Three Cheers For Casey Anthony Jurors


Walk into any Dade County criminal courtroom and you will see a sign on the wall stating:  “WE WHO LABOR HERE ONLY SEEK THE TRUTH.”

It’s a blatant falsehood about the law, the mission of courts and the criminal justice system.

If truth was all that mattered we would turn our back on illegal conduct by the police.  We would ignore prosecutorial misconduct

Courts are there to seek “JUSTICE”, not “TRUTH”.  Not withstanding, Superman, its “…truth OR justice in the American way.” You can’t have both.

The Casey Anthony trial is just the latest example.

Let’s not be naïve.  We would all bet the ranch she did it.  We all know O.J. did it.

But having twelve jurors vote is not going to alter or prove the truth one way or the other.

The judge is not there to bring out the “truth”.  The judge is there to decide what is legally admissible evidence regardless of its value to show the “so-called” truth.

The jury’s job is not to decide the truth.  It is to decide whether the weight of the government’s evidence reaches “beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”

Notwithstanding the “truth”, sometimes the evidence is not there to convict.

As DNA testing and “The Innocence Project” have repeatedly shown, sometimes the evidence is there to convict while the “truth” was  that the accused was the wrong guy. Juries have weighed the evidence and ultimately sent dozens to Death Row even though we now know it was a S.O.D.D.I. case—Some Other Dude Did It.

It’s so easy to be certain of the “truth” …when you’re not on the jury.

In this case, I have a theory that Anthony’s felony acquittals may have resulted from the lesson the jurors learned from the misdemeanors–lying to the police– they did convict her of.

“Beyond and to the exclusion of every reason doubt” is somewhat amorphous.  Looking at the rock solid evidence of the lesser charges  may have set a standard  for the jurors that the prosecutors failed to achieve for the more serious charges.

Do we really want juries that disregard their oath, the evidence and jury instructions and go with their gut? Go with the mob?

Notwithstanding that they must know they will be pilloried in the media and in the public, these twelve folks did the right thing.

I strongly expect that if and when they speak a number of the jurors will tell us that they believed she did it but that “the evidence was just not there .”

They followed the law and that’s why they are the real heroes.




Buddy’s Take:

The prosecutors had at least three big holes in its case:

There was no solid evidence that Caylee Anthony was murdered, although the medical examiner declared it a homicide.  It was conjecture and circumstantial. The medical examiner could not declare a cause of death.  How can jurors send a defendant to Death Row when the medical examiner can’t even say that a murder was committed?

There was no motive given for Casey Anthony to kill her child.  She was a so-called party girl, but had no problem having her family take care of her daughter when she went out.  Why would she suddenly decide to commit murder?

There was no time of death given.  Without a time of death, how could jurors rule out that Casey Anthony wasn’t somewhere else?

Despite the ill-informed opinion of all the mouth-breathers outside the courtroom interviewed last night and the ultimate ratings whore Nancy Grace, jurors did their duty. They threw a bad case out.


(Sam Fields is a criminal defense attorney with an office in Fort Lauderdale.)

21 Responses to “Three Cheers For Casey Anthony Jurors”

  1. Floridan says:

    The prosecution may have overplayed its hand by going for a capital murder charge — may have been better off with a charge of negligent homicide, but even then there would be gaps in the evidence.

  2. Smart Move says:

    As the unforgettable character in the movie “The Verdict” played by the great Paul Newman told a jury in “it is a terrible thing to sit in judgment.” The responsibility of every juror is huge. To pass judgment on matters they did not witness based on the often conflicting words and evidence presented by others, all of it to be filtered through strict rules that do not always produce fairness, the truth, or fit the circumstances.

    The outcome of that decision determines a thing each of us holds dear; our lives, our liberty, our reputation. And upon whom do we impose that responsibility? Regular everyday people from all walks of life. Not on some special class of citizen specially trained for the task. Not on the intellectually or morally superior. In our system of justice jurors are our peers. Our system is designed that way to ensure that a criminal verdict comes not from some court or special class of people, but from the general public — the people themselves. In our system we the people judge each other’s guilt or innocence and imperfect as it may be nowhere do we find a more righteous, trusted, reliable or humane a way for determining the guilt or innocence of another.

    The standard of “beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt” is the standard that keeps us free from trumped up prosecutions. It rests on a presumption with which some disagree, that only God is the ultimate judge and only there do we find total comprehension of the truth. Here on earth we have the rule of law to guide us because we are imperfect. I agree with that.

