Casey Anthony Should Testify, No Doubt (Update)

I suppose the defense is terrified to call the defendant, but I’ve got news for you:  prosecutors and judges are forever and always claiming that you’re “stupid” to call the defendant.  Why do you think that is?  The reason is that calling the defendant greatly increases the chances of an acquittal.

What’s to be scared of here for the defense?  The prosecution blew their “let’s dirty her up” ammo in their case in chief.  How much more damage can they do on cross-examination?  Go through all her post mortem antics again?  At this point that would be tedious.  Is Casey Anthony going to break down on the stand and admit she “did it”, like in the old Perry Mason shows?  I don’t think so.  They’ve got a lot of letters of hers and other stuff, but the defense knows about all of it.  They have to prepare her.  But that’s all right, it’s part of the job.

The real danger is that the prosecution is going to look overbearing, cruel and to some extent subtly unsure of themselves – as in desperate – if they go at her too hard – and even if they don’t – and she doesn’t do anything else to damage herself.  Which is kind of hard to imagine.  I mean, what’s worse than the pictures of her at the “hot body” contest when she knew her daughter was dead?  She can only go up from there.

In my mind, there’s no question that Casey Anthony should, must really, take the stand in her own defense and there is no reason to believe that it is any more high risk that what the defense is already facing.  Just get her prepared and put her up there.  Call the prosecution’s and everyone else’s bluff.

Of course, this is all assuming she doesn’t have to lie about anything.  If she’s in a position where she is forced to lie or not testify, she can’t testify.

UpdateHere’s USA Today’s take on the question.  Plenty of unnamed “legal analysts” and a couple of named ones.  The redoubtable Karin Moore makes an appearance.

Note the tone and implication.  She may have to testify, and that is a tactical error by the defense attorney Jose Baez.  Better to just poke holes at the prosecution’s proof, they imply.

Which as a general rule is not true.  Just poking holes in the prosecution’s case is a strategy for losing, but no one will blame you for it if you do it well and actually poke a few holes.  If you want a chance to actually win, though, you’ve got a much better chance if you put the defendant up there.

Sometimes it’s a nightmare preparing them, and I should think that would especially be the case here.  But it’s not necessarily, or even likely to be, a tactical error at all.




Filed under wrongful convictions

4 responses to “Casey Anthony Should Testify, No Doubt (Update)

  1. April

    You have an interesting take on the subject. It looks to me like Casey wants to get on that stand too. She just might convince Baez to go along with her wishes.

    But looking at Casey’s behavior until now, I think she can’t resist putting on a show for the jury. She might get carried away and tell some new lies now.


    • Actually, most defendants are anxious to testify, that’s one thing that isn’t an indication of pathology here. Good that there’s at least one thing. I doubt she’ll get “carried away” if she’s properly prepared.

      Whenever you see an overwhelming consensus like you do about defendants testifying and how it’s a fateful step and how the burden of proof shifts blah blah, and the only reasoning for this is platitudes and anecdotes – you know the consensus is wrong. The people that are really afraid of defendants testifying are…prosecutors. So they bluster on about how they are going to “rip the defendant to shreds” and so on, and for the most part prosecutors are skilled cross examiners, but then again it’s easier for them because everyone they cross examine is already tainted by having been called by the defense to begin with.

      But I always say that “good” cross examining where you “rip the guy to shreds” is overrated. Sometimes it seems that way to you but not to the jury. Did you trick the witness? Maybe, but now the jury knows you’re capable of tricking them. That’s not good. Their worst fear is that they are going to be tricked.

      Anyway, cross examining details aside, the powers that be like it when the defendant doesn’t testify and the jury just sees this silent figure that they can’t help be suspicious of and then they never hear from them and then it’s easy to find them guilty. It’s a lot harder to just find them guilty when they have become a human being in front of you and you have heard their voice and listened to what they have to say. That part of it scares the shit out of prosecutors. They are not supposed to lose.


  2. bluebird

    2 1/2 years in jail may have caused Casey to grow up and maybe face herself. I can not imagine what she was thinking when she was watching herself during the jail house tapes and listening to the prosecution’s witnesses testify. Perhaps she understands herself and her actions better especially if she was having some dissassociative reaction based on the trama of Caylee’s death, sexual abuse etc. If she speaks from her heart, I think she will be believable. But any antics such as those shown in court, and it’s over for her.


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