On Tuesday, a Florida jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie.
As so often happens in high profile cases, the jury was wrong.
Casey clearly murdered her daughter. Her mom, Cindy, reported that Caylee was missing on July 15, 2008. Casey's cover story was unbelievably ridiculous. When Casey's mom, Cindy, confronted Casey at Casey's boyfriend's apartment, Casey actually claimed that a random baby sitter nobody had ever met had taken Caylee away over a month beforehand.
Cindy called the cops, informing them, "I found my daughter's car today. And it smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car." Sure enough, cadaver dogs identified the trunk of Casey's car as a dead body location, and scientists confirmed that a body had decomposed back there. A few months after a jury indicted Casey, police found Caylee's corpse in the woods near Casey's home, duct tape on her head.
The defense did a Johnny Cochrane routine -- they blamed everybody within a 10 mile radius of the murder for the murder. Defense attorney Jose Baez suggested that Casey's dad, George, had sexually abused her during her childhood, without any evidence whatsoever. Baez also claimed that Caylee had drowned in the pool while George was at home, and that George had been involved in dumping the body.
There was no evidence to any of this. It was pure conjecture, a sociopathic response to being caught red-handed. And Casey Anthony is a sociopath: outwardly charming, pathologically lying, indecently self-centered, lacking in shame or guilt, promiscuous, exploitative and irresponsible, and willing to hurt anyone and everyone in order to get her way.
So, why did the jury acquit her? Because the jury system, as currently run, is stupid.
Yes, jury trial is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution (although only with regard to federal cases). It was originally considered a hallmark of civilized criminal justice because citizens did not want to be subjected to government inquisitions, with the court stacked against them. Juries were supposed to be a bulwark against governmental encroachment.