observation. As Dave Barry once explained: "the Sixth Amendment states that if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to a trial before a jury of people too stupid to get out of jury duty."

My experience having been on the jury in what should have been an open-and-shut tax fraud case is that 9 out of 12 jurors were too dimwitted to grasp what had happened even after I had explained it to them. Only the Chinese-American accountant understood the situation after I'd explained it to the jury, and the Bulgarian immigrant used car dealer was smart enough to figure it out, but his biases were all on the side of the accused, an Iranian immigrant used car dealer.

Have there ever been any studies of jury performance based on selection rules for the juror pool? For example, I sat around several times at Cook County courthouses waiting to be called, and the evident quality of potential jurors was pretty decent: a lot of guys in business suits reading the WSJ. Among potential jurors in LA County courthouses, however, you have a lot of people sitting around staring blankly. My impression is that this is due to where names were drawn from at the different periods in different places: voter registration roles in Cook County in the 20th Century, Department of Motor Vehicle rolls in Los Angeles County in the 21st Century. There are a lot of opportunities for social sciences studies here, such as natural experiments of the impact when the source of the jury summons gets changed.

In general, however, most Americans don't seem to want to think about just how badly juries often perform.

68 comments:

Rrrrrroger said...

If the prosecution really wanted to, it could have put on all the necessary evidence in less than three weeks. It couldn't have put on all the evidence in that time, of course, but it could have told a story sufficient to prove guilt. Same with the OJ trial. The advantage of a four to six week trial would be that normal people would be less desperate to avoid the trial, and excuses would be harder to come by. If the prosecution did it and lost, though, it would open the prosecutors up for criticism. I really do not expect this to ever be tried.

Anonymous said...

It's not just about stupid jurors allowing the obviously guilty to go free, it's also about stupid jurors convicting the innocent, especially doctors. We need educated professional jurors who undergo background checks and are randomly assigned to cases in and around where they live. This would increase juror competence and lower the chances of bribery.

rapscallion said...

I actually agree with the jury's verdict because we really don't know anything about the circumstances of Caylee's death (from what I've read), but it seems to me that the prosecution dropped the ball in not charging her with neglect or conspiracy to cover up a death (I assume that's a crime). Can any lawyers say whether or not those charges would have worked in this case?

Anonymous said...

There's really no excuse for a trial to take months. (its being conducted by a bunch of people who went to law school does not constitute an excuse in my mind)

Kaz said...

What I hear is that the prosecution aimed to high, first degree murder? With only circumstantial evidence that's a bit much, but they probably very well could have convicted her on manslaughter or negligence.

The false sexual abuse accusation of her father probably shook up the jury (as they probably believed it..)..

Also, did you hear? Word on the street is she got book offers, movie offers, and an offer to do porn.

She just got rich off killing her daughter..

G.L.Piggy said...

I'm curious about the race of the Casey Anthony jurors. I coudln't find anything laying out their demographics though there was plenty of info about their occupations. O.J.'s jury having 8 blacks still baffles me every time I think about it.

The Casey Anthony jury, IIRC, was moved from Pinellas County to Orange County. The latter has more blacks and Hispanics than the former.

Also, how widespread is the thinking laid out in the post that juries are self-selected for poor intelligence? I thought that might be an issue here and my girlfriend made an off-hand comment about it being a factor too. Is it commonly recognized by people in the know that the smart jurors figure out ways to get out of jury duty?

One more last point: if jurors wanted to cash in on the Casey Anthony trial the best way to do it would be to send up the most compelling verdict. Everyone thought she was guilty, "not guilty" was most compelling. Long shot, I know.

Anonymous said...

As a kid back in the 1970's I was told by my dad that the credit system worked because the average person is honest and can balance his check book. There will always be the incredibly stupid who will screw up their finances and crooks who will abuse the system, but these folks must necessarily be in the minority.

He also made a parallel comment about the jury trial system -- it works because the average person can follow a simple evidentiary argument and will strive to be fair and honest in the jury room to his fellow man.

