This is part two in a three part series, written by poster Nancy Brenner…it is a must read! Thanks to Nancy for her knowledgable insights and for allowing me to share her thoughtful words. Linda Paris Admin karma4Caylee.
In our United States of America if you are accused of a crime and taken to court, you are told you have the Constitutional right to a trial by a jury of your peers. Yes, you would be tried by a jury of your peers, but what the Constitution actually says is this: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed. . .” (Amendment 6)
Note that nothing at all is said or implied about a jury of “peers.” The kind of “impartial” jury the Founding Fathers had in mind was to be judiciously selected from the better-informed, if not educated, and fair-minded members of the community, an English Common Law practice harking back to the 12th century. In modern-day America, that tradition has taken a different twist. Jurors selected for criminal trials nowadays are not just our peers in the common sense of the word, but also, by design, the most gullible, swayable, undiscerning, unintelligent jurors possible.
I’ve come to believe the jury in the Casey Anthony murder trial got sidetracked with Baez spin, ignored the law, lost sight of any and all justice, which was calculated and to be expected. Jurors are sought out, by the defense, as those unsure of their own reasoning skills so that they can be easily manipulated, convinced “lurid” demonstration of innocence includes the notion of “reasoned” innocence. In that respect, our justice system fails those on trial and all of us. Defense attorneys want jurors bereft of any skills of cognitive reasoning or logic, and in this case they got them. Never have a lawyer and client been better matched.
Unless we get back in line with the tradition of jury selection as understood by the Founding Fathers, travesties like the Casey Anthony, OJ Simpson, Al Capone and other hyped-up murder trials—the list is long—will continue to make a mockery of American criminal law.
When you have a system where a potential jurist can repeatedly admit during the jury selection process that her beliefs preclude her being able to judge another person and then she still ends up on the jury based on nothing but her race…this is what you get.
All of which confirm my thoughts that we need to begin a national dialogue about potential jury reforms that are reasonable and realistic.
Maybe future Florida juries need to pass tests proving proficiency in listening comprehension, deductive reasoning and common sense.
Beyond reasonable doubt is different from without a shadow of a doubt.
Reasonable doubt is the type of question that makes you wonder: “was Caylee murdered or was it an accident?”; “Was Casey involved in her daughter’s death or not at all?” “Was the murder premeditated or accidental?” There is no evidence for an accident so there is no reason to doubt that murder is a fact. Nobody doubts that Casey was involved in the murder.
To my way of thinking, working to improve the jury process is one positive step to reducing the probability that dysfunctional juries will make absurd decisions. This verdict acts to undermine our criminal justice system; when a verdict is not consistent with the facts presented during trial our criminal justice system suffers.
I personally am offended when a hollow platitude is offered, such as “this is the system we have and we must respect the juror’s decisions.”
I do not respect decisions that are arrived at with flawed logic, bias, and ignorance of the legal instructions.
To me, that indicates a system problem that can be explored and worked on.
The only thing this case clearly highlighted was how frighteningly lacking in intellectual rigor ordinary jurors are.
I would not trust Juror Ford to bring me coffee the way I like it or pass on a simple message word for word. She didn’t know her job and refused to do any thinking, assuming she was capable, which I seriously doubt. She absolved herself of doing her job and taking responsibility. Her understanding of her role was wrong and reasoning for her decision chaotic and incoherent.
Far from the system working it is inherently flawed.
All the noise about the media and what they and the public wanted is irrelevant. Getting it egregiously wrong doesn’t prove the system worked because that result is contrary to a seemingly berating and demanding public opinion and expectation of the opposite result. Time for professional jurors meeting a minimum high level of intellect and broad life experience relevant to the case?
Maybe a professional jury pool of trained and willing individuals who are paid a respectable daily rate for their work on a trial is the answer. I’ve heard others that believe the remedy is to place legally educated experts in the deliberation room to guide the jurors through any misunderstanding of the law or lack of comprehension of their responsibility. Another idea floated as a remedy involves interaction from the judge—after the jury reaches the verdict, the judge would meet with them to determine if they used proper criteria and objective reasoning to make their decision. If they have, the verdict is then announced in the courtroom. If not, they go back to work or the judge declares a mistrial.
