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“Florida Verdict…..”

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"Florida Verdict....."

by Steve H Kehoe

"Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall obtain Mercy". (Matthew 5:7)There does not exist a more horrible crime than the murder of a child by its mother. There seems to be no punishment severe enough that can be levied against such a wretched individual, who has denied her own flesh and blood any semblance of mercy. Yet even the worst offenders are given the right to have representation by attorney, in this, and most other civilized nations. There was a murder trial in Florida just now concluded that was an example of the most horrible murder one can imagine, and we listened both to the evidence set forth by the prosecution and the disturbing theorization by the defense attorney; The drama surpasses anything the Hollywood script writers could concoct in their wildest, darkest dreams. The jury, after seeing and hearing the most convincing, albeit "circumstantial" evidence and testimony ever presented in a courtroom, chose instead to acquit Casey Marie Anthony of murdering her daughter; This, in spite of the most ridiculous defense—proven in that very courtroom to be unfounded! Her own mother perjured herself on the witness stand, declaring that it was she who looked up the use of chloroform on her home computer—84 times! Problem is, co-workers (she is a nurse) stated that she was at work when those inquiries were made! Clearly the defense team only sought to create just enough doubt to confuse the jury and, in turn, that jury rendered a verdict truly based on the legal axiom: "... beyond a reasonable doubt, and to a moral certainty".

Based on that maxim, the jury had to render a verdict of acquittal, since the prosecution failed to connect enough dots to show "Tot Mom" guilty—even of accidental death of her two-year-old Caylee. This is hard—painfully, extremely hard—to accept, but—not to defend it so much as to explain it—we hafta go back to our roots—deep in the Olde English system of justice, which our founding fathers despised, and insisted upon modifying, in the earliest days of our Republic. Learned men, drawing upon four centuries or more of English "justice", sought mightily not to install a similar system of dealing with crime in the New Nation. They cited cases where horrible tortures were inflicted upon the accused—mostly before their being brought to trial, in efforts to make them "confess"! Many times the accused faced a tribunal rather than a jury of their "peers", and the norm then was "guilty as charged until proven innocent!" This was of course the antithesis of our founding fathers' strategy—they wanted a clean break from the abuses of the old English legal system. The by-product of this noble practice (guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, etc. is that sometimes the guilty go unpunished, and are judged to be innocent, due to lack of "proof" of their guilt—caused by unconnected dots by the prosecution. My friend Jim Wheeler, Wood County D.A., explained all this to me back in 2009 when I had the pleasure and privilege of sitting on the Wood County Grand Jury. We were charged with the responsibility of deciding, based on testimony of officers and witnesses, of deciding if cases ought to even come to trial. The system we enjoy in America does not favor the accused, but it does insure that someone accused of a crime, from shoplifting to murder, has a chance to explain in court with a defense attorney, even if that person cannot afford to pay for a sound legal defense.

The system is obviously not perfect—not "leak-proof"—as shown by recent events. But I ask you: Would you willingly trade for a medieval system of justice wherein the accused could expect nothing but having to prove his innocence in matters as trivial as stealing a loaf of bread? (See: Les Miserables). Simply put, although the nation was—and still is—rightly outraged that an outwardly stone-faced, unremorseful Casey Anthony sat devoid of outward emotion day after day in a Florida courtroom, the plain simple truth is that there simply was not enough actual evidence tying her to the crime. Couple that with the defense attorney's "red-herring" offense—intending nothing but creating "reasonable doubt" in the minds of those 12 jurors—and it is little wonder that Casey Anthony was acquitted of murdering her child. Whether or not she did kill her sweet little innocent baby in a most horrific fashion, so that she could live a party-hearty life style, only she and The Almighty know for sure. Those of us convinced that she is hiding some horrible, dark secret can take some measure of solace in knowing that while she may be able to live with—even dismiss this from her mind's eye—for as long as she lives, she will one day face The Ultimate Judge. My catharsis in this horrible case is in putting my thoughts on paper. I hope you have a personal method of your own in trying to understand the depths to which some folks choose to sink, and, if not be able to forgive, perhaps at least, be able to understand how it is that not all evil—in this life, anyway—goes unpunished.

Steve H Kehoe This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it