    So, if on occasion we see a verdict that raises an eyebrow because of our “hunches” to the contrary let us moderate our reaction with a serious acknowledgment that any of us at all can at any moment be accused with a crime that we did not commit. That standard alone stands between us being falsely accused, judged and sentenced. Even with all these protections, we constantly see people who are wrongly convicted. Imagine the injustice if we were to lower our standards. It is absolutely a greater injustice that any innocent person be judged guilty than that some of the guilty “escape” justice.

    In this matter the prosecution failed to prove their case to the satisfaction of this jury. They did what they were supposed to do and the defense did what was required of it. So did the jury. We must accept that outcome and temper our reaction to it within the context of the larger considerations. To do less requires that we find a better system of justice that no one in our history has ever identified.

    You can’t just be an American when you agree with the outcome. Being an American means standing by the system even when you wish the outcome had been different.

  3. Death Frog 3 says:

    Buddy while you are correct in your opinion I disagree with how you got there.

    Often times we send people to death row when there is no cause of death, Scott Peterson. Many Homicide cases have been convicted when there is no body.

    Sam too is correct that juries get it wrong sometimes.

    This is just one of the thousand guilty that go free to save the one innocent.

    The cops made some huge mistakes in the case. Primarily they arrested her too soon. As soon as they arrested her she got a lawyer. Baez made her stop talking. The longer she talked the mare she would have hung herself. Also based on the kidnap story, the police had PC to obtain wiretaps on all of the Anthony phones. They could have turned some of those “domestic surveillence” techniques on Casey and Family.

    Had the cops done those two things (which is common practice in these parts) we would have had truth and justice… probably missing a little of the American Way though.

  4. Ed Foley says:

    Don’t forget that most people with an IQ over 75 are able to avoid jury duty as well.

  5. dk says:

    @ed foley
    i was thinking the same thing. anyone out there that gets yourself out of jury duty by any possible means, you don’t have a right to complain!

  6. The system stinks, but it's still the best in the world says:

    Most people just don’t get it. The lynch mob mentality is nothing new and it’s the very reason why juries in cases such as this are sequestered. Maybe Casey did it. But the direct evidence wasn’t there and Baez did his job by raising even one shred of reasonable doubt.

    The founding fathers had it right. Better 100 guilty creeps go free than one innocent be convicted. It doesn’t always work, but it’s the best in the world. Even O.J. finally got his by continuing to consider himself above the law. If Casey Anthony really is a slime, she’ll step out of bounds somewhere, some time. I just hope it won’t be another innocent child.

  7. Charley Varrick says:

    Best in the world my arse. Many western civilizations have excellent judicial systems. The Scottish legal system is an excellent example. There, the jury has three verdict options : guilty, not gullty and not proven. I am sure the Casey Anthony jury would have loved to have that third option.

  8. Jeanne says:

    I have no problem with the verdict of not guilty of 1st degree murder. This what happens when the prosecution over charges. I did have a bit of a problem with not guilty of aggravated child abuse. Not knowing where you child is for 30 days (or claiming to not know) should rise to the level of abuse or neglect.
    All points have been made by previous posters. Let’s move on.

  9. disenchanted says:

    sam reread the cannon of ethics for attorneys, zone in on the the part that states no attorney should advocate something that he n knows is false, remember judge Berman had this posted in his courtrom, when you look at what baez stated in his opening , i woder if this judge has the balls to hold him in contempt and force him at a hearing to show proof for his various arguments, never happens.. our system has degenerated into plan a or b and dam the truth.

  10. Challenge to Sam says:


    I actually agree with you. With what those jurors were presented, i don’t think i would have voted for murder. There was enough reasonable doubt and not enough evidence.

  11. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    i think the State should charge the Grandmother w/ perjury for not telling the truth w/ who did the Choroform search. It was substanchiated that the Grandmother was at work. SHe lied. Book um .

  12. Ed Foley says:

    I think this case, along with so many other cases where individuals were wrongly convicted, shows that not only is this NOT the best system in the world but that this system is simply broken on too many levels.

  13. Sam Fields says:

    Dear Ed,
    A bit surprised to hear a semi-libertarian like yourself seeking an alternative to citizen jurors.

    A suggest you start with the John Peter Zenger case and hopefully you will come to realize that this system–with all its flaws— is the final way that a citizen can look an overreaching government in the eye and say—“fuck you”.

    A necessity for protecting our freedom.

    Of course you may prefer professional jurors picked by Rick Scott!?!?!?!?

  14. disenchanted says:

    that is the crux who gets to pick the blue ribbon panel. but sam we could use some tweaking

  15. dk says:

    sam is not the only lawyer that thinks the sign is wrong, check out this link:

  16. Michael says:

    In response to Buddy’s take, the medical examiner DID rule it was a homicide. And why would someone sit in jail for 3 years knowing it was an accidental drowning? And you wait until the first day of trial to finally say it was a drowning? Yeah, ok.


