Casey and O.J. 730.4

As a former law professor specializing in teaching trial practice, I watched hours and hours of the Casey Anthony murder trial with a keen professional eye.

I thought Ms. Anthony’s lead attorney Jose Baez made some terrible decisions, including an opening statement proposing a totally unbelievable theory designed to excuse his client’s mountain of lies and explain how her two-year-old’s dead body was dumped in a swamp.

I was distressed by his mediocre lawyering skills and appalled by his failure to offer any evidence supporting theories he boldly advanced in his opening statement.

I know it’s tough to prove a murder on circumstantial evidence, but it happens all the time and the prosecutors convinced me beyond a reasonable doubt.

I got on a plane yesterday morning confident justice would be done, but on landing I found a slew of text messages telling me otherwise – Casey Anthony was acquitted.

I suppose I should defend the justice system, admit my fallibility in discerning the truth, and express respect and gratitude to the jurors for doing their duty. I guess I’m just a bad sport, but I can’t let go of the feeling of outrage.

Even now I’m aghast, amazed, and deeply disturbed. I can’t fathom how not one single juror believed what seemed so obvious to me after listening to the evidence and arguments – Casey Anthony killed her child, packaged her in a garbage bag, dumped her body, and invented a long string of blatant lies to explain her absence.

Perhaps I’ll feel more philosophical tomorrow, but for now my outrage is softened only slightly by the fantasy that Casey will meet and marry O.J. Simpson – they deserve each other.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.


Beyond the injustice of the trial itself and the failure to hold anyone accountable for the child’s death is the reality that Casey and her lawyer are likely to get very rich from this case. She will be paid huge sums for her story and probably be offered acting, modeling and other jobs. She not only got away with murder she will profit from it.

Comments 34

  1. I recognize that you are an experienced lawyer.
    But I don’t see how ANY person not sitting on the actual jury could pass judgement on their verdict.
    Not you or anyone not on the Jury is privy to all the info they were exposed to, their internal discussions or the detail information they weighed.
    I generally concur with your commentaries on KNX that I hear almost every day.
    In this case, I believe you are way off base. You are joining the millions who had already passed judgement and “knew” she was guilty.

  2. The charges were wrong. The evidence didn’t support the charges. There is no cause of death, no time of death, etc. We need a motive, weapon, cause of death and so on to accuse someone of murder. We CAN however accuse her of lying, cheating, failure to alert authorities, with holding information, etc. I’d like to accuse her of neglect. I’d like to judge her charactor and say she is a horrible mother and person in general. But the circumstantial evidence that brings me to these conclusions are just that, circumstantial. The evidence shows only that she didn’t tell anyone what happened and she drank a lot afterwards (to either hide her pain or show she just didn’t care) I don’t really truly know and the evidence isn’t enough to truly convict someone and put that person on death row. I want the authorities to search for more evidence and put to justice the wrong that has been done to that little child. But I can’t say that our justice system failed, even if I prejudged and believe she is guilty.

  3. Character counts? I enjoy the vast majority of your views; but in this case, you were not a juror, nor did you see all the information. You are doing a disservice to the jurors who gave up their time and did their civic duty to sit and listen to all the information. They made a judgment of the law and the testimony given. If there was a problem, the D.A. is to blame. He should not have brought a case with so little physical evidence. If additional evidence is found now she cannot be prosecuted and justice will not have be done. Do you remenber the lacrosse team from Duke? All those boys lives were harmed by a prosecutor who did not follow good judgment in any way. I do not know if the is guilty or not, but judgment should not be given by the media, which you are one of.

  4. Thank you for expressing what many of us think and feel about the outcome of this case. The instant “crime scene investigators” and “lawyers” created by taking their television viewing too seriously have missed the point. What mother would keep quiet about her child missing for 31 days and yet the child’s corpse was found a mere 15 blocks from the mother’s home? Why would _you_ lie about your child’s disappearance for 31 days? Not to mention the mountain of other lies to tumble out of this pathological mother’s mouth?
    Meanwhile we’re going to be bombarded by the pseudo-news media who will propose wild fantasies about drug rings, extortion plots and Evil Grandfathers that would put even the worst of crime shows to shame.
    I agree with you Mr. Josephson that our legal system fails us when the members of the proving ground, the jury, rely on popular media, yellow journalism and pulp-fiction as their measure of reality. (And I say this as a writer, artist, Free Speech advocate and avid consumer of fine fictional media and informed, repsponsible journalism.)

  5. Unfortunately, unlike in OJ’s case, there’s no one out there to bring a wrongful death suit against her and prevent her from profiting from the murder she committed!

