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How Did a Jury Find Casey Anthony Not Guilty?

While this is not normally a news website, nor a location to post social media or blogs which encourage banter, it remains my forum to comment on the law. So, how did the jury acquit Casey Anthony with such overwhelming evidence to support a conviction? Juries are unpredictable. As a criminal defense attorney, many friends, family, and acquaintances have asked about this trial. In every case, I advise my client that there is not less than a 5% chance of being acquitted and not less than a 5% chance of being convicted, no matter how strong or weak the case may be and no matter of whether or not the crime was committed. Juries can hang on a word of an attorney and decide who is telling the truth. They may also look at the defendant and either empathize enough to find the person not guilty or possibly they remind them of a bad person who looks guilty. Under the law, the jury is allowed to use their past experiences to help them determine if each witness is truthful or not and may make sweeping determinations based on their belief. Moreover, the jury is charged with the requirement to find the person Not Guilty if the prosecution does not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The major weakness in the Casey Anthony murder trial is that the autopsy report could not determine the cause of death. That said, most reasonable minds would have thought that a claim of accidental drowning and subsequent cover-up, moreover with duct tape on the child, would be overwhelming proof that the mother was lying. Proof of lying does not equal proof of murder...as evidenced by the findings at this trial. It is notable to point out that this was an Orlando, Florida jury. Since most of the crazy jury verdicts come from the State of California, this is interesting. Many times lawyers will discuss and say, "well, that's a California jury for you!" and "That would never happen in (insert jurisdiction)." I've said that about Northern Kentucky many times. Of course, I've thought of Orlando as a reasonable and conservative area where such verdicts would not be expected. This only goes to reinforce my initial statement, juries are unpredictable. As a side note, I couldn't help but notice the grin on defense counsel's face as the verdict was read. He would be bad at poker, but he had already won the hand!

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