There are many messages communicated by the Casey Anthony trial and its outcome, but the most important one is that the hue and cry erupting from the acquittals reveals that the Framers’ notion that freedom would lie with civilian juries interposed between government and a person’s liberty is in peril. Convictions were intended to be few and far between and difficult to obtain, as evidenced from the presumption of innocence, with the burden of proof on the government, and with an accused’s entitlement to an acquittal if the government did not carry their burden beyond a reasonable doubt, while never an entitlement of government to receive a conviction even if there was enough evidence, and with a strict rule that none of the burden could be carried by compelling evidence from the lips of the defendant. The final protection of the populace is the power of the jury to disregard everything that the judge says about the law and to deem technically guilty people not guilty, a power that the courts vigorously and jealously refuse to tell the jury about, but one which preceded the very framing of the Constitution and still exists.
Juries were to be skeptical of government [and government includes judges!], and the default was to be with liberty. But in our growing “Sieg Heil!” society, where citizens and judges alike are increasingly groupies of cops and of The Man, we have turned on its head the greatest protection we all had against tyranny, that the default position in the Republic is with the individual and against government, with liberty and against power.
The outcome of this trial is precisely what it should have been, where the government concedes that it does not know the cause of death and that it cannot rule out accident. In retort by the reactionary mob, much is sought to be made of the fact that Anthony is a liar and of a suggestion she is a slut. Interesting thing about lying in the public sphere: cops, DAs, judges, criminalists and other experts, and politicians at all levels from president on down, can lie, and they do, with nary a downside, but if an accused is found to lie about stuff, that signals his or her death warrant. Wow, that’s a curious and dangerous coda. Yeah, yeah, she was a party girl too. Being a party girl and slut and liar does not add up to the requisite proof that she is a murderer, nowhere nearly. It shows she is a liar, and verdicts went against her on that score.
We know that something obviously happened to little Caylee, but what, and by whom, and exactly when we know not. And that is why a highly political DA’s office would try to highlight the claimed lowlifeness of the defendant, as a substitute for evidence. If you can stir up the passions and prejudices of the jury, even though you are ordered not to do so, then maybe they will be hoodwinked and infuriated into voting guilty, which happens more than people would want to know; it happens all the time, across this Fruited Plain.
Thank God! we had a jury that was not of the government groupie outlook on life, but one that instead displayed the “prove it; show me” animus that was intended to be part of the jury’s duty, but which is sorely missing these “law and order” days.
Being an armchair juror is kind of fun, because you see much more than the real jury sees, and you can bloviate and tisk-tisk endlessly, without having to concern yourselves with the downside of poor judgment. The jurors were told they had to have an abiding conviction of the truth of the charge, based on what they saw in the courtroom, or the defendant was entitled to an acquittal. And she got it.
Does this mean Casey is innocent? None of us is innocent. The criminal justice system does not deal with “innocence,” but rather either with the default and baseline of not guilty, or with the heavy-carried guilty. This is a case in which guilt was not sufficiently proven; it is not one in which innocence was at all proven. And that is the rule of the game, that is the law, a more powerful and fundamental rule and law than the definition and punishment for murder, so “law and order” types should celebrate, not berate.
Was Justice done? What is Justice? If its definition as a constitutional construct encompasses the notion that we all remain free unless or until the government proves properly and sufficiently to our peers that our freedom is not deserved, based on found facts, then Justice surely was done. If your definition of Justice is roughly that of the self-righteous inquisitors in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, maybe Justice was not done. Only your soul, or its absence, can define that for you.