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The Anthony trial - Orange County, Florida. Thoughts on conclusion

Over the past few weeks, the Casey Anthony trial has been underway in Orange Counry, Florida. Casey, now aged 25, was on trial for the first degree murder of her daughter, who was 2 years old when she died 3 years ago, and for two alternative lesser charges on the death (a lesser murder charge, and manslaughter), and four charges of failing to assist the police with their enquiries. The trial has been televised live throughout, with thousands then tens of thousands commenting via online blogs, and experts giving their opinion all the way through. Much to the surprise of most (if not all) of the pundits, the finding was "not guilty" on all three major charges ... and also to the pundit's surprise, not one member of the jury agreed to come out to a press conference afterwards to give an insight into the verdict and how it was reached, as is allowed for in Florida. The main defence council - who had been villified throughout the trial ("why did she choose him", "he's looing her the case") did speak to the press with his team - and showed himself to be very much deserving of the respect that he had been almost universally denied. He - uniquely - shone.

So - what had happened to Caylee Anthony - the daughter killed, and of whom we have seen pictures? We don't know ... and the hawks are saying "justice has not been done for her". It's very likely that some of the Anthony family (Casey, and perhaps others) were indeed involved in the death - but their various stories didn't add up, didn't match with other evidence, and indeed didn't match with themselves from one version to the next. Whether the death was premeditated, irresponsibility, or a dreadful accident we don't know. And whether the cover up and lies to the police were to hide a crime, to hide a punishment that went out of control, to hide a pure accident, or just becuse that's how the formerly-accused and family are, we don't know. And perhaps we never will.

Unless we see another, and astonishing, turn of events, we'll never see "justice being done for Caylee". And we really can't even say that the Anthony familiy will have learned their lesson and that the process and trial has been a punishment in kind for them. For some, I'm sure it has ... others seem to react in odd ways to amazingcircumstances, and I'm not going to second guess. But I can say that I'm relieved that we've not seen a person sentenced to death, nor to rot in prison for the whole prime of her life, based on a case which (from the times I watched) had holes in it; perhaps the jury agreed with that?

The case - bizarely played out - is however a triumph for the justice system, for the need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt before taking draconian action, and for the jury system. And perhaps the bizarness and the wall to wall media has its place too - for it educates the rest of us into this system, how it works, and how it should be supported and defended. Putting aside the detail of the case for just a moment, we're now better informed. And information is strength is we can accept that at times there are no neat answers, no "eye for an eye", and we should remember Caylee, but move on.
(written 2011-07-06)

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