  6. Again, I come down on the side of the jury… In the bible it is clearly stated that evil is doomed and there is a price to be paid for every decision. OJ is in jail now and for the next 10 years (roughly). Eventually-if this young lady is guilty-she will fall. If not then eventually she will be exonerated. The Prosecution presented a case, the Defense defended a client and the judge allowed, excluded evidence and maintained a respectable jurisprudence throughout the trial in accordance with the law.
    “It is better that 10 guilty men go free than 1 innocent person is convicted!” Thomas Jefferson

  7. Character Counts? the fantasy of Casey and OJ meeting and marrying? … and saying it on-the-air? Am I reading/hearing two mixed messages here… Character is not just seen through actions. Sometimes words spoken are stronger than actions… So please educate me, when should character really “Count?”

  8. I think you are forgetting that in order to get a guilty verdict, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Just because you think the defendant is lying does not mean that the prosecution has met its burden. If the burden is not met, the just MUST find the defendant not guilty. And, since the job of the prosecution is to do justice, if the defendant is acquitted because the government did not meet its burden, justice has been done. As a lawyer and a former law professor, you should know that.

  9. As someone relatively well informed, I watched several hours of proceedings over several days of the Casey Anthony trial. What I did not see was any direct physical, or even compelling circumstantial, evidence pointing to Casey murdering her daughter. Yes, her daughter is dead. And yes, I do think Casey had something to do with it. And, as far as character, Casey’s actions (partying, beauty contests, etc.) were reprehensible. But the truth is that, in a capital trial, nothing can be left to chance. Legally, there was no proof, concrete or otherwise, that Casey murdered her daughter. Watching the trial, I sometimes began to question the grand jury’s decision to indict. In seeking a death penalty conviction, we must uphold the highest burden of proof upon the prosecution, who, in this case, had not one piece of physical, biological, or DNA evidence tying Casey to the crime. The medical examiner could not even determine the cause of death. Call me weak and possibly cliche, but: “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

  10. You compared O.J. with Anthony. I do not see the comparison. By the way, speaking of the O.J. episode, how many times has your waiter brought your sunglasses to you at your home? Using logic, Ron Goldman was a logically a drug trafficker and probably the killer of Nicole; unless you are familiar with lots of waiters who take sunglasses to customers and know the customers addresses. You’ve got a lively imagination instead of legal logic. Duh!

  11. Dear Michael- I listen to your messages and most often come away empowered and challenged. This time I did not. This time I heard and felt anger because this did not go your expected way. How is character to respond in situations like that? With anger? With vitriol? I do not believe so. I did not spend hours watching the trial because I saw no positive or productive reason to do so. Rather than subject my emotions to a situation I had no control over, I was spending my time being a more compassionate human being and building my character. Your line about her meeting OJ is condemnation and judgment; not about a high ethical character.

  12. I see I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed in your KNX clip last night. I kept waiting for you to come to some conclusion about letting the judicial system do its thing — how this played out exactly as it’s supposed to, even if many of us armchair jurors felt WE had enough evidence to convict — and then you didn’t. Instead, you injected personal opinion and condemnation into it; you did everything you preach against doing each day on the air. That’s not “character counts.”

  13. You want evidence connecting Casey to the murder?
    1. The duct tape was at her house and no real evidence George put it on the child. The child was in HER care because she herself said she dropped her at the nanny. No mention was ever made by HER that this was an accident.
    2. Many people and two dogs smelt the odor of human decomposition in the car CASEY (an no-one else) had been driving. Even she told her friend about the smell.
    3. A blanket from Caylee’s room was found near the body. A blanket that was connected to the Anthony house. Again no evidence that anyone aside from Casey put it there.
    4. She lied continuously. An innocent person has NO reason to lie.

  14. The prosecution’s case clearly did not prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. She may well have done it, but that’s (almost) beside the point.
    If you believe that she did it, your ire should be directed at the prosecutors; you should tell them that Character Counts, and that they should have done their job better to see that justice was done.

  15. Mr. Josphson
    I am deeply disturbed by your comment about this case. I believe you are engaging in matters that do pertain to your philosophy of character. Expressing your personal opinion on a legal matter is not your domain. Furthermore, justice is not always fair. Most of the times, it is only for those who can afford it. You have to take into account that many times prosecutors and judges engage in unethical practices in order to win their cases and thus, advance their political careers. How many times have innocent people been convicted, wrongly accused or have made up evidence just to become one more statistic for the DAs. If you want to show fairness, you should also comment on cases such as the ones I mention above.

  16. I’m giving you a bye on this one. You’ve been more than an inspiration on so many levels in the past. To (mis)quote a line from the movie Seabiscuit, “What are you so angry about?”
    I suspect that part of your distaste in the Anthony case seems to center around the dishonest person being rewarded for dishonesty. I think most of us have gotten past that, especially those of us in the corporate world. Should we have? No. Did we so that we could function in the real world? In part.
    The perfect “character counts” world is still in progress – in you and in each of us. Don’t give up on us just yet.

