By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
I’ve been getting asked about my thoughts on the Casey Anthony verdict. My opinions are probably not like most on the topic. To be completely honest, I didn’t follow the trial particularly closely and — like the rest of the world — I’ve got no clue whether she killed her child or not.
My view is that this trial — and the result — has done a lot to educate the public as to the nuances of our criminal justice system. Regardless of whether people fit into the “she did it” or “she didn’t do it” camp, people are debating the evidence and more importantly discussing the reasons why a criminal trial works the way it does. That’s heathy.
When trying a complicated trial to a jury – whether it be a serious felony or whether it is a DWI with blood evidence, it is critical the jury understand it’s virtually impossible (1) to prove your own innocence in any case; or (2) to convince skeptics you are innocent by testifying in your own defense. It’s also just as critical for citizens and jurors to understand that the police and prosecutors are making educated guesses at what happened too. “The police tried really hard” and “we can’t let someone get away with this” just aren’t evidence. If we don’t have evidence we run the risk of convicting an innocent person. These are the real lessons from the Casey Anthony Trial.
Of course, there are always people that just don’t get it. That is, people who only conclude from the Casey Anthony case that “our system is broken.” Simply stated, that sentiment from someone not involved directly with the case presumes guilt — not innocence. Also, when that sentiment is shared by the masses, it tends to produce mean changes in the law and jurors with an axe to grind. This type of apathy also carries with it a nugget of self-ritcheosness which I find particularly difficult to swallow as someone that visits a lot with people who wonder where all of their rights have gone.
The Casey Anthony verdict teaches us many lessons which we sorely need — not the least of which focuses on whether the jury was right or wrong.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any particular situation, you should contact an attorney directly.