The Anthony case shows that Americans are increasingly unable to form a rational inference. If facts A, B, C and E are known, fact “D” can often be inferred from the other facts. In the Anthony case, jurors abdicated their civic responsibility to come to a conclusion based on the evidence – confusing substituting “reasonable doubt” with a hypothetical exculpatory scenario the defense attorneys offered with absolutely zero supporting evidence. The jury spoke, and they said they just wanted to negotiate large fees for interviews and didn’t need any stinkin’ evidence; they were more than happy to go on vacation and free Casey to continue destroying anyone who gets near her. I believe that they may have calculated that if Casey had gotten a just sentence people would not be so outraged, the story would die and that would be that. However, if she were found not guilty and did no time it would be big news for years to come, just like OJ.
Who would benefit from that?
The media without question but also anyone who has an inside story to tell.
That could be Casey of course, but most know that would only be more lies. George, Cindy and Lee, who really knew more than they were telling, some dolts probably will find out now for a price.
But there are others that maybe no one would think about on the surface, who might have actually plotted their profits:
It would only take a couple of them to have discussed this in private, agreed to sway the rest without telling them why. They refused to talk as a group at the pre-arranged presser after their absurd verdict because they were “too upset.”
I’ve often wondered if one of them wasn’t contacted by the defense during the 3 days off that Judge Perry gave them prior to the trial beginning.
Most of us here have reviewed the forensic reports and other evidentiary documents at length. It was as if this jury based their conclusions solely on the testimony heard in the courtroom and did not consider the evidentiary value of the submitted materials.
It seemed as if they placed more value on the opening statements of the defense than they did on the scientific reports before them.
We did not base our conclusions on hyperbole or media frenzy.
We derived them from a thoughtful consideration of the evidence uncovered during the investigation and presented at trial.
We studied the evidence with far more interest and sense of responsibility than these jurors did.
One of the jurors said that they did not review any of the documents presented in evidence at the trial.
They didn’t seem to understand those reports were just as much part of the evidence as the testimony they heard.
During deliberations, they did not ask any questions of the judge nor did they request the read back of any testimony.
Jurors in the trial for Phoenix serial killer Dale Hausner took over 3 weeks to deliberate because they methodically went through the evidence and applied it to each charge. That’s what you want from a jury. Not vague and unexamined emotional reactions to personalities and speeches, which seems to have happened here.
The jury ignored the prosecution, as if they resented law enforcement & distrusted the state attorneys while they took as evidence Baez’s opening statement despite the fact it was not evidence.
Jury nullification in its finest.
That they were death penalty qualified is only one limited aspect – gets them into the big pool of possible candidates. During voir dire the defense sought to exclude people with college degrees, situational awareness, and etc. especially military personnel for a purpose. Pinellas County arguably has one of the largest concentrations of retired professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants, military officers) in the country and yet none made the jury.
If you read the voir dire questions they used and the peremptory dismissals (those kept out) you will see how the jury was stacked.
We got the 12 stupidest people in Florida for this jury.
These jurors revealed themselves via the media to be imbeciles – including the alternate juror. Reason to doubt is not the same as reasonable doubt and you don’t have to be free of all doubt to convict.
Why didn’t they go over the evidence from day one, why did the 2 jurors that were holding out for guilt cave?
How could they let her go free on an unproven theory?
Until jurors must sign that no profit will be made on their service stealth jurors will profit, some have already, getting attorneys and agents, that’s blood money.
Justice must never mirror Evil; Justice must always be a mirror for Evil so that all may see.
Devoid as these jurors were of common sense, incapable as they were of the slightest bit of reasoning I suppose that no alternative outcome was possible. Evidently, it never occurred to this uppity bunch–as they sat listening to several weeks’ worth of testimony–to ask themselves a few questions. Questions like:
Would it be more reasonable for a mother–or a murderer–to go out drinking and dancing with friends (at parties and nightclubs) when she believes her little girl has been kidnapped by the “nanny”?
Would it be more reasonable for a mother–or a murderer–to go on shopping sprees (with checks she stole from a friend) knowing full well she might never see her dear, sweet daughter alive again?
