Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Casey Anthony Trial

I've watched recent coverage of this case. I don't have any connection to it, but how can anyone look at pictures of such an adorable toddler and not feel in some way affected.

I have a history of obsessing on true crime. My parents have asked me not to obsess on this case. I'm trying not to. My fellow loony bin inmates and I have been watching the coverage. We have wildly differeing opinions.

My gut feeling was that Casey chloroformed the child and placed her in the trunk of a car so that little Caylee would sleep undetected while Casey partied.Then something went very wrong. Either too much chloroform was administered, or the child suffocated in the trunk.

On the other hand, I do have a conflict with my hypothesis (which, of course, is not mine alone, and I make no claim to have come up with it) and with Casey Anthony's behavior in the days and weeks that followed. It's hard to imagine a remotely normal parent continuing to party following the accidental death of her child. For that matter, it's even difficult to fathom a parent who killed her child deliberately behaving in such a manner after the death, or even faking her normal life so well.

Most difficult of all to conceive, though, is a parent behaving normally while a nanny named Zanny had her child and was refusing to bring her back. How would it be possible to participate in a wet T-shirt contest while one's child was under the control of a person who refused to return her? This causes me to think back to the Klass family, the Smart family, and the Sund/Carrington families. Perhaps Casey was such a totally different person than members of the other families I mentioned that attempting a comparison is like comparing apples to cat poop.

For the record, I don't believe any of the Casey's allegations of abuse by members of her family. I'm far from an expert, but I have a cousin of a cousin who was sexually abused by an uncle. The sexually abused child eventually made the allegations. Charges were pressed, and the perpetrator pled guiltty to a lesser offense. The victim is now a young mother. She won't allow her child to be in the same room with her molestor, much less leave the child in his care. Why would Casey Anthony leave her child in the care of her parents, while her brother would have access to the child, if she had ever been molested by either her father or her brother? I find that incomprehensible.

My mother works in the field of education, and she says that in cases such as this one, if school personnel could talk about what they know and what they experienced with a defendant while he or she was progressing through a school system, a great deal could usually be explained. She said the same thing about Scott Peterson case. My mom and her collegues say a case like this usually has roots in a student with chronic behavior problems whose parents usually fought the school system and insisted upon the child's innocence in the face of the most compelling evidence rather than working with the school personnel in addressing the problems. It doesn't matter, because school personnel are bound by laws of confidentiality.

Nonetheless, I feel for Casey Anthony's grandparents. They seem to be genuine people, and their grief seems real.

My mom has been involved on a volunteer basis with jury consultation in a high profile trial. Her work was on the side of the prosecution, who lacked the funds to which the defense had accesss in the particular case with which she was involved. My mom said that in a case such as this one, the defense team's strategy is typically to seat as many jurors of sub-average intelligence as possible, particularly if the person or persons is/are assertive.(An easily swayed non-rocket-scientist juror is of limited value.) My mother says the less intelligent jurors are more likely to fall for smokescreens such as accusations brought up in opening arguments that are never substantiated, or in some cases even again addressed. Of course each side has only so many peremptory challenges (it varies by case) so no side can rid itself of all jurors it finds unfavorable to its case without cause, but it takes but one such juror to hang a jury and force a mistrial.

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