In the aftermath of the dramatic reading of Casey Anthony's murder trial verdict, everyone seems to want a say in whether or not the jury made the right choice. Trial goers in Florida spoke to reporters outside the courthouse about their anger at the "not guilty" verdict, and others trusted the jury’s judgment, pointing out that the nation’s law requires the prosecution to prove a charge beyond reasonable doubt.
Many people following the trial were surprised by the straight-out acquittal on the murder and child abuse charges, assuming that Anthony would have at least been found guilty of a lesser charge in connection with her 2-year-old daughter Caylee’s death, rather than only a few misdemeanors for lying to police. Details of jury deliberations have begun to leak out, and an alternate juror told NBC’s Today show prosecutors “didn't present the evidence that would have sustained either a murder charge or a manslaughter charge,” he said, adding that a motive wasn't clear. “Just because Casey was a party girl did not show why she would … kill Caylee.”
U.S. News blogger Leslie Marshall, who believes Anthony is guilty of murder, thought the verdict was outrageous. “What message does this send to all the young girls who might have gotten pregnant before they wanted to and feel burdened by a baby when they’d rather get tattoos, party like rock stars, and sleep around?” she writes. “Will they think, hey, if I have a baby and kill it, I won’t go to jail, I’ll be on television(!!!), all eyes will be on me, I’ll get a book deal.”
But fellow U.S. News blogger Susan Milligan thinks such judgment by people who were not on the jury creates a mob bloodlust that, she says, thankfully did not infect the jury’s deliberations. “A guilty verdict also would have satisfied the mentality of those used to television crime-and-prosecution dramas, where the bad mother is made to pay, perhaps with her life, for her crimes, and the innocent little girl is given some justice,” Milligan writes. “But the fundamentals of our criminal justice system dictate that the case be evaluated on the facts, and not the emotions of an angry mob whose members were not in the courtroom every day or bound by rules of evidence.”
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