With the browning and dumbing of America, I just don't see how either our legal or financial system can endure. I'm glad my parents aren't alive to see what a multicultural wreck this country has become. I dread what the future will bring for my children.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

So how many dead people served on juries in Cook County, given that they used the voter rolls?

Jury duty could be less of a PITA if you could schedule your availability. Teachers would probably be happy serving during the summer, if you knew you were going to be in a slow period at work, or unemployed etc.

I am Lugash.

jlf said...

I am scheduled for jury duty the week after I finish the bar exam. This will likely represent the peak of my understanding of random fields of law in this jurisdiction, and I will almost certainly not be selected.

Anonymous said...

The American system of government, including the idea of trial by jury, is built on the assumpti0on that "we the people" are all reasonably intelligent and also reasonably homogeneous. It can't survive the transformation of the country into a multi-culti paradise.

Anonymous said...

Jury Duty is designed to appeal more to the unemployed then everyone else.

Personally I wanted to get picked last time and I didn't even get called.

Anonymous said...

How did the defense attorney allow someone like Sailor on the jury? A smart, white, educated man? No way.

What did they ask you in voir dire, Steve?

Wes said...

Modern juries seem unable to draw logical inferences from data. If they don't literally see a videotape of a murder, they don't seem capable of convicting someone.

Of course, the problem is that such juries will also unfairly convict people in other situations, due to the same cognitive limitations.

Nanonymous said...

Why not abolish the jury system altogether? The system is just too easily gamed. Feelings routinely trumping the facts - that's just not worth keeping.

Anonymous said...

I find the indignation at the jury's decision somewhat ironic, particularly the inevitable comparisons to the OJ verdict. In the minds of the public, it seems that both were virtually identical miscarriages of justice.

With one notable difference, of course: I haven't heard a single instance of the Florida Cracker community celebrating Ms. Anthony's acquital.

Kylie said...

I long ago decided that if I ever had to be tried in criminal court, I'd want a trial by judge if I were innocent and a trial by jury if I were guilty.

"...9 out of 12 jurors were too dimwitted to grasp what had happened even after I had explained it to them."

Now that's scary. You have a real gift for explaining things clearly and simply.

I didn't follow the Anthony trial but apparently the defence argued that the child's death was an accidental drowning which so frightened Casey that she hid the body and tried to make the death look like a case of murder. Of course, she wasn't too frightened to party hardy or to refrain from reporting her daughter's disappearance for weeks afterward.

On the face of it, any juror who would believe that "argument" is really too stupid to 1)serve on a jury 2)vote 3)breed 4)be elected or appointed to any public office or 5)operate any motorized machinery or vehicle.

jd said...

I know of one study of jury selection, but it was this very lame study to see if those rejected for jury duty felt their rejection was unfair/fair/racist.

Lewis J said...

Justice in the US has been going downhill for at least a half century. Its only in these public spectacles that everyone follows where most law-abiding people ever get to see just how screwed up it really is.

Unhappy Traveler said...

Why has this case dominated the news eclipsing more important issues like the 3yr peak in Iraqi military deaths in Iraq, the billions wasted in Afghanistan, or the serious US economic problems?

It must be more than a simple man bites dog angle. Personally, I was pissed when forced to hear about it via CNN at a departure gate recently. I mean, who gives a flying crap?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if she would have been acquitted if she hadn't been a hottie with a nice rack.

Acilius said...

"most Americans don't seem to want to think about just how badly juries often perform." What we really don't want to think about is how badly cops and prosecutors often perform. By the time a criminal case comes to trial, the prosecution has invested such quantities of personal time, public money, and professional reputation in the case that it's virtually impossible for them to look past those sunk costs and consider the possibility that they may have made a mistake somewhere along the line. Look at the extreme defensiveness prosecutors routinely exhibit on those occasions when evidence exonerates a convict, and then imagine what would happen if the criminal justice system were even more self-contained than it is now.

Anonymous said...

These sorts of trials are decided at jury selection.

Everything that happens after jury selection is a mere formality.

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is why all the jurors gave in on the verdict. I thought for sure this case would end in a hung jury because the prosecution didn't focus enough on the period of time between Caylee's disappearance and the police being notified that the child was missing.