    You are correct. The medical examiner declared it homicide, but could not say how or when the child died.

    Remember the jury’s verdict was not a declaration of Casey Anthony’s innocence. It was the jurors saying they didn’t know what happened “beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”

  17. Sam Fields says:

    The medical examiner did not find it a homicide on the basis of the scientific forensic evidence of the body or the so-called crime scene. She conclude that on the basis of the mother’s behavior.

    I could have done that.


    You are mostly right, Sam. The medical examiner’s conclusion was partially based on the duct tape on the skull.

    According to CBS News, the conclusion of homicide was based on the fact Caylee was not reported missing. The examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia testified that an accidental death, such as drowning, would have been reported. Also playing into her conclusion was the fact that Caylee’s body was hidden and the duct tape on the skull.

  18. Duke says:

    prosecution did a tremendous job of laying it all out. Anybody who doesn’t know that Casey Anthony offed that little girl is an idiot.We live in a very gullible society and people really will believe anything. P.T. Barnum said “there’s a sucker born every minute”.. and thankfully for criminal defense attorneys, a lot of em are in the jury pool. The final chapter has not been written.


    Below is a, based on a New York Times story this week. It portrays the prosecutors as not quite doing the “tremendous job” you suggest. In fact, they opened the door for an appeal. Here it is:

    According to a software designer who created the computer program used by police and prosecutors to allege that Casey Anthony had conducted a Google search of the word “chloroform” 84 times, the prosecution erred in their assertion regarding the computer search and knew they might be doing so prior to the conclusion of the Anthony trial.

    The computer search was a key piece of evidence in the murder trial as the prosecution sought to prove that Anthony had carefully studied the use of chloroform to render her daughter unconscious as part of a plan to murder 2 year old Caylee Anthony.

    The designer, John Bradley, is the chief software developer for Cacheback, the owner of the software program used by the Orange County Sheriff’s department to determine how many times Ms. Anthony had searched for information on the use of chloroform. Bradley also gave expert testimony with respect to the same at the trial.

    Subsequent to Bradley’s testimony, during a redesign of the software program, he discovered that the program used in the investigation had erred and that, in fact, the computer had only conducted a Google search for the word 1 time leading to a website that was also visited just one time – a considerable distinction from the 84 times the prosecution alleged.

    Bradley decided to commence the redesign after learning, following his testimony at trial, that police had used a different software program prior to his own and had come up with a different result – something they had failed to tell Bradley prior to his testimony and a fact that worried Mr. Bradley who realized the importance of getting it right as Ms. Anthony’s life might very well be at stake.

    Bradley says that upon discovering the mistake, he immediately emailed and phoned prosecutor, Linda Drane Burdick, and Sgt. Kevin Stenger of the sheriff’s office to disclose his findings, expecting that this new piece of information would be provided to the defense.

    It was not.

    “I gave the police everything they needed to present a new report,” Mr. Bradley said. “I did the work myself and copied out the entire database in a spreadsheet to make sure there was no issue of accessibility to the data.”

    Via New York Times

    Under the law, prosecutors are obligated to reveal any and all information that could be relevant to the guilt of the defendant, particularly information that would be exculpatory. Failing to do so is a serious offense and, had Ms. Anthony not been found not guilty, would have likely presented grounds for a new trial.

  19. Mishelle says:

    Did the jury REALLY do their duty? The not once, but a few times ignored Judge Perry’s instructions and the last time being in deliberation. The jury was told NOT to consider the punishment and by juror #3’s own mouth they did anyway. That by law is an unlawful verdict by itself. Another thing, they based their verdict on an unproven theory; yea they did their job alright. Juror #3 said herself that it was NOT the jury’s job to connect the dots and in-fact it was, just as much as it was Baez’s duty of candor to bring an error to the court’s attention!

  20. Mishelle says:

    P.S. if the prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt the jurors would not have cried and felt sick to their stomachs; enough said!

  21. Juan says:

    Sam, let me give you two names

    -Scott Peterson
    – Osama Bin Laden

    Now you do realize that both these cases were completely circumstancial, there was never a cause of death in the Peterson case, and no one was any solid evidence to say that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, never did anyone provide evidence linking him to the attack or did he ever take responsibility for it.
    However we as society know they were both guilty, based on your story, i ask you; Should we have let both of them go? Should they no have had the same outcome as Casey based on what you believe? Should we retry Scott and set him free? Should we apologize to the world for the wrongful death of Bin Laden?
    You tell me….