Casey Anthony Redux

Like almost everyone else, I stopped following the story shortly after the verdict.  But that doesn’t mean the story hasn’t continued.  A tree falling in a forest really does make a sound, even if there’s no one to hear it.

Ordered to “serve” her probation within the state of Florida, where a lot of people want her dead, Casey Anthony has been subject to assassination attempts, apparently, though this was not widely reported on this side of the pond. The press here may find it unpalatable to report a story that doesn’t reflect well on them and the feeding frenzy they helped stir up.  And of course it’s not the first time that the despised tabloids in the UK have turned out to be the only source of important information about a story of general interest.

Perhaps if the state can’t get its death penalty directly, it can get it indirectly, and someone will kill Casey Anthony for it.  Not to mention they would then have the opportunity for another lurid show trial.

Though that may sound unkind, it’s worth noting that the prosecutor who lost the case, Jeff Ashton, has been hawking a book to throngs of adoring fans.  They forgive him for losing.  Seems like they didn’t even notice.

And if that wasn’t classless enough, he uses the book to take below the belt potshots at the woman he failed to convict – and her lawyer.

I suppose it’s easier to maintain some dignity when you won, but still, that’s what Jose Baez does:

“Having read several of the comments Mr. Ashton makes in his new book, I am both surprised and somewhat disappointed he has chosen to attack me on a personal level,” Baez stated. “Without going into specific detail, I will say only that many of his accusations are absolutely false. I take my responsibilities to the court very seriously and I have been careful to always conduct myself in a professional manner.”

He’s playing this part as well as he played the trial.

One interesting revelation in the book is that apparently, shortly before the trial began, Casey Anthony told her psychiatrists not just that her father found the child drowned in the pool, but that she thought her father had actually killed the child.  Murdered her by deliberately drowning her, apparently.

Mr. Ashton ridicules all that as “Casey version 4.0″.  Harrumph.

Some people – like Jeff Ashton, apparently – just lose their objectivity.

People tell different and conflicting versions of events all the time.  Constantly.  Sometimes they are deliberately lying.  Other times they are simply mistaken.  Still other times they are pressured to give information that they don’t really have, and to make the pressure stop they confabulate something they think their questioners want to hear, and then oddly they come to believe their own confabulation.  Or at least it seems odd, even though it happens a lot.

I guarantee you that Jeff Ashton has used many, many witnesses in his career that told multiple and conflicting stories before finally telling the story that Jeff Ashton believed.  But he believed them anyway.  It may be more complicated than saying by way of explanation that he came to believe one version because that’s the one he wanted for his own purposes – but it may not be.

The whole idea of an “investigation” is to sort through all the conflicting this and that and find the truth.  Sometimes that is easier than other times, but easy or hard it’s the job. And if the investigation doesn’t do that, the trial is supposed to, although as we see over and over, that often doesn’t work.  But at least at a trial some of these phenomena are accounted for:  in every place I know of there’s a jury instruction about assessing the credibility of witnesses that says, quite sensibly, that people can lie about one thing and tell the truth about something else and you have to sort through it.  How many times has Jeff Ashton heard that instruction?

Yet losing the case has taught Jeff Ashton nothing.  It might be that “Casey 4.0″ is the truth, finally, but he’s not listening:

The prosecution detailed the depositions for George and Cindy out of a sense of “moral obligation,” and George told them “none of this is true,” the book states.

 

George told them “none of this is true”.  Well, I guess that’s that, then.

No wonder he lost.

The revelation about what Casey Anthony told her psychiatrists before the trial is significant in another way:  Baez must have known, but he didn’t go as far as he could have with it during his infamous opening statement.  And I know this is hindsight, so take it for what it’s worth, but I think that was exactly the right thing to do.  Casting aspersions on George Anthony was all he had to do to give the jury an alternate villain.  He didn’t have to go further and come right out and call George a murderer, and it probably would have backfired if he did.  It’s a very nuanced matter of judgment, and even what you might call an instinct.

Baez just has it.  He’s one of those guys.

Contrast that with Ashton’s critical error about the infamous “duct tape”.  One critical error among several, I might add.

See the difference?  Baez is a much, much better trial lawyer than Ashton.  There’s really no comparison.  But it’s far, far, easier to win as a prosecutor than it is as a defense lawyer.  So Ashton has been a very “successful” prosecutor, even though he’s not a very good trial lawyer.  And the establishment consensus remains that Baez just got lucky, or won by unfair means, because he’s not a good lawyer, because he just can’t be.

There’s a chance that someday, we’ll learn the truth about all this in a way that everyone will really know it.  I suspect that when that day comes, it won’t be Jeff Ashton or his tell all book that is vindicated.

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4 Comments

Filed under wrongful convictions

4 responses to “Casey Anthony Redux

  1. Rob Pasq

    Certainly, Baez won, Casey walks, and Ashton must not be very good. Not that his logic was all over the place, she lied continuously and the prosecution went with the evidence they had. You seem to think that none of it makes any difference. I’m sure the jury was right about OJ too. I think Casey would make a wonderful Nanny for your children, since Ashton must be way off. Will await your answer. Obviously you’re one of the pathetic fools that get taken in quite easily at any story given, then fight to defend your moronic logic.

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    • I have said elsewhere that I thought Ashton played it straight, and I give him credit for that. Prosecutors can get away with just about anything they want to – such as blatant witness tampering – and aside from a couple of questionable incidents like that, I think Ashton did indeed go with the evidence he had, didn’t embellish it too much or fabricate anything. He was more hobbled by the favoritism he has always enjoyed as a prosecutor than anything else.

      That said, though, I have to submit that you’re the one who’s being taken in. After all the proof was offered, you could sum it up by saying there were three plausible possibilities: 1) a bizarre cover up of an accident; 2) Casey Anthony is a twisted monster; 3) George Anthony is a twisted monster.

      There’s no way of knowing with reasonable certainty which of the three it is, and nowhere close to “beyond a reasonable doubt” on any of them.

      You like #2, and so do a lot of other people. Personally, I think #2 is the least likely of the three for lots of reasons, but it’s the position the state took, and for that reason too many people find it more plausible than they should.

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  2. bluebird

    Love this post. I was irritated when I heard about Ashton’s “tell all” book. What a SORE loser this guy is.

    Like

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