Skip to comments.The Not So Obvious Lessons From The Casey Anthony Trial Some things to think about.
Posted on 07/17/2011 1:14:20 PM PDT by Anti-Hillary
Enough articles have been written criticizing the result of the Casey Anthony case. I am not here to do that. While cases such as this can be polarizing, they can also be instructive. After following the case, here are some things I thought stood out as significant, but perhaps were not so obvious.
For a long time now, we in the law enforcement professions have noted and at times feared, what has come to be known as the CSI Effect. What is this? The false expectation that, as in the television series, conclusive and irrefutable evidence will always be found at the crime scene. If life were only so.
As many of my colleagues know, rare is the crime scene where there is a lot of incriminating evidence. Unfortunately, criminals don't roll their fingerprints on surfaces leaving perfect prints - usually all we find are smudges. Many criminals know that bleach destroys DNA evidence as does high humidity and swamp-like conditions. Some rapists now carry prophylactics with them or make victims shower before they leave. Nevertheless, jurors, having witnessed hundreds of hours of CSI type shows, fully expect the evidence to be overwhelming when most cases tried today are in fact circumstantial.
O.J. Revisited: Those Who Don't Learn From the Past Are Doomed to Repeat It O.J. Revisited: Will the Casey Anthony Jury Acquit If They Can't Make It Fit? Did Casey Kill Caylee? How Forensic Psychology Can Help Humanize Evil Deeds Jury Gullibility in Orlando Consequential Conversations, Part III
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By being over reliant on forensic evidence, jurors erroneously reject other kinds of information which should be considered. For instance, in America, the people who most often hurt children are the parents or care givers; similarly spouses or former relations are usually responsible for adult deaths at home. So we don't have to look far. And in these cases, DNA is not an issue because these individuals have, or have had legitimate access to the victim so, unless they cut themselves while committing the crime, DNA is irrelevant. Also, keep in mind that there are many ways to kill without leaving any kind of DNA evidence, especially where the victim is small or can't resist.
When jurors expect forensic evidence to be decisive we find that they become intellectually lazy. Rather than engage the problem for hours by looking at what they have, it is easier for them to say, "We wanted more." In most cases there is enough there, it just has to be worked intellectually. Justice requires that no stone be left unturned, that jurors analyze every fact assiduously. It is intellectual laziness to say there wasn't enough.
In most criminal cases in America there is no need for jury consultants. However, there is a reason why they exist and it is primarily to assist the defense pick the jury that will best help the defense, not jurisprudence. I will repeat: that will best help the defense, not jurisprudence. What this means is that jury consultants (mostly hired by the defense) are there to "game" the system in one direction.
What kind of jurors do jury consultants and thus defense attorneys prefer in homicide cases? Perhaps better not to offend by looking instead at who usually doesn't get selected: College graduates especially those with graduate degrees. The more years you were in college the lower the chance a jury consultant wants you for that jury. Firemen are out as are police officers. They prefer to keep Republicans out and members of the NRA. If you own or have owned several successful companies you won't be selected. If you have a job where you manage a lot of people and need to make difficult decisions everyday, they don't want you and the same goes for human resource officers for large firms.
If you read Scientific American, Nature, Science, The Economist, or International Affairs, you need not worry. I could go on and on. One could argue, perhaps they just don't want to burden these already busy folks? Interesting argument - but it is vacuous. For in fact, as you read the qualities of those that defense wants off the jury, we get a sense for the kinds of folks whom they prefer.
One more thing and this is important, jury consultants don't want leaders on that jury. The Casey Anthony case is just such an example. In this case, the jury was selected from Pinellas County, rather than Orange County (where the trial took place), in order to pick a more unbiased jury. Pinellas County arguably has one of the largest concentrations of retired professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants, military officers) in the country and yet none made the jury.
You never hear of a Captain or a Major or a Colonel (even retirees) serving on a jury where a jury consultant is involved - especially in homicide cases. Here are people accustomed to making command decisions, who know how to think quickly and decisively, but they are weeded out. Why? For the very traits that make them special: they have high situational awareness, they can think and size up individuals quickly, and they know how to lead. Which is why, in the OJ Simpson case, one of the jury voir dire questions was: "Do you seek out positions of leadership? (Please check answer) Always? Often? Seldom? Never?" Incidentally, those who have served as officers most likely also know the distinctive odor of decomposing bodies and how it is different from mere garbage.
Getting back to those they don't like. If you are in a job where you are used to doing high-level cognitive tasks, where decisions require intellectual rigor, they don't want you either. They don't want people who are willing to work hard to connect the dots. Also if you are an independent thinker, no need to worry - people who prefer consensus and harmony will more likely be selected. Obviously no defense attorney or jury consultant is going to get exactly what they want, but they will try. And of course, it only takes on juror to derail a conviction.
It is said that in the Casey Anthony case we should not blame the jurors. I agree - we shouldn't. That is like buying lemmings as pets and then being surprised when they act lemming like. Those jurors were preferred by the defense team for a reason and they performed as expected
Exactly. To keep people from questioning what is actually going on with her.
Lawyers and judges have a tendency to think of themselves as the smartest people in the room, and this bias shows in jury selection
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So, is that why I made the defense atty cry that one time? He realized he may not have been the smartest person there?
It is a good concern to have. The longer I work with hubby, the more dismayed I am at our system as it is. But it is still the best there is, even if it doesn’t always work.
