Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Casey Anthony was acquitted of all homicide-related charges. She was convicted on four misdemeanor counts of lying to the police.
The unpredictability of a jury is not in dispute. From my second hand seat, the evidence of guilt appeared overwhelming. An innocent person does not lie to the police. Circumstantial evidence, alone, can be a legitimate predicate for a guilty verdict. Was the jury turned off by the smirk of preposterousness on the prosecutor's face when the defense was presenting its closing argument? We won't know until, and unless, a juror speaks out or writes a book.

When I first became a Judge, I sat in an old courtroom. The jury room was adjacent to my lobby. During deliberations, I would occasionally put my ear to the wall and listen in. More often than not, I would internally react by asking myself, "What case are they talking about?" The Anthony jury was out for an extraordinarily short time, given the length of trial and the volume of evidence presented. I suggest that more time was required for an evidentiary comprehensive review. They may have formulated many issues which required deep thought and extensive discussion. And, they may have concluded that the immediate absence of common resolve equalled "reasonable doubt." They may have been waiting for the smoking gun which never materialized. Having been sequestered for forty-five days, they may have wanted to simply go home.

Body language, notwithstanding, a jury cannot be "read."

You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be led.

Next case.

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