Sad to think that perhaps a charismatic member of the jury was able to persuade all the others to give in.

Rejected Juror Candidate said...

The only time I had jury duty was in Baltimore City 15 years ago. I was one of the few whites there. I was also one of very few dressed decently: collared shirt and tie - as opposed to ghetto fashions of the day. The trial involved a street-level drug dealer. Needless to say I was not picked. But the joke was on the defense, considering my absolute disgust at the useless war on drugs.

beowulf said...

Roger, your spot-on comment triggered a memory from law school of a judge's proposal that trials be conducted without a jury but videotaped. After all the evidence was taken (and after the lawyers had hashed out which irrelevant or TOO relevant testimony would be deleted), a jury would be selected and they'd watch the video before being deliberating on a verdict.

Can you imagine how much faster jurors could be out of there if trials were edited for TV?

DCThrowback said...

via Allahpundit, on twitter:

Casey Anthony juror: We were sick to our stomachs over having to acquit her http://is.gd/TEA9Jg

I have no issue w/ the jury's verdict in this case. If the prosecution couldn't provide motive and method of death, the jury could say there was reasonable doubt, even if most of them believed that she was the killer.

Anonymous said...

NYC has tightened down on jury exemption reasons tremendously in the past decade or so making it very tough to avoid serving. However, defense attorneys will weed out any juror with an IQ in triple digits immediately so the result is the same.

Anonymous said...

Roger makes a good point, except the length of the trial is up to the Defense.

This seems to differ from OJ, because (1) the prosecution could never DIRECTLY tie the mother to the kids death, even by DNA/Blood evidence and (2) people didn't want to send a women to death row for killing her own 2 year old kid.

And to be honest, I wonder how many men get worked up about this kind of thing. I'm sure the defense did an excellent job of jury selection.

ColRebSez said...

One of the problems is that the prosecutor said a lot of things were really important that were actually in dispute. For example, the "smell of death" from the vehicle was said to be absolutely overpowering. Yet numerous witnesses, including police officers, said they smelled nothing. So base your case on this and you undermine your case. There were several other examples of this type of disputed evidence that simply should have been left out of the prosecution's case.

Anonymous said...

According to Jeffrey Toobin's 1996 book, the original group of prospective jurors for the O.J. Simpson criminal trial was around 38% white, 28% black, and the rest Latino, Asian, and "others." Overall, the downtown jury pool was about 31% black and 30% white. The potential group was fairly well educated.

Tha hardship phase eliminated most of the white prospective jurors. Many of them had jobs which they couldn't leave for several months. Ito let out anybody who wanted out.

Toobin wrote: "The hardship process had acted like a vacuum cleaner for educated, white, and male jurors-all groups that had shown a predisposition in favor of the prosecution. A little less than one third of the original group of nine hundred consisted of African-Americans. In the group that remained in the process at the questionnaire stage, their number jumped to about one half. And three quarters of the black prospective jurors were female-the most pro-Simpson group of all."

Anonymous said...

Do they do badly?

[citation needed]

Anonymous said...

One of the jurors "chosen" said under jury selection questioning that she "had a hard time judging people." Duh.

I firmly believe this jury didn't have a single person bright enough to distinguish the difference between "reasonable doubt" and "not a single doubt."

Grumpy Old Man said...

I once mentioned downtown LA juries to a judge, who simply replied, "Ka-ching."

Anonymous said...

"Sad to think that perhaps a charismatic member of the jury was able to persuade all the others to give in."

Last night I heard a jury consultant who had watched the selection process from the beginning answer in this fashion when asked what she thought of the jurors:

(paraphrasing but very close to actual words): I knew, after watching and listening to those who ultimately were chosen as jurors, that there was not a single one who was in possession of traits associated with managerial or administrative skills.

(The words "managerial" and "administrative" are hers, btw.)

Translated--they were all passive, all sheep, none bright, I'd say. My guess is there was not a single strong personality among them.

They selected as foreperson a childless, youngish male phys ed teacher who was in a the process of getting his master's degree on line.

Nanonymous said...

