trial came to an end and a verdict was ready to be announced. I was at my desk, conducting yet another meeting about the benefits of using the new platform for
creating risk profiles when I got the phone call and multiple texts. The jury had reached a verdict. It would be announced live in just a few moments.
If ever there was a time when I could say with reasonable certainty that the entire country was unified regardless of race, creed, religious views, or sexuality,this was it. “Was Casey Anthony guilty?”
I, like most other people who had been following this case closely, though I’ll have to say that I skipped Nancy Grace and her constant on-air thrashing of the “tot mom”, had already formed a pretty strong opinion about her guilt. But what would the jurors say? Had criminal defense lawyer, Jose Baez, been able to poke enough holes in the prosecution's case to get her acquitted? Surely not. But then again, what did I think I knew that I was basing my opinion on? Information that had been spoon-fed to me by the media? Not really the most credible source I can think of to say the least.
It was around 2:30 pm when they finally read the verdict: Casey Anthony was found not guilty on all murder charges. Holy crap! Really?!? How had that happened? After three years, the most hated woman in America was soon to be a free woman. I was shocked to say the least.
Shocked, but not outraged like a large population of America seemed to be. I mean, she was acquitted by a jury of her peers after hearing all of the evidence. Maybe they had heard things that we hadn’t, though I was pretty sure that Fox News had access to everything they had, right?
Of course not. This case is only one of the many cases that has been exploited by the media in recent memory. Remember the O.J. Simpson circus? How about Scott Peterson? George Zimmerman? With the exception of O.J., these folks are average, ordinary people, just like you and I, at least before they were arrested. The media has sensationalized all of these crimes and has turned the non-celebrities into celebrities. Normal, average lawyers have become famous criminal defense lawyers. Think Robert Kardashian…name ring any bells?
So, what is it about these people or the crimes they commit that is so fascinating to us?
Who knows. As obsessed as I was with the Casey Anthony case, it also infuriated me. It
infuriates me to think that people, everyday, ordinary people can found guilty before they ever see the inside of a courtroom.
In the United States, we are supposed to treat everyone as though they are innocent until they are proven guilty. But in the age of technology and information, many are never given that chance. And you can’t tell me that there is no way that this kind of constant media attention doesn’t have any impact on the outcome of these trials. It just makes me wonder if it’s the judicial system that is flawed or us and our insatiable appetite for information.
My point here is not to bash the media, whatsoever. They simply provide us what we ask for. But I can’t help but wonder whether removing the cameras from the courtrooms would give defendants the chance at a“fair” trial.