i bet that members of the jury thought she murdered her child, but under the charges they were given as a jury they came to the right conclusion, there simply wasn't enough direct evidence to convict
Well, how much direct evidence did they need? A video of her putting the duct tape over her child's nose and mouth? Her fingerprints on the duct tape?
Jurors decide cases, including murder cases, on circumstantial evidence all the time.
Remember Scott Peterson--convicted of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn child, and sentenced to the death penalty? That was a totally circumstantial case with even less evidence than the prosecution just presented with regard to Casey Anthony.
Circumstantial Evidence: The Scott Peterson Trial
When the Facts Cannot Be Proven Directly
The trial of Scott Peterson for the murders of his wife Laci and their unborn child Conner is a classic example of a prosecution based almost solely on circumstantial evidence, rather than direct evidence.
Circumstantial evidence is evidence which may allow a judge or jury to deduce a certain fact from other facts which can be proven. In some cases, there can be some evidence that can not be proven directly, such as with an eye-witness.
In these cases, the prosecution will attempt to provide evidence of the circumstances from which the jury can logically deduct, or reasonably infer, the fact that cannot be proven directly. The prosecutor believes the fact can be proven by the evidence of the circumstances or "circumstantial" evidence.
In other words, in these cases it is up to the prosecutors to show through a set of circumstances that their theory of what took place is the only logical deduction -- that the circumstances can be explained by no other theory.
Conversely, in circumstantial evidence cases, it is the job of the defense to show that the same circumstances could be explained by an alternative theory. In order to avoid a conviction, all a defense attorney has to do is put enough doubt into one juror's mind that the prosecution's explanation of the circumstances is flawed.
No Direct Evidence in Peterson Case
In the Scott Peterson trial, there is very little, if any, direct evidence connecting Peterson to the murder of his wife and unborn child. Therefore, the prosecution is attempting to show that the circumstances surrounding her death and the disposal of her body can be linked to only her husband.
I think the prosecutor made a mistake in going for the death penalty--life in prison without parole would have been sufficient for the two top charges. Aggravated child abuse, under Florida law, becomes felony murder if the child dies as the result of such abuse, and while that is first degree murder, and, therefore, eligible for the death penalty, that potential maximum penalty seems to have worked against obtaining any conviction, even on a lesser included charge, because it seemed to alter juror's expectations of the evidence and even their understanding of reasonable doubt. The jurors seemed to have expected absolute, incontrovertible proof of the defendant's guilt beyond any doubt
--rather than simply expecting clear and compelling and convincing evidence that pointed only to the defendant as being responsible for her child's death.
One reason the state might have stuck with this as a death penalty case was to try to force a confession out of Casey Anthony--these charges were lodged even before the child's body was found. Everyone knew she was involved in her child's death, but they didn't know what she had done with the body. And her lying about the whereabouts of her child's body helped to destroy the direct evidence which might have been present had the remains been found sooner. So, she was also responsible for helping to destroy that evidence.
The prosecution presented clear, compelling evidence of a death by homicide while this child was in her mother's care. There is no other logical explanation for the several pieces of duct tape found on the child's skull in the area of the nose and mouth--duct tape would not be found on the skull of a child who died by accidental drowning or by any other accidental cause. The duct tape held the mandible in place under the skull, despite the decomposition of the supporting tissues. The duct tape points to asphyxiation as the cause of death, possibly in conjunction with chloroform. In addition, items found with the skeletal remains came from within the Anthony home--the child's blanket and a laundry bag. The child's decomposing body was transported in a car used only by her mother, and the odor of decomposition was reported by several people who rode in the car as well as by prosecution experts. The child was last seen alive in the presence of her mother, and for the next 31 days no one saw the child and Casey Anthony made up lies to explain the child's absence. During this time the defendant maintained an active social life, and went out partying, despite knowing that her child was dead. Three days after the child was last seen, Casey Anthony tried to borrow a shovel from a neighbor. Even after the police were notified that the child was missing, Casey Anthony continued to lie about what had happened to her child.
The defense alternate version of events--given in opening argument--that the child drowned in the family pool and that George Anthony helped his daughter cover this death up--because this was allegedly a dysfunctional family with incest among its dark secrets--not only makes little logical sense, it was supported by no
evidence presented during the trial by the defense.
If these jurors thought that Casey Anthony was involved in causing the death of her child, they should not have acquitted her of all charges in that regard--there were enough lesser included charges, including aggravated manslaughter of a child, on which she could have been found guilty, based on the evidence presented at trial, even if the death was unintentional.
Florida’s Standard Jury Instruction in Criminal Cases defines reasonable doubt as follows:
A reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt, a speculative, imaginary or forced doubt. Such a doubt must not influence you to return a verdict of not guilty if you have an abiding conviction of guilt.
On the other hand, if, after carefully considering, comparing and weighing all the evidence, there is not an abiding conviction of guilt, or, if, having a conviction, it is one which is not stable but one which wavers and vacillates, then the charge is not proved beyond every reasonable doubt and you must find the defendant not guilty because the doubt is reasonable.
It is to the evidence introduced in this trial and to it alone, that you are to look for that proof.
A reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant may arise from the evidence, conflict in the evidence, or the lack of evidence.
I watched large portions of the trial and I found the evidence more than sufficient to convict Casey Anthony of either aggravated manslaughter of a child or aggravated child abuse, beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence, which supported a death by homicide, pointed directly to Casey Anthony as the only person with motive and opportunity to kill this child, whether accidentally (by chloroform used to sedate the child) or intentionally (with duct tape and chloroform), and with motive to then lie about the child's whereabouts before she finally disposed of the body.
I don't know how typical juror #3 was in her thinking, but if it was true that other jurors were "sick to their stomachs" over the not guilty verdicts they did render, then something was very wrong in that jury room because they were apparently concerned about letting a murder walk free, and perhaps they should have spent more time discussing the evidence against Anthony before letting her walk. Juror #3 felt there was no cause of death, no exact time or place of death, and no clear motive. Actually, none of those elements are necessary to prove that a homicide took place or who was responsible. The duct tape alone is evidence of homicide, the cover-up of the child's whereabouts is evidence of awareness of guilt on Casey Anthony's part--the presence of chloroform in the trunk of the car is evidence of at least child abuse--and Casey Anthony had motive to want this child out of her life, and/or to vindictively keep her parents from obtaining custody of her child. When the prosecution asked, at the end of the trial, "Who benefited from Caylee Anthony's death?" and showed photos of Casey Anthony out partying immediately after her daughter's death, it registered loud and clear, and the answer was obvious.
While I don't agree with the jury's verdict, their verdict is the final word regarding Casey Anthony's criminal responsibility. They shouldn't be the target of any public anger. I felt shock when the verdicts were read, but no anger toward the jury.
And the amount of public hostility and rage directed at Casey Anthony is also frightening. She has been acquitted, and a lynch mob mentality should not be allowed to flourish or be supported by the media. Let her disappear. Let her not benefit from this tragedy--don't buy any books she might write, don't pay her for interviews and movie deals or to boost TV ratings---she is such a liar that you can believe nothing of what she says, so why pay her to say it, or to be able to read it? Let her pay the costs of the investigation to find her "missing" child--the child she knew all along was dead.
I suspect they will secretly release her from jail, for her safety, and whisk her away somewhere. She has to live with the consequences of her behavior, and those consequences are not going to be pleasant, and everyone will have to settle for that as her punishment.