@DCThrowback:
I have no issue w/ the jury's verdict in this case. If the prosecution couldn't provide motive and method of death, the jury could say there was reasonable doubt,

For comparison: Scott Peterson is on death row for murdering his wife. Her cause of death was never determined and there was zero physical evidence linking Scott Peterson to her death.

The Anthony verdict, BTW, was not guilty of anything: no manslaughter and no child abuse.

Anonymous said...

In Florida neither motive nor means of death need be established to assign a murder one conviction.

In addition, circumstantial evidence is the most relied upon evidence of guilt. The circumstantial evidence in this case was overwhelming in pointing to Anthony as the person who took the life of the little girl.

Even if jurors couldn't find it w/in themselves to convict her of murder, it escapes almost everyone how she wasn't convicted of the next two counts.

Anonymous said...

I was on jury duty in 1993. It was one of the most unrewarding and irksome experiences of my life. When it was over, I swore I would never be on a jury ever again.

Just a few tidbits...

I sat aimlessly for hours in a huge room with hundreds of strangers waiting for .. anything.. to happen.


When you ask the orderlies when you will get picked, when your group will get called in for choosing, what time will we be able to go for lunch, can we have a bathroom break, the answer was always "I don't know".

Would be taken with about 500 people into a courtroom that seats about 175 people. Unless you were one of the lucky ones at the front of the crowd, you could forget about getting a seat and would stand packed like sardines for about 45 minutes before the judge would come in and it would all begin. My greatest fear would always be that I would pass out.

The judges were always ancient and bewildered men. I saw judges who were so old they looked like they were going to drop dead on the spot. They always seemed to never have a clue. The judge would enter the courtroom long after the jury pool had been brought in for choosing and say "I didn't know you were all waiting". I heard that over and over. I remember an Ally McBeal episode where a geriatric judge died on the bench mid-trial. It was like that.

Everything took forever. The judge would call for a "5 minute break". The dozen of us would be sent back to the jury room, (August, no air-conditioning) which comfortably sat about five people. About 45 minutes later we would get called back.

Every single case I attended while waiting to be picked involved black and brown people.

Nobody seemed to communicate anything. One guy was only able to show his medical note after being picked as nobody had asked to see it or refused to accept it. It was not discovered until day four of jury selection that one lady spoke no English.

My case involved a very big and mean looking Jamaican drug dealer. Had to endure several days of intense glares from him and his family/supporters. When his lawyer read out his previous criminal record, it took her about two full minutes.

Dahlia said...

"In general, however, most Americans don't seem to want to think about just how badly juries often perform."

Agreed. It is almost entirely about the jury. Many people want to look clever after the fact and point to what was done wrong by the prosecution. Naively, they assume the jury is representative of the voting public at large.

Scott Peterson is sitting on death row for less. We're now demanding fresh bodies or the killer goes free?

I know someone who watched the case closely and thought it was an accident. Like you, Steve, and I live next door to all this, I had her and another fill me in one day during the early part of the trial. When it was brought up the keyword searches on the computer, on top of everything else, I smiled and asked if she "just doesn't want to believe she killed her daughter". Totally expecting her to fold and sigh and say, "yeah", she maintained this belief! Bottom line: selfish and had much in common with Anthony, yet wants to believe she is, and always was, very moral. Did the defense figure out this type and get them past the prosecutor?

Also, contra the "argumentavists" who beatify juries, it is good to ask what went wrong, what is wrong. It hasn't been widely reported, but one of the alternate jurors was not just shocked at how the verdict was received but added that he thought Anthony "was a good mom"?!?!?!

Steve Sailer said...

"What did they ask you in voir dire, Steve?"

Very little. It was strange. I had a brought along copies of a bunch of VDARE articles I'd written on different subjects for the lawyers to read, but I wasn't asked anything relevant. The whole case was like a VDARE article come to life.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of hearing what a great system we have.

Anonymous said...

Casey Anthony jury-here's a brief decription of each juror:
http://www.wftv.com/news/27970046/detail.html

Dahlia said...

BTW, Steve, thanks for letting us vent...

