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The Not So Obvious Lessons From The Casey Anthony Trial Some things to think about.
Psychology Today ^ | 7-13-11 | Joe Navarro

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.

CSI Effect

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.

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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.

Jury Selection

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

KEYWORDS: caseyanthony; csieffect; juryconsultants; juryselection
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Joe Navarro: An ex-FBI agent on deception, espionage, interrogation, and reading people.

For those of you who think this verdict was just, please read and also take into account the "nutty" comments mades by the jurors after the fact...

1 posted on 07/17/2011 1:14:23 PM PDT by Anti-Hillary
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To: Anti-Hillary
Whatever. I don't follow "True Crime Stories" but I saw enough of this one to know the prosecutors screwed it up. That and yes, the "CSI effect" is real. Just think, justice is in the hands of a bunch of your nitwit neighbors who think that Hollywood TV crap is how it really is.
2 posted on 07/17/2011 1:19:09 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Anti-Hillary

If I was going to write a book on these jurors, I’d entitle it “11 Airheads and a Plant”.

3 posted on 07/17/2011 1:21:09 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Anti-Hillary

Excellent. Just finding it a little off PSYCHOLOGY TODAY’s usual schtick. But what’s no-so-obvious?

4 posted on 07/17/2011 1:26:37 PM PDT by Mach9
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To: Anti-Hillary

She could have been filmed in the act and given a confession in court and the jury could have found her innocent if they chose to do so.

It ain’t pretty but its a simple fact.

5 posted on 07/17/2011 1:30:48 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Anti-Hillary

But of course, we are still a Nation of Laws.

6 posted on 07/17/2011 1:36:35 PM PDT by I am Richard Brandon
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To: cripplecreek

Yup. Jury nullification. This verdict was a “ mom’s just wanna have fun” decision.

7 posted on 07/17/2011 1:41:18 PM PDT by samtheman
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To: Anti-Hillary

The lesson from this trial is that juries can overlook the media hyped public opinion polls and still reach a verdict on the evidence, or lack thereof.

8 posted on 07/17/2011 1:50:27 PM PDT by CharlesOK
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To: Sacajaweau

The few jurors that spoke out AFTER (one with his back to the camera with Greta—the rest in hiding) were oblivious to the fact that they were mega-airheads. Every word they uttered was proof-positive that they screwed-up bigtime.

Greta could barely disguise her disgust listening to the simpleton jury foreman. They were nonchalant about a mother who failed to report her daughter missing for 31 days. Nonchalant that Casey was out partying and getting tattooed while her child was missing. No decent mother acts like that.

No proof connecting Casey to the crime, they said. Balderdash. The little girl did not do this to herself.

The prosecution had plenty of evidence: (1) a dead little girl (2) duct tape on her face (3) ditched not far from the Anthony house. There was more than enough evidence for conviction.

The jurors KNEW Casey was a liar and convicted her on four counts of lying. That meant everything she said was in dispute.....not just the four times.....not just the nanny lie.

Casey is not a nice person. We now we learn more about Casey...that she committed bank fraud.....and God knows what else.

9 posted on 07/17/2011 1:51:53 PM PDT by Liz ( A taxpayer voting for Obama is like a chicken voting for Col Sanders.)
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To: samtheman

I know in my gut that she’s guilty but its a bad side effect of the best possible option. In at least one case a jury found Jack Kevorkian innocent despite the fact that he readily admitted guilt.

During the civil rights era, juries were refusing to convict obviously guilty men. In all their wisdom the feds used those as a means of convincing Americans to allow them to create a new class of crime and retry those men in federal courts in venues where convictions were likely.

Here we are 50 years later with a growing list of hate crime laws.

10 posted on 07/17/2011 1:58:36 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: CharlesOK
Not really; a murderer got off and it's clear that the jury was a basket of imbeciles.

Our justice system is a wreck.

11 posted on 07/17/2011 2:00:39 PM PDT by Chainmail
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To: Anti-Hillary
Those jurors were preferred by the defense team for a reason and they performed as expected.

In other words, they had the IQs of dry ice.

12 posted on 07/17/2011 2:06:59 PM PDT by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: Anti-Hillary

Ever hear an LEO say “We need less funding, weaker laws, and nicer judges?” No, be they from Los Angeles to Moscow, police invariably say that they need “more money, stiffer laws, and tougher judges.” For this is their point of view.

