Anthony to face court of public opinion!

22-year-old Orlando resident Casey Anthony: Last week she was declared not guilty of murdering her two-year-old daughter Caylee—much to her country's chagrin.

It is old news that last Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. a jury of her peers declared Casey Anthony not guilty of the first-degree murder of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. But if the verdict itself is, as I say, yesterday’s news, the fallout continues unabated: several TV panels are seeking to uncover “what went wrong,” placard-pumping protesters perform daily for the cameras outside the Orlando courthouse where the trial was held, and Casey’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony, witnesses for both the prosecution and the defense, continue to receive death threats from nut cases near and far. Meanwhile, a USA Today/Gallup poll reveals that nearly two-thirds of Americans polled think Casey killed Caylee—hardly surprising, considering most of what they know of the case was fed them via the tube.
Jury members have also been explaining to the nation’s leading talking heads their shocking verdict. Jennifer Ford, for one, told ABC News she and her fellow jurors “cried and were sick to their stomachs after voting to acquit Casey Anthony of the charges.”
But Ford’s line that stuck with me was: “I did not say she was innocent. I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be.” Ford agreed Casey Anthony was “a pathological liar” but acknowledged “bad behavior is not enough to prove a crime.”
Cooler heads have also been pointing out that “standards of evidence are so stringent in our legal system because the stakes are so high: depriving a person of his liberty or even his life.”            Then there are the purists—and you may count me among them—who insist it is better that ten guilty men be set free than that one innocent person be wrongly executed.”
Sadly, too often the especially lucky guilty will, the moment they are set free, mount their soapboxes to gloat and otherwise insult the affronted public that has been denied justice.
Consider the case of O.J. Simpson. He all but spat in the face of the system that initially declared him not guilty of the first-degree murders of his wife and her male friend, thumbed his nose at their grieving relatives even after a civil court had convicted him, and wrote a book entitled If I Did It—the closest thing to a public confession. In O.J.’s case, however, the gods caught up with him (or was it the devil taking his due?): he is currently in prison serving what amounts at his age to a life sentence for, of all things, demanding at gunpoint the return of paraphernalia from his glory days as a legendary football superstar!
As for Casey Anthony, she is scheduled for release on Sunday. And while she stands to earn a fortune from TV appearances, movies, magazine articles and books (doubtless Playboy and Hustler will also offer their own rewards!), her immediate future couldn’t be more precarious. The popular word is that she is America’s current Most Hated Person and may be forced to postpone public appearances until someone else replaces her as the Witch of the Day. Still she can count herself lucky she was not accused of murdering her own daughter here on the Rock of Sages, where we tend not to appreciate the difference between an arrest and actual proof of guilt. She would certainly have been denied the services of a 16-member team of lawyers and assistants as was placed by the state of Florida at her disposal—and who throughout the trial and immediately following the verdict demonstrated their conviction that the charges—never mind the generated contrary national atmosphere—could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and she should therefore be set free.
On the other hand, Saint Lucia is not without its own peculiar perks. Where else but on our Rock of Sages could a prime minister place at the disposal of a dubious foreign company the whole of his nation’s seabed and ten years later arrogantly refuse to account for the secret transaction? Where else would a prime minister have the gall to appeal to the courts for an eve-of-elections injunction against any public discussion of the disturbing episode? Where else would a leader publicly exposed as egregiously mismanaging the business of his people adamantly insist that no one else in all the land is better suited to lead them? But then, I suppose it all goes back to the stringent standards of evidence also demanded by our own justice system, which too often leaves some of us free to declare ourselves exonerated despite the contrary verdict of the court of public opinion!

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