Speaking of juries, here is one of my favorite insights of yours, that being what went wrong with the OJ trial:

"...For example, probably the most disastrous mistake Marcia Clark made in prosecuting O. J. Simpson was to complacently allow Johnny Cochran to pack the jury with black women. As a feminist, Mrs. Clark smugly assumed that all female jurors would identify with Nicole Simpson. She ignored pretrial research indicating that black women tended to see poor Nicole as The Enemy, one of those beautiful blondes who steal successful black men from their black first wives, and deserve whatever they get."

From "Is Love Colorblind?"

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, Vincent Bugliosi's book on the O.J. trial emphasizes that Marcia Clark wanted to pack the jury with women and Johnny Cochran wanted to pack it with blacks, so together they agreed to pack it with black women and see whose view of human nature turned out more accurate.

The racialist beat the feminist.

Truth said...

Are you clowns still thinking about OJ?

KGB Rezident OC said...

I've served Jury Duty twice in Orange County, FL, and never made it out of voir dire (thankfully). The first case involved a tiny Amerindian looking Hispanic illegal from some Central American country who'd been charged with cocaine possession. He didn't speak a word of English, and sat slouched with headphones on looking incredibly bored while a Spanish interpreter whispered absolutely everything that was said in the courtroom into a portable microphone ...up to and including each of our ineloquent answers to the deliberately abstract, childish questions.

In that instance (March 2010), I'd say half the jury candidates were minorities, including one Indian man who had to repeat almost every one of his answers because either the interpreter or transcriber didn't understand him the first time.

I was pleased when I heard it was a drug case, as that allowed me to easily shirk my so-called duty by saying I don't believe drug possession should be illegal--the second I said that, three other jurors gave me a "son of a gun, why didn't I think of that" look and raised their hands to inform the functionaries of their new found legalization sympathies. The public defender patronizingly asked me if I'd be able to disregard my personal views and just "follow the law," tap dancing around the words jury nullification, but I replied, "alas, no."

My second tour of duty was completed a week ago down at the 'Coat House, amidst all the "Miss Anfernee" hoopla (as our beloved Judge Perry would say). In this case, a mean-looking goateed Hispanic with an angry look in his eyes and aged about 40 had been accused of knocking off a gas station. Also not wanting to get roped into this (as they said it could take several days), I resolved to play the hard-ass crucify-em, pro law enforcement guy...but this time around had a lot more competition from other peeved off gentlemen who didn't want to have to come back, including a Hispanic landscaper who claimed his cousin had stolen $85,000 of equipment from him, infuriating him to the point where he considered anybody accused of a crime guilty and deserving of something approximating torture.

Once again, I escaped. The defender asked me, "What do you think when you see a squad car pull someone over on the side of the road?" and I replied, "They got one!" She was so appalled by the answer that she repeated it (as if to document my backwardness and barbarity for the record), and I knew I was in the clear. The 6 people who ended up getting selected were 3 women (I believe two of them white), and 3 men (two white, one black and from Haiti). I didn't think any of them were stupid--more so that they were nice, friendly, personable, and tried to show how much respect for the system they had. In other words, puddy in the hands of the professional sociopaths who control our judiciary.

Get Off My Lawn! said...

(2) people didn't want to send a women to death row for killing her own 2 year old kid.

That's what I assume accounted for the NG verdict on the murder charges, at least. If the death penalty had not been possible, I wonder if she would have been convicted.

Although a majority of the public say they support the death penalty, it is presumably harder to put that belief into action by actually sending a person to death row. It's probably even harder when the accused is an attractive young woman.

I think the difference with Scott Peterson, besides his being male, is that there was so much pretrial publicity that demonstrated what a thoroughly nasty person he is. I simply don't believe that the jury didn't have a preconceived, negative image of him, whatever they may have claimed during voir dire. On the other hand, most of the negative publicity about Casey Anthony came out after the trial had started, when the jury was sequestered.

G.L.Piggy said...

"the racialist beat the feminist".

this is always true because the racialist is nothing if not realistic versus the feminist's idealism.