  17. When Michael Josephson says he reviewed “HOURS and HOURS” (emphasis added) of the trial, I believe him, having been a long-time listener/reader to/of his work. While we certainly do not always agree, he has a stellar reputation for candid, considered opinions.
    Moreover, his extensive experience in this area substantiates his well-informed opinion on this matter. Coupled w/ the well-established facts published regarding the woman’s RIDICULOUS LIES throughout the whole ordeal and her lawyers’ far-fetched “alternate theories” explaining the child’s death, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce Casey’s guilty as H___.
    People who *repeatedly* lie to their parents, police officers, and so forth have something to hide, period. An innocent person would have RUN to the police and pleaded for help in recovering their child. It’s really time to wake up, people!

  18. Look at the evidence people !!
    how can any one be so blind to the neglect of a child…??
    Does any one see any murder case shows..?? Hellow ???
    one psycho mom covering up her childs murder..God will prevail..
    Michael Josephson ..Chin-up Sir ,, You show us you have a heart and bleed as us meer mortals..

  19. Micheal, You have just found a solution to save tons of money for our already broke government! Close down the courts and let Mr Josephson and the media do the Jury Duties!
    You droped the ball on this one.

  20. Michael,
    As one of your former students and a follower of “Character Counts” for many years, I am disappointed by one part of your commentary — the suggestion of a union of Anthony & OJ.
    First, however, I disagree with your conclusion. I did not have the time or access to watch the trial. While I believe that Anthony was probably guilty, many other respected analysts state that the prosecutor failed to prove his case. In respect for the rule “innocent until proven guilty” beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury may have been correct. Cut them some slack.
    My big concern is that, with the OJ suggestion, you violate your own principles and descend to character assassination. Although I understand your outrage, I am disappointed.

  21. Why would she have needed to lie if she wasn’t guilty? Why would she place her child in a garbage bag, HER CHILD! and then dump her? Whether or not we are privy to all the details of the trial, my heart and conscience tells me that she is guilty of something much worse than just lying to Law Enforcement.

  22. Thank you for your commentary today (July 8). I commend you for admitting that you jumped to conclusions. We all do it.
    Thank you for realizing it.
    Regarding your commentary on gay’s, I missed that one, but based on your remarks & the hateful responses you got, I am sure I am in agreement with your position.

  23. I agree with you-GUILTY!!!!
    How can the jury made up of some people with criminal backgrounds, and some without a high school diploma be able to understand all of the scientific evidence that even the professionals had a hard time understanding and presenting. How do people with criminal backgrounds get to serve on a jury. Of course they are going to side with the defense. I think Casey and Jose will probably become millionaires off of the death of Cayley in the hands of Casey. It’s hard to believe that Cindy could face up to 15 years in prison for lying and Casey who I feel killed her daugeter will become a millionaire. Think of all of the people who would love to have kids, but for some reason can’t. And then you have Casey. She will burn in hell for this!!!!

  24. From reading your commentary Mr. Josephson and the rest of the comments presented thereafter, one thing is clear to me: there is a discrepancy about what people believe REASONABLE DOUBT actually is. Ellen and Jay stated very clearly a strong cases that she was guilty beyond any REASONABLE doubt(There were several more items that were refuted in testimony also. For example, the mother of Casey supposedly did the Internet searches on the Chlorophyll/Chloroform – how could she be in two places at once?) There were at least two jurors that felt the same way, after time their mind was changed. No, none of us were on the jury, but that really means nothing. We all heard the same evidence. Some of you are dismissing Mr. Josephson because he wasn’t on the jury. I see that as a ridiculous because he is an expert and the rest of us aren’t. If you have the gall to say that he doesn’t get it, you really don’t have a clue as to how the judicial system really works. It’s really not that complicated to understand the process. Just because a person is a juror doesn’t make them possess all the skills necessary to make informed/reasonable decisions. Clearly, most people don’t – less than 1% of the world even has a college degree. To say that Mr. Josephson is not qualified to make a judgement on this issue that HE HAS STUDIED AND STUDIED is just plain dumb.
    bb, your comment “Expressing your personal opinion on a legal matter is not your domain.” – TOTALLY HILARIOUS! You couldn’t be more off here.
    By the way, I am really tired of people in society blaming others for consequences that they themselves created. I see the character of society is dropping as a whole (it’s a ‘you didn’t prove it, so it didn’t really happen’ syndrome). I’m referring to the DUKE Lacrosse comment. Jennifer, you’re blaming the prosecutor for harming those boys’ lives. HOW DID THAT CASE COME TO THE PROSECUTOR IN THE FIRST PLACE? – because of the very appalling actions of those boys. The rape wasn’t proven and maybe not all three boys were 100% culpable, but you can rest assured that something horrible happened to that girl. There is always some truth to most accusations. So the prosecutor messed things up, it doesn’t mean that they were innocent. Get some perspective please.
    PS Larry, I loved your candor; loved your post!
    There were several posts that were contrary to what I see in the case, but I liked how you analyzed the case and stated your reasoning – Richard, Laila, Nancy

  25. People keep asking how Casey could have lied unless she was guilty. She may well be guilty, but there are many reasons people lie, and guilt is only one of them. If we truly want to honor her beautiful daughter, we will work to find out what went wrong in the mother’s life, because guilty or not we need to focus on prevention of the behavior we saw following the child’s disappearance. For the sake of all children, we need to do a better job of understanding why parents do what they do.

