The Measure of Madness

Inside the criminal mind

Casey Anthony Is Found Not Guilty Of Killing Her Daughter

Many find the Casey Anthony trial verdict shocking

The verdict is in and the blaming begins. This afternoon Casey Anthony was found not guilty of killing her daughter Caylee. I watched her as she heard the jury foreperson read out the verdict. Perhaps I should have turned off the television at that point. I didn't and immediately began to hear the commentators angrily discuss the jury's findings. Some were so enraged that they seemed to be almost ranting about the verdict. I wondered whether their outrage was partially fueled by the fact that their predictions had not come true.

The trial was televised. Throughout every day of the trial the commentators freely offered their opinions about the defendant, the Anthony family, the scientific experts and the attorneys. Most, if not all, judged the evidence against Ms. Anthony as strong and convincing. Most predicted that she would be found guilty. But ultimately, they were not the ones to judge. Although the jury was sequestered, I was concerned that the opinions of the press might be "leaked" to the jurors and affect their deliberations.

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Apparently, this did not occur. The jurors deliberated for approximately ten hours and voted unanimously that Casey Anthony was not guilty of murder, aggravated child abuse or aggravated manslaughter of a child. They did find her guilty of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.

I heard commentators describe the verdict as "shocking." My response - really? I always thought there was a chance Casey Anthony would not be convicted. I viewed the case as a difficult one for the prosecution since the experts were unable to definitively conclude how the child died.

Since the verdict was announced this afternoon, many T.V commentators have criticized the jurors, the attorneys, and the Anthony family. One described the jurors as "programmed." Another stated that they "tossed out" their common sense. Perhaps the strangest comment I heard was when one individual say that the job of the defense attorney was to convince his client to confess because it was the "right" thing to do.

Many people remain convinced that Casey Anthony is guilty of killing her daughter. The jurors, however, were not certain beyond a reasonable doubt. What I am certain about, however, is that this tragedy is not over for the Anthony family. There will always be a cloud of suspicion over Casey Anthony. In terms of Cindy Anthony, her mother, many people question whether her testimony was truthful. Some question whether she lied in order to save her daughter from the death penalty. I heard one commentator suggest that she should be brought up on perjury charges.

Casey Anthony will be sentenced on Thursday. She was convicted of misdemeanor offenses and could be released with time served. I've heard some commentators angrily report that she could "walk." This case will never be over for her or her family. If Casey Anthony does get released, would she then return to live with her parents? I can't imagine what that homecoming would be like.

 

Cheryl Paradis, Psy.D., is an associate professor of psychology at Marymount Manhattan College.

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