On another note, juror #9 is floating an offer for interviews for $50,000. this after saying in voire dire that he sees no reason that he would speak to Dateline et al after the case.


we can't discount the impact that the fanfare over this case had on the final outcome.

These are not my Peers said...

Casey Anthony jury-here's a brief decription of each juror

Only 3 of the 12 jurors are given as college graduates, not one described in a normal family situation (married living with children of spouse), and not a standout in the bunch.

Well anyone with a 3 digit IQ knows what lawyers are looking to disqualify in the selection process.

Mr. Stricter said...

Steve, being of the high IQ persuasion the most basic thing it seems like you sometimes forget is that most people are stupid.

It may be that less Whites and Asians are stupid compared to other ethnicities but that by no means indicates that most of them are bright.

People on the whole pretty much everywhere are dumb as bags of hammers.

That being said, given how our system is supposed to work, Casey Anthony got a rare smart jury (in Florida yet!) that understood what reasonable doubt meant, how it applied and was willing to actually render a sound verdict.

It may have some down to "We don't which squirrel in that family killed her but one of them probably did but they can't prove it" but thats 100% OK. Its a good verdict from what little I know.

Anonymous said...

The talking heads are agreeing that the prosecution simply didn't make its case, but I don't understand how the jury could overlook the fact that the defense didn't make its case, regarding the smokescreens of Casey Anthony's supposed childhood victimization, and the possibility that someone else killed Caylee. Jose Baez started right off the bat with child abuse allegations against Casey's father, and then...nothing. No follow up, no proof, Casey neither confirming nor denying...yet at the end, THAT'S the thing that seemed to stand out in the minds of the jurors. Not Casey's month of lying and prevaricating while hundreds of thousands of man hours and taxpayer dollars were being spent looking for her child, not her partying, not her writing in her diary, "I've never been happier"...

And to be honest, I wonder how many men get worked up about this kind of thing.

I think you will find that a lot of fathers, especially of toddlers, are capable of getting very worked up about this kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

50 comments so quickly??!! We're no better than Entertainment Tonight viewers. For shame!!!

Dan in DC

Anonymous said...

"For comparison: Scott Peterson is on death row for murdering his wife. Her cause of death was never determined and there was zero physical evidence linking Scott Peterson to her death."

And that ought to be a national disgrace. I was shocked by the Scott Peterson verdict.

How do you convict someone when you have no idea what they did, or why they did it?

There was no serious evidence in this case. Just a lot of gossip and speculation. They tried to use her family's Google search history as proof she killed her daughter, for Christ's sake.

"The Anthony verdict, BTW, was not guilty of anything: no manslaughter and no child abuse."

Was there any evidence behind those charges?

Gc said...

Heh, they knew she killed the kid, but it seems that the defense sold them a way to look "smart" in a big trial. Fools.

Rrrrrroger said...

The comments of Anonymous often impress me, but there's one up there where he out did himself, combining "People on the whole pretty much everywhere are dumb as bags of hammers" with "Its a good verdict from what little I know."

Mr. Anon said...

If you exhibit any technical or analytical aptitude (such as being an engineer or scientist), you are highly unlikely to ever serve on a jury. If you had a relative who was a murder victim, you are highly unlikely to ever serve on a jury. Defence attorneys want credulous fools, and prosecutors want docile fools.

I am sick of the whole jury system, and think that the voir dire process should be greatly restricted. As citizens, we not only have the duty to serve on a jury, we have the right to serve on a jury. If called to jury duty, we have the right to do more than sit in a waiting room and get bumped off any jury on a pre-emptory challenge. We have a right to be involved in the administration of justice which is carried out in our name.

Anonymous said...

"Was there any evidence behind those charges?"

You don't think that a) not knowing where your toddler is for a month and b) not making an effort to find her constitutes abuse/neglect?

Anonymous said...

Who set up the present jury selection system? It wasn't the people that end up sitting on the juries, 'twas all those law schools grads who not only manipulate the jury but manipulated the system to make it possible for them to manipulate the jury. Who pushed through "diversity" that makes most of this manipulation relevant? A fish rots from the head down.

Anonymous said...