Would it be more reasonable for a mother–or a murderer–to enter a “hot body” contest while everyone else in her family is wondering why they haven’t seen her two-year-old daughter for weeks on end?
Would it be more reasonable for a mother–or a murderer–to relentlessly mislead (and withhold information from) the detectives who are trying to help her find her child?
Would it be more reasonable for a mother–or a murderer–to get a “Bella Vita” (Beautiful Life) tattoo just days after her child goes missing?
Would it be more reasonable for a mother–or a murderer–to wait 31 days to tell anyone (including her own mother) that her daughter has disappeared?
Would it be more reasonable for a mother–or a murderer–to suddenly change her story from “the nanny did it” to “the swimming pool did it, and my father covered it up”?
Would it be more reasonable for a mother–or a murderer–to drive around town, for two to four days, with her little girl’s decomposing body in the trunk of her car?
(Let’s not be stupid here: one trunk + the fetid stench of rotting flesh + the detection of remarkably high levels of an exceedingly toxic anesthetic + one missing little girl = one deceased missing little girl.)
Would it be more reasonable to believe a pathological liar when she tells you–via her defense attorney–that her father never even attempted to perform CPR or call 911 after he retrieved his granddaughter’s dead body from the pool?
Or would it be more reasonable to believe the pathological liar’s father–a former police officer–when he tells you he never heard anything about his granddaughter drowning until his daughter’s defense attorney introduced that preposterous idea on the first day of the trial?
Would it be more reasonable to believe a pathological liar when she tells you–via her defense attorney–that her father helped her dispose of his granddaughter’s lifeless body in a swampy, wooded area near his home? Or would it be more reasonable to believe what the pathological liar’s father said on the stand: 1) no drowning ever took place and 2) had a drowning taken place, he would have done anything he could to save his beloved granddaughter.
I could go on and on with similar questions…
but what would be the point?
Any fairly reasonable human being would doubtless have convicted CA of first-degree murder based upon fewer questions than the ones I just posed.
Indeed, take one or two–even three–out of the mix and you’ll still be left with a mother who ruthlessly took the life of her darling daughter.
One thing I cannot understand. The first vote this jury took was 10 to 2 for first degree, and 6-6 for manslaughter.
Within 8 hours they all went for innocent.
Seeing that I have been on jury’s twice in my life that is not the way a jury reacts. If two jurors thought first degree and 6 thought manslaughter you would think that this should have been a knock down, drag out deliberation. The ones who thought she was guilty should have asked the judge to send in the evidence that made them think she was guilty. Going over the evidence and arguing their point should have tied this jury up for at least 2 or 3 days. How is it possible that ONE single juror did not say to the others: “I am staying here until we completely go over all the evidence, testimony and judge’s charges. I will not decide on my verdict until I’m satisfied that I’ve reviewed everything.”
She has to be the luckiest killer in the world to get this jury.
Sounds to me like they did not care, and they just wanted to go home.
If you wrap your child up in duct tape and a bag, and then lie about it for a month, watching hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of man-hours wasted, you probably deserve to be found guilty of aggravated child endangerment just on principle.
But this jury was clueless.
The more I think about it, the more I think she inadvertently benefited at trial from being a serial liar.
One of the alleged “tells” in the case is how she behaved after the baby disappeared; for 31 days, she knew her daughter was missing and chose to go on partying rather than report it. For any other defendant, that would be smoking-gun evidence that she had deliberately killed her kid since, had it been accidental, even a child abuser would be expected to show some sort of shock, anxiety, depression, etc afterward.
Obviously, though, the jury was the biggest problem and probably nothing else mattered with this bunch and this Foreman.
They focused on non-evidence like the Opening Statement, ignored actual evidence, failed to understand the law and elements of the crimes, failed to review the evidence, poor choice of foreman who appeared to have dominated the proceedings with his ignorant yet convincing (to his follow jurors sheeple) rantings about what the “law” demanded they do and who took a “voice vote” instead of a secret ballot as his first act so that he could identify those that needed to be worked on and cajoled into voting not guilty.
Part three of Nancy’s amazing article coming soon!