So. Casey Anthony, who, if I’m being faithful to one of the journalistic phrases I love the most, was found not guilty “by a jury of her peers” in the murder of her 2-year-old daughter.
And people are pissed.
Understandably so. I don’t think I know a single person who thinks Casey Anthony is innocent. By all accounts, she was a cruel, neglectful mother with a substance abuse problem who repeatedly lied to police and probably did kill her own kid. But the evidence in the case was ruled as circumstantial, and because we live in the United States where (at least in most states) circumstantial evidence is not enough to bring a conviction under the law, then lawfully, the jury couldn’t rule her guilty.
Also the case was a fucking circus that I stopped paying attention to months before it even started because every time I flipped through the middle channels, Nancy Grace was glowering at me and yelling at callers about it.
But like I said, people are pissed. Most of my Facebook friends are likening Casey Anthony to OJ Simpson, which I guess is sort of correct in that both are probably guilty of their charges but weren’t ruled as such in court. Although this is where the similarities end, at least the comparison has given me something to think about.
During the OJ Simpson trial, I knew he was guilty. I was so sure of it, convinced by what I saw on the news, America’s Most Wanted, the Tonight Show, and based on what my mother told me about him being an admitted wife beater. I think I was in 6th grade when the OJ Simpson verdict was announced, and because we were a classroom full of white kids in a Catholic school, we were furious. Not guilty?! OF COURSE he was guilty! He was so motherfucking guilty that no one in their right mind could possibly think otherwise! And if he wasn’t guilty, then how come with the white Bronco and the smug attitude and WHAT IN THE FUCK AMERICA, this man is guilty!
And like I said, OJ probably is guilty, but the court said he wasn’t and what the court says is the law. Like, literally. Whether we like it or not, the court says things that are the law. This is its function. It is what the court does. Today, the court said that Casey Anthony is not guilty, which means that even though it’s highly possible that she did kill her daughter, that the evidence sucked, and that the prosecution failed to convict in a fiasco mess of a case, we have to listen to the court. Again, it is the law.
This law that I speak of is the point here, because what a lot of the pissed off people in my Facebook feed seem to be missing is that according to the law, every single person accused of a crime – whether that person be OJ Simpson, Casey Anthony, or you that time you got drunk, staggered out in public, and puked on a cop – is entitled to due process, which includes a fair trial. And everyone charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty, too, which I know you know because it’s in the beginning of every episode of Law & Order and everyone has seen Law & Order. I’m not saying that the Casey Anthony verdict was right or that the justice system is perfect, but the thing most people I know seem to be missing is that this is the law, and it exists for a reason. You could just as easily be accused of a crime that is just as heinous as the murder of a toddler, and whether or not that accusation is true, you would be a fucking idiot to claim that you wouldn’t want the same consideration under the law.
Casey Anthony wasn’t on trial for being a bad parent, or for doing drugs, or for being a fitting role model for the country. If she was, the evidence would have surely worked against her. She was on trial for a murder that couldn’t be proven beyond a reasonable, non-circumstantial doubt, and like it or not, the law protects this. Yes, it’s a shame that a 2-year-old girl was murdered. Yes, it’s a shame that the media trotted out and beat this case to death before it even started. It’s very sad and unfortunate and sometimes things don’t go our way, but ultimately, this was not an unfair thing. She had a trial, there was a 50/50 shot of a guilty verdict, and when the case went nowhere, the verdict didn’t happen. Fair doesn’t always mean that things go your way. Of course you have a right to be mad about it, but you should probably stop talking like you’re going to go out and lynch mob a person. You can’t do that. No seriously, you can’t. It’s illegal. And I’m pretty sure the evidence in that case would be damning.
(Side note: if one more person tells me “if you were a parent, you’d understand,” I will rip their goddamn heads off. Me not being a parent has nothing to do with my understanding of the judicial system. Perhaps you would do better to turn on the actual news instead of an opinion-based talk show interspersed with Nickelodeon, and then we can have a little talk.)