That is one heck of a post and I applaud you for it!
You said it!!!! AMEN and AMEN!!!!
I’m shocked that juries are allowed to be asked questions such as are you a Republican? A member of the NRA, etc.
I served on jury duty between 1972 - 1992 (3 times). We were never asked these type of questions. Last time I served, we had a lawyer as a fellow juror and he helped us negotiate the differences of opinion among the jurors.
On some tv program, I heard it said that Baez would joke with the jurors in the morning and that they enjoyed it. Somehow I can’t see Linda Drane-Burdock or Ashton doing that. I wonder if this had some effect on the jury.
BTW, why do we have all these new people coming on talking about the Casey Anthony case? And all believe she is either innocent or that the verdict was just. Not only that, they are sending private messages to some of us (just got another one this morning). I think Mason “Boss Hogg” Cheney is behind this, lol!
Welcome to FR.
I agree with your comments. Totally drives me crazy that so many people (including FReepers who are presumed to be level-headed) are acting like completely emotionally driven liberals on this issue.
No evidence that links Casey to the death of her daughter. Lots of character assassination evidence that she liked to party, but none of that had anything to do with PROVING she was involved in Caylee’s death.
I was surprised that there was little attention given to the assertion of sexual abuse of Casey by George and brother Lee. Notice that the name Caylee is a combination of Casey + Lee. ...Recall how upset Lee was because he wasn’t told about the pregnancy until it was showing and that he wasn’t allowed to be at the hospital when Caylee was born? ........Lee Anthony needs to be more closely investigated, IMO.
I agree the system may be the best there is but it certainly needs some revisions. It would be interesting to know ‘when’ exactly attorneys were given the power to select jurors....also ‘when’ did that selection process slide into the dumpster, rather than selecting those who were competant to those who were not. And sense this seems to be known why haven’t those in the system made an effort to correct it? Course that would be like asking politicians to give up their golden parachutes.
I am still of the mindset that the courts today are not about finding the truth....the “win” is the focus. So the attorneys take center stage rather than the accused...it’s all about them...rather than justice.
Years ago a well respected Judge in my hometown stepped down because he saw that attorneys no longer were interested in discovering the truth..and the antics pulled by most disgusted him. So this has had to be going on for sometime.
There wasn't because the judge basically threw it out. There was no evidence of abuse. Baez presented none. They did test to see who the father was...and proven family memebers were not.
This acussation was simply pulling rabbits out of a the hat. Casey herself gave no evidence of being abused.
As for the trial evidence....obvious some haven't a clue how even circumstantial evidence is enough to convict. There was more than ample evidenc to convict Casey....
The problem was the inability and incompetance of jurors to do the task before them...we have learned such out of their own mouths.
“Theres ample evidence shes the worst mother in history, but none that shes a murderer.”
Ok, then just tell me why the worst mother in history created a scheme to cover up the death of her child?
I think this goes well beyond the Casey Anthony case. The absolutely horrifying thought is that if these people are representative of a lot of people, this country is truly doomed. I see people even on FR sticking up for the jury and for Casey Anthony. They try to wrap it in Constitutional trappings, ignoring the obvious: if these people could not even think well enough to realize the dots WERE, in fact, connected, they are too stupid to figure out what Obama and his minions in the RINO contingent are trying to do to this country. The jury found this monster not guilty; enough of a majority in this country (including many on FR) will most certainly find Obama et al fit to serve another term. This country cannot withstand another four years of this onslaught.
There was enough evidence. If anyone in the jury had listened to the closing arguments, the dots were connected perfectly. The thing is, they had to listen. And, they had to have enough of a brain to reason. I’m not sure either condition was fulfilled.
I think that point was brought up on one of the talking head shows. Someone on the show said they thought she might be on some sort of drug. But do remember that look of rage caught on camera—so if she was drugged, it kind of slipped at that point.
You see similarities to our current president; do you also see similarities between the dumbed down jury and the dumbed down voters? I do. Scares me spitless.
A lawyer in Houston, female, was interviewed and she said she was part of the team that selected the jury. She was pleased with the outcome of the trial and proud of her part. Had I been part of that team I would be embarrassed.
I guess I missed some of the threads—we’ve had a pretty busy weekend—so I wasn’t aware of the newbies. Thankfully, none of them thought it wise to freepmail me. ;)
I heard the same thing about Baez. It does seem evident that the jury liked him better than anyone on the prosecution side. They must have a real taste for sleaze. (Again, the comparison to US voters—suckers for the slick smile and patter.)
Obviously you haven’t followed the case closely, or you’d know that dna tests have already been made, and neither Lee nor George was the father of Caylee. Since you are so far off the mark on that little theory, it’s hard to take anything else you say on the topic seriously.
I was surprised that there was little attention given to the assertion of sexual abuse of Casey by George and brother Lee. Notice that the name Caylee is a combination of Casey + Lee. ...Recall how upset Lee was because he wasnt told about the pregnancy until it was showing and that he wasnt allowed to be at the hospital when Caylee was born? ........Lee Anthony needs to be more closely investigated, IMO.
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Didn’t watch the trial very closely, did you? That was all thrown out and your scenario is ridiculous. The brother was tested and found not to be the father.
Totally drives me crazy that so many people (including FReepers who are presumed to be level-headed) are acting like complete idiot liberals on this issue and believing the defense.
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