Jury relied on proof, not ‘knowing’
July 5, 2011
For reasons that will soon be obvious, I can’t tell you that I knew this was going to happen. But I had a pretty good idea.
The alert flashed around noon that the verdict on Casey Anthony was 15 minutes away. The next 15 minutes saw funny comments, boring comments and the most offensive comment of all — “We know she did it.”
About a quarter of an hour later, Anthony was acquitted of killing her child, and convicted of giving false information to authorities. Why, if only the jury read random Internet comments; after all, those people KNEW.
Nancy Grace seemed to know, and so did every “analyst” she had in tow. During what I could tolerate of her post-verdict analysis:
n Grace said the shame of the trial was that after serving her time for providing false information to police, she was going to be out on the street. Thank you for explaining the concept of a “not guilty” verdict.
n Analysts discussed the “Stockholm Syndrome,” where hostages (in this case, jurors) sympathize with their captors (in this case, a defendant captured them ...?). Analysts discussed the positioning of courtroom tables to inspire juror sympathy. Analysts did not discuss the possibility the prosecution brought an inadequate case.
n David “Dr. Drew” Pinsky said he hated it when defense teams celebrate a “not guilty” verdict. It was the most reasonable thing said, but even that had holes. People like to be vindicated, and it results in bouts of irrationality. If it didn’t, maybe we’d have a universal symbol to tell a fellow motorist, “Sorry, that was my fault,” in addition to the numerous ones that indicate, “Hey, that was your fault.”
n OK, so I saw this the day before, but Grace and others talked about, “The reason for all of this,” followed by videos of little Caylee Anthony. The world is a worse place for what did happen to this child, no argument.
But back to the comment, “We know she did it.” You didn’t know. I didn’t know. Nancy Grace didn’t know. The jury didn’t know.
Knowing is a dangerous thing. We knew the earth was the center of the universe. We knew the earth was flat and ended at the ocean. Time and time again, we know the problem is immigration, or people of a different faith, or people liking a different gender than we do. I wonder what we’ll know tomorrow.
We advanced when Galileo and others before him showed us proof. We advanced when Columbus and Magellan found there wasn’t a watery edge. We advance when we apply proof — that’s how juries operate.
And so it goes back to what celebrity is in rehab, or who got kicked off the newest reality show — you know, the things cable news says it wishes it didn’t have to cover — until we get the next “major case” coinciding with somebody being attractive.
I don’t know what will happen. But I’ve got a pretty good idea.