Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Mystery Novelist's Question about Casey Anthony Trial

by C.L. Phillips

Admit it - you followed this trial.  Maybe you didn't watch the video or listen to Nancy Grace, but you know about it.  For those of you under the Cone of Silence for the last three years, here's the condensed version :  two year old child goes disappears for thirty days or so before mother reports her missing.  Body is found five months later within several hundred feet of the family home.  Trial begins with outlandish opening statements designed to provide alternative suspects and place the defendant, the child's mother in the role of long suffering victim.  Until the lawyer wised up and told the jury during closing arguments, "My client is a liar and a sl*t, but you can't convict her for that."  And finally the judge gives the jury instructions that define reasonable doubt as more than some doubt.

I don't have a dog in this hunt.  I don't care if the mother is found guilty or not.  What I'm more interested in discussing is this question :  "WHAT happened in the JURY room?"

Really.  What were they thinking?  Do you suppose the twelve members of the jury went into the room and said, "Alright, we've been sequestered for forty-five days.  Who wants to go home tomorrow?"  Imagine how that could frame the deliberations.  Or maybe eleven said guilty, one said "No way, I'm never voting guilty."  And then everyone caved to go home?

You know I always thought O.J. Simpson got off because of the "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit" line from Johnny Cochran.  But this trial had none of that.  All the fireworks happened in the opening statements, none of it poetic.

So what do you think happened in the JURY ROOM?  And if you were writing this murder mystery from the point of view of the defense lawyer - what was his last meeting with his client like?  Did he gaze into the eyes of a murderer and say, "You know, you might want to get your tubes tied?"

Give me your favorite denouement for this mystery.


Ramona said...

I didn't follow this trial, and i am frankly shocked at how many people personalized it. But hey, whatever floats your boat. What I heard is through osmosis and there's certainly enough mystery and sordidness to attract interest.

I've been in a news family for a long time, and the kind of attention given to a high profile trial always skewers things. Never be surprised by a jury, esp. when TV cameras are allowed in the courtroom.

However. What happened in the jury room? This is what I think. There was tremendous pressure to find this woman guilty, from the locals, the public, the media. The jury chose to go the other way, despite (I'd guess) knowing they'd get massacred for it. So I think they went in to the jury room, weighed the evidence they were presented, obeyed the judge's instructions and did what they believed was the right thing.

If they'd been in and out in an hour, finding her guilty, they'd be heroes. After 45 days sequestered, they're villains. I may be a silly idealist, but to says to me they acted accordingly.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with everything that Ramona said (except for the part about being from a news family, as that doesn't apply to me, lol).

C.L. Phillips said...

For me it's a lesson in circumstantial vs. physical evidence. With the advent of DNA evidence, it could be that people expect a higher level of proof.

One thing is certain - I'm very glad I was not on the jury. Can you imagine being sequestered that long? Yikes - that would make me all kinds of grumpy!


Jenna said...

Sure seems like she did it... but what do I know? I wasn't there, either when it happened or in the courtroom. And as long as there's reasonable doubt, there's no other choice, really. I know I'd rather have a guilty person go free than an innocent person be convicted of a murder she didn't commit. I just hope the jury did what they did for the right reason, and not because they wanted to get home!

C.L. Phillips said...


Agreed. It's a heavy responsibility to be on a jury for a case like this. Maybe it's just me, but I would love to see a reality TV series on what happens inside the jury room. Bet that never happens, but then again, I would have never thought we'd see a Teen Mom series. :)


Patg said...

I have to admit that the primary reason I wanted her jailed was for ignoring it for 30 days and lying about where the child was.
And that smug prosecutor, he should have made sure there was more said about the child endangerment issue.