Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Obsession With the Casey Anthony Trial

I have finally succumbed to reality TV. The Casey Anthony trial is what did me in. My philosophy that there is no such thing as a "functional" family (i.e. that we are all from dysfunctional families) is amply demonstrated in the Anthony's, only in their case it was dysfunctionality on steroids. You may cavil with calling a murder trial "reality TV." Yes, it's true that the action reality TV shows in prime time can't get it all in one take. (Like Cops, reality is usually something between what is shown to the public and what is left on the cutting room floor. Reality TV shows are scripted, too, even if much of what we see is ad-libbed on the spot.) But the reality TV we see in the Anthony trial is more akin to the old "Playhouse 90" days, when ninety-minute dramas were presented live in prime time. Unlike reality TV, the Anthony trial cannot be rewound much less edited, but to me it is about as reality TV as I care to get.

The latest turn is that the prosecutor "opened the door" to (mentioned, thus allowed testimony about) evidence of Casey's prior record, including a felony. I think the prosecutor weighed a potential for reversible error against the mounting evidence that the Anthony's are testifying for Casey vicariously. That is, the defense is making its case by having its witnesses say what Casey cannot say, since any testimony by Casey herself would be impeached by the State, e.g. "Are you the same Casey Anthony who was convicted on ____ of the felony crime of _____," and it would be pointed out to the jury that a felony conviction means you cannot trust anything the witness has said since all felonies are, per se, crimes involving moral turpitude.

My feeling is, the jury will convict. The Anthony's story just doesn't add up. I think this silly, warped girl, ill equipped emotionally to handle motherhood, and tiring of its responsibilities -- it interfered with her partying -- suffocated her child and did her best to pin it on a nanny, and when the nanny story blew up in her face, she switched tales and had her being molested by her father and had her child, Caylee, drowning in a swimming pool. The one nagging question I have concerns the autopsies. Since I can only watch summaries of the trial on the news at night, I must have missed testimony about what was found in the stomach and lungs. A drowning leaves its mark. The tape found on the mouth is also very, very troubling. It may boil down to which expert the jury finds more credible.

One thing's for sure: this is the most sensational trial since O.J. took out his wife and a male acquaintance and got off with an acquittal because some gloves didn't fit. On the other hand, Casey Anthony is not a black male with a predominantly African-American jury. I understand that because of the method chosen, the death penalty is on hold in Florida. May I take this opportuny to bloviate a bit about that. Consider this silly girl, a person who harks back to the Butterfly McQueen character in Gone With the Wind (though I am misquoting her), "Missie Scarlet, I don't no nuthin' 'bout bringin' up no baby." What did she does during the 30+ days the child was missing? She partied. The death penalty, with appeals and all, will cost the state more than a life sentence (they feed these people on less than a dollar a day!). The death penalty will put Casey out of all her miseries. Life will have her wasting away while she thinks about the terrible, tragic consequences of what she has done.

I'm convicting the innocent until proven guilty? No, but I am convinced she did it. I think she may be convicted of the lesser included offense of intentional manslaughter, which would save the silly woman's life. But I am convinced the verdict will be guilty of something. As my friend Ellie always said, "Hide and watch!"