It shows how comparatively easy it is for the prosecution to get a conviction.
The prosecution is going to rest its case-in-chief without explicitly filling in any missing pieces of the six month period between the time they say the victim died and the time the remains were found. They have established – if you credit George Anthony’s testimony, which should be a really big ‘if’ – when she was last seen alive. Then they have established that the victim’s body was perhaps in the back yard of the Anthony home, and then in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car. And then of course where it was found.
And that’s it. Unless their final witness addresses some of that interim period.
All the potential questions that surround this sequence of events are left unanswered by any direct proof. How could the dead body have been in the back yard of the Anthony home for any period of time without all of the Anthonys becoming aware of it? Who moved the body from the back yard to the trunk? Who moved it from the trunk to the place it was found? When? Indeed, how did the victim even die?
You can infer, from the proof they have offered, that the answers to all of these questions are resolved by concluding that Casey Anthony, acting alone, killed the little girl and performed each of the acts described, unknown to and unobserved by anyone else. In other words, you could give the prosecution the most favorable inference they could possibly get on every single point and find the defendant guilty.
By resting, the prosecution shows that it is reasonably confident that that is exactly what the jury will do. And that illustrates one of the huge differences between prosecuting and defending, one of the things that makes the “burden of proof” idea little more than a joke.
No defense lawyer could ever be so confident of receiving the same treatment from a jury. In fact a defense lawyer has to presume the opposite: unless your contentions are proven with reliable evidence in great detail they will not be believed. You will not only not get every favorable inference, you will get no favorable inferences at all.
Favorable inferences are for the prosecution, not the defense.
In theory, this is a winnable case by pointing out that none of these issues are addressed by any direct proof, that the holes could be filled in as easily with explanations consistent with innocence as they can be with the opposite.
But this is not theory, and there’s a lot at stake.