  26. I agree with many here on this site that stated we as people who were not present in the courtroom did not hear all of the evidence that was presented by the prosecution however, the inexcusable facts are that she lied about her missing, she had a dead body in the trunk of her car (Presumably her daughter’s) and if the baby was drowned in the pool, how did she end up with duct tape over her mouth and nose. I have to believe that ultimate justice prevails but for anyone who buys a book, watches a movie or in any way supports her or the jurors who might benefit financially from this trial, you should also be guilty and will be in my eyes.

  27. Michael… I think the entire world is stunned about the verdict of not guilty. Even though a legal system such as ours does make mistakes and some people fall thru the cracks… This is your program and it is my contention that you can say what you want ! As far as character counts you have the right to express your own opinion !

  28. I agree with Michael. I see the connection with O.J. and Casey are both guilty. My opinion is when you LOCK up jurors for the whole trial, there are only certain people that would not be hurt financially or have the time to be cut off from the world. People that would not pass a basic classes in science and logic.
    When a cause of death cannot be determined directly and have to go with multiple circumstantial evidence, we should just not care and let a murder go.
    This is what happen with this type of jury, they want an 8 x 10 with a smoking gun in the murders hand over the body.
    I could see the not-guilty for first-degree murder, but I think the evidence clearly pointed to child endangerment and involuntary murder. I think Casey used chloroform to put Casey to sleep and the tape over Caylee’s face in case she wakes up and cannot scream when placed in the trunk. They Casey went partying. When Casey found Caylee dead, all the lies and deception started. I could go on with my theory, but the bottom line is that the evidence did prove Casey and no one else could have killed a poor innocent Caylee.
    The swimming pool drowning was a good ploy since drowning or any other cause of death could not be found.
    Casey, although she will change her name and appearance, will not change. She most likely will get large sums of money that she will blow and be back in court for other charges.
    We have to both look at her lies, but her actions have spoke louder than any words.
    Casey has hurt everyone she has come in contact with, not only her daughter that she did not care about after her death, but her parents and brother as well as some of her “friends.”

  29. I applaud you for your comments and understand directly where you are coming from. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I whole heartedly support yours and that is my opinion.

  30. There was simply not enough real evidence to prove it. A guilty verdict might have meant giving the death penalty to someone who didn’t commit the crime.
    If looks could kill, Anthony would have received about 5 million death penalties on the day of her verdict. That’s how many people watched the verdict live on HLN on July 5, 2011. The jury decided on a “not guilty” verdict on all of the felony charges. This decision shocked and outraged people all across America and the world.
    Anthony certainly looks guilty. Her mother was the one to report Caylee as missing. Only then did Casey say that her daughter had been missing for 31 days

  31. Michael I am with you. Even two weeks after the verdict, every time I hear about or see Casey on tv I have hard time understanding what the jury was looking for. In my humble opinion there was plenty of evidence. If they were looking for an eye witness that is a rarity for a every murder trial. It is very rare that we see a witness on murder trials. Even if the jury was trying to be phylosophical Casey’s actions were very questionable and base for guilt to say the least. She was lucky they found 12 idiots who still beleive the earth is flat. We beleive the earth is not flat because we are told. Otherwise I for one do not have a concrete evidence. My evidence again will be what I was taught and told. The part that is troubling me now is the action her lawyers are taking. Are they not crossing their professional boundary? It is not up to a lawyer to greet a lier and a KILLER at midnight from jail and provide so much protection. Stay tuned she will be on the news for more bad reasons.

  32. With regard to John’s comment: “Your line about her meeting O.J. is condemnation and judgment, not high ethical character.”
    Are lying; changing your testimony to suit your own needs; falling back on playing the “blame game”; lack of personal accountability and resposibility as a guardian to your child — are all these qualities (or lack of them) indicators of a “high ethical character”?
    Lessons learned: If you’re going to commit a crime in America and subsequently get caught, just get yourself a great team of lawyers to belabor the trial process, wear your jury out and confuse the heck out of them … then, you can rest assured of being acquitted. And if you want to profit from such a heinous crime, be sure to glamorize it by getting the news media in on the “circus”.

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