But if you are on the other side of the fence, public and private defenders, a very different viewpoint emerges.

Police who form opinions as quick as anyone else, then become emotionally invested in them, especially if they are wrong. Officers who lack objectivity, see only what they want to see with scant evidence, and who have learned to use “pat” testimony in court, even though untrue, to help a conviction they think is warranted.

They can also point to huge differences among prosecutors. Some who lead grand juries around by the nose to indict whoever they want. Some who will railroad an accused person over something petty, while another will just blow it off as nothing. And how in many cases, prosecutors are replaced, sometimes more than once, changing the rules of the trial before it has even begun.

They also see that “expert witnesses” for both sides are often as not just “hired guns”, who will testify to whatever they are paid to testify.

And both prosecutor and defense counsel very actively try to load the jury with people of low intelligence, more impressed with emotional argument than facts. It has been proven that juries will acquit guilty people who are attractive, and convict ugly people who are clearly innocent.

And a jury can turn on a dime because of a unintentional facial expression by the defendant. Which is why many defense counsels arrange for defendants to be given tranquilizers before the trial, so they just sit there with a blank, but attentive expression on their face.

On top of it all, judges can be utterly predictable or unpredictable. In practice, they are much like referees, and you know how often fans who can see exactly the same play truly believe the referee messed up.

The bottom line is that even if everyone plays by the rules, and are fair and objective, it is often very hard to convict someone of a crime, because there is just nowhere near the amount of evidence that is needed for a reasonable conviction. And no matter what perspective you use, if a conviction happens in such cases, it is only because something or things went very wrong. Even if the person is as guilty as sin, unless things went by the rules, injustice has happened.

Justice is found in the process, not the result.

13 posted on 07/17/2011 2:11:37 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Anti-Hillary

for later

14 posted on 07/17/2011 2:15:18 PM PDT by Mare (Hey Barack America is Baroke!)
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To: Liz

The prosecution proved that Casey Anthony was a bad mother and a whore, but that doens’t prove that she’s a murderess. Perhaps the prosecution spent too much time proving Casey’s bad character and not enough connecting the dots. They claimed that she killed her daughter so that she could be a party girl. But she was already partying it up while Caylee was still alive, she didn’t have to commit murder to do that. The worst thing that could happen would be to convict a person of a crime he or she didn’t commit, even if the defendant is scum.

15 posted on 07/17/2011 2:19:18 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (Illegal aliens collect welfare checks that Americans won't collect)
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To: Chainmail

But who is the murderer? What evidence was there that showed WHO the murderer is?

I do believe Casey is probably guilty, BUT we are a nation of laws and you can’t find someone guilty of murder just because you think they did it. It has to be proven and the prosecution could not do that.

16 posted on 07/17/2011 2:25:09 PM PDT by CharlesOK
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To: Anti-Hillary

She would have been better off to cry for the tv cameras a la Susan Smith so no one would suspect her.

17 posted on 07/17/2011 2:27:32 PM PDT by Spirit of Liberty
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To: Spirit of Liberty

That strategy didn’t work very well for Susan Smith.

18 posted on 07/17/2011 2:49:54 PM PDT by Huntress ("Politicians exploit economic illiteracy." --Walter Williams)
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To: Liz
If there is any "lesson" from this trial is that all a defense lawyer has to do to get his "client" off is to drag the trial out long enough to exceed the jury's "time tolerance".

These people had listened to all the perverted shit "evidence" for weeks....cooped up with each other...probably getting more annoyed by the day, and some even coming to hate some of their "fellow jurors"

...all they wanted to do was go home.

If you listened to the "foreman" he admitted that he was getting concerned about the welfare of his dogs. order to avoid having to go thru the "evidence" again, and to get away from each was determined that the easiest way to do this was simply let Casey go...

...and that's what they did.

19 posted on 07/17/2011 2:57:42 PM PDT by B.O. Plenty (Give war a chance...)
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To: CharlesOK

“But who is the murderer? What evidence was there that showed WHO the murderer is?”

A little tired of hearing this........who was responsible for the life and safety of any two year old child? Who spent months covering up the child’s whereabouts? Who created a ficticious scenario as to the kidnapper? Who did not report the child missing? The same person who double bagged her and left her body in a swamp.

20 posted on 07/17/2011 3:04:44 PM PDT by Toespi
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