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Innocent until proven guilty

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By Lindsay Kriz

KPA Summer Intern

 

Like half the population of the United States (and at this point, even the world), I took an interest in the Casey Anthony trial, which recently reached a verdict, as most of you already know. I wouldn't say I was obsessed with it on a Nancy Grace scale, but I would tune in every once in a while to watch the trial and home videos that were broadcast on every news channel. 

And, like so many of you, I think she is guilty as guilty can be. Whether it was pre-meditated murder or an accident covered up, I felt that the evidence was undeniable, and that Anthony would be guilty as charged.

Instead, Anthony became the O.J. Simpson of our time, and the verdict of non-guilty shocked and angered millions. When I read the verdict results online, I couldn't help but wonder if Anthony would eventually release a book called, "If I did It."

But as I sifted through the different responses from the Facebook crowd, which included "She'll eventually burn" and "Our legal system needs to change," I found some that, while not necessarily in favor of Anthony's verdict, were in favor of protecting our government's judicial system. They tossed around phrases like, "reasonable doubt," "innocent until proven guilty," and "circumstantial case." 

And as I read these phrases over and over, whether on Facebook or in news articles, I decided to read a little more into the trial and now, while I don't agree with the verdict, I do understand how the jury arrived at it. 

Spokespersons have said that Anthony was found not guilty because much of the evidence was circumstantial. Yes, many of the facts add up, including the smell from the back of the car, the sticker on the mouth and Anthony's inappropriate behavior during her daughter's disappearance. But, at the end of the day, the remains were not intact enough for a complete autopsy to be performed. There was no way to prove or disprove the defense's claim that she had simply drowned in her pool (although in my opinion, if your child drowns, you don't put a sticker over her mouth afterwards. But, I digress and assume too much). 

Also, another fact that we must remember is that in this country, a person on trial is innocent until proven guilty, even if the evidence is so overwhelming that the defense is unsure about their case (which to me, still applied to this case). It seemed to me that some members of the media (I'm looking at you once again, Nancy Grace) were quick to cover the case and give their verdict early on, even before the trial began. And it's easy to see that the media plays a large role in influencing our perspectives.

In a way, it can't be helped, because in a case like this the media is the only source we can rely on to deliver the facts to the general public. But, when a primary news source for many of us is clearly a biased television program that thrives on speculation, perhaps we should step back and reconsider how we are approaching our conclusions. We need to begin to approach cases like this with a more researched and unbiased opinion. I've noticed that so many are quick to condemn before presented with all the evidence in this country, and to me that can't be good in any way. 

 Bottom line: I understand when people are frustrated and outraged by an outcome such as this, especially when the people outraged are parents themselves. But before we all jump to the conclusion that the jury was idiotic (although I know many already have), we need to truly understand where they were coming from, and that, in the end, whether they thought Anthony was guilty or not (and I'll speculate that most thought she was), their hands were completely tied.