"Although a majority of the public say they support the death penalty, it is presumably harder to put that belief into action by actually sending a person to death row."

A female person.

http://www.suite101.com/content/ontario-court-of-appeal-upholds-canadas-infanticide-law-a354869

http://www.wikilaw3k.org/law/Law-Ethics/Is-infanticide-illegal-in-Canada-341682.htm

Anonymous said...

"There was no serious evidence in this case."

http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2011/07/man-found-guilty-of-he-saidshe-said.html

Anonymous said...

What I hear is that the prosecution aimed to high, first degree murder?

You hear wrong. The jury also cleared her of lesser charges, such as manslaughter.

Anonymous said...

I find the indignation at the jury's decision somewhat ironic, particularly the inevitable comparisons to the OJ verdict. In the minds of the public, it seems that both were virtually identical miscarriages of justice.

So - where's the irony?

Anonymous said...

There was no serious evidence in this case. Just a lot of gossip and speculation. They tried to use her family's Google search history as proof she killed her daughter, for Christ's sake.

Really? Her last story, after changing her story several times, was that she found her two year old daughter dead in a swimming pool. At which point she did what any mother would do - she put duct tape on the dead kids face and buried her in the woods, because she wanted to make it look like she'd been murdered!

The fact that imbeciles like you actually swallow this nonsense makes me think that jury trials are a bad idea.

James Kabala said...

"not one described in a normal family situation (married living with children of spouse)"

For the great majority no information on marital status is given - I wonder if we are supposed to assume married unless told otherwise. It is interesting that were two different late-50s bachelors, however.

Sam said...

I've been surprised that no one has mentioned the obvious facts of this case. Casey Anthony is a psychopath or sociopath if you must. A good read on this is "The Sociopath Next Door". An excerpt:
http://www.cix.co.uk/~klockstone/spath.htm

An even more interesting question is why the media are not screaming to the high hills that she is a psychopath. Hmmm... Maybe they wish to hide the fact that psychopaths are more common than thought. Maybe they wish to hide the fact that most psychopaths are not hideous looking serial killers. Maybe they wish to hide the fact that psychopaths could very well be the driver of dysfunctional behavior in modern states. Ever heard of Alcibiades?

Anonymous said...

"And that ought to be a national disgrace. I was shocked by the Scott Peterson verdict.

How do you convict someone when you have no idea what they did, or why they did it?

There was no serious evidence in this case. Just a lot of gossip and speculation. They tried to use her family's Google search history as proof she killed her daughter, for Christ's sake."

Normally I avoid ad hominems, but in this case, I can't: whoever you are, you are a very dumb shit.

NOTA said...

One piece of evidence that our justice system isn't real accurate comes from DNA tests. There have been a largish number of death row cases where DNA evidence more-or-less proved the convicted murderer innocent. This is despite the fact that death row cases are always appealed.

For a lot of those cases, DNA testing was invented after the case was tried. So we have this wonderful natural experiment--first, the justice system did its best with the non-DNA evidence, and then in a small subset of those cases, we got to add DNA evidence. And what happened was that, uncomfortably often, the justice system completely got the wrong answer.

More recently, there have been some serious questions over other forensic evidence. Apparently, a lot of the evidence that's commonly used in trials doesn't really have much basis in science, and nobody really can say how accurate it is. (You basically need to know false positive and false negative rates, and for a lot of stuff, nobody knows them.)

My sense is, we're very lucky that most crime is the lunkhead variety that isn't so hard to solve. If most murders were like the ones in those "ripped from the headlines" shows, they'd rarely be solved, and even more rarely be solved by convicting the guy who'd actually committed the murder.

Kylie said...

"50 comments so quickly??!! We're no better than Entertainment Tonight viewers. For shame!!!"

I don't see any evidence here that the commenters find this case entertaining.

A child died under mysterious and sinister circumstances. That tends to capture the public imagination. Would you have it otherwise?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else considered that the Anthony family might be mafia? I can't help thinking that one or more of Casey's family was complicit in covering up the crime.

Someone also obviously knew a month would be long enough to decompose the body so that the cause of death couldn't be determined. What kind of person would have that information?