July 15, 2011

Burden of proof: Comparing the Casey Anthony and sweat lodge cases

Posted: 08:35 AM ET

Atlanta, GA – Last week, in a courtroom in Orlando, Florida, virtually the entire world witnessed an extraordinary example of the American judicial system in action. They saw first-hand the beyond a reasonable doubt burden of proof a jury must, and did, place upon a prosecution team. And, what was unarguably overwhelming circumstantial evidence, meticulously gathered and handled by top investigators, proved to be inadequate to persuade six men and six women that Casey Anthony was responsible for her daughter’s death.

Nevertheless, this jury did exactly what they were charged to do. They maintained Anthony’s innocence throughout and based their decision entirely upon the quality of evidence presented by prosecutors in order to determine her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So, amazingly, a young mother, undeniably and completely responsible for the health and welfare of her two-year-old child, who admittedly lied to law enforcement with regard to the disappearance and death of that child, all in the face of a staggering amount of inculpatory evidence, was found guilty of the lies, but not guilty of the death. 

At the same time, in a courtroom on the other side of the country, a decidedly different scene played out. In stark contrast to the meticulously investigated case surrounding the murder of Caylee Anthony in Florida, in Arizona, we saw a four-month trial, rife with plausible accusations of prosecutorial misconduct and inadequate disclosure of evidence, not to mention a crime scene that was irresponsibly allowed to be destroyed within 48 hours of the crime, well before the defendant was even indicted.

In spite of these alleged prosecutorial transgressions, within almost the same length of deliberation, a jury found James Arthur Ray guilty of three counts of negligent homicide in the deaths of three participants in a sweat lodge he conducted outside of Sedona, Arizona. On the one hand, we had a mother who was forgiven her obvious responsibility for her toddler and probable complicity in her death, and, on the other, we have a charismatic, New-Age guru ultimately found to be responsible for the deaths of a group of capable adults, technically free to come and go as they pleased, yet willingly engaged in an activity that ultimately endangered their lives.

As I’ve pointed out, Arizona v. James Ray had already been plagued by numerous heavily substantiated requests for mistrial. However, making matters worse, the defense recently pointed a finger at prosecutors yet again by citing another instance in what they are calling “a pattern of aggressively unrepentant misconduct by the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office.”

On June 28, a court hearing was held so that the jury could determine if there were aggravating factors associated with Ray’s conduct during the 2009 “Spiritual Warrior” retreat that culminated in the fatal sweat lodge ceremony. In her attempt to argue the aggravating factor of financial gain, prosecutor Sheila Polk played a recording wherein we heard Ray describe the “investment” made by the participants in order to attend the retreat in light of the primitive living conditions at Angel Valley. Upon hearing it, the defense was adamant that this audio had never before been heard in court and they immediately objected. Three days later, Polk filed an avowal claiming that she had, in fact, played this recording during her opening statement four months earlier and that the video of the prosecution’s opening statement, which was presented by defense attorney Tom Kelly to illustrate that the audio in question was not played, was not true.

Earlier this week, after reviewing video of her opening, Polk was finally compelled to file a notice now admitting “that approximately one minute of an audio clip was played in front of the jury during the aggravation hearing that was not played for the jury and admitted during the guilt phase of the trial.” Therefore, not only was audio that was played to the jury something they had never heard before, that audio was never admitted as evidence. On the same day the prosecutor admitted her fault, Ray’s defense attorneys filed a motion for a new trial maintaining that what they believe to be a pattern of misconduct substantiates “real doubt whether a criminal defendant in Yavapai County can have a fair trial” and that “at least, the extreme misconduct in this case [mandates] a new trial and sanctions.”

Within this 98-page motion for a new trial, Mr. Ray’s defense outlined a minimum of ten categories of “egregious prosecutorial misconduct” that “began before the trial and continued through the final hour of the proceedings.” They claim that, among other things, this misconduct was characterized by repeated Brady violations incurred by the State failing to properly disclose evidence. In addition, they pointed to tainting of the jury selection process and improper closing arguments in both the guilt phase and aggravation phase.

Beginning with opening statements on March 1 through its conclusion on June 22, this trial has been hindered by legal arguments and bench conferences almost too numerous to mention. Judge Warren Darrow’s frustration and annoyance were frequently palpable during many of these disagreements and at times he appeared to be overwhelmed by the seemingly intractable disputes. More often than not, rather than making a conclusive ruling one way or the other, Darrow would instead straddle the issue by essentially leaving the decision up to the jury by giving them instructions that further qualified what they could and could not consider.

However, now, given the defense’s ever increasing list of incidents of legal and ethical misconduct, knowing misstatements of law, and Constitutional violations, it may finally be impossible to entirely sidestep this most current infraction, especially since Judge Darrow purportedly considers this to be a particularly serious issue if, in fact, the jury never before heard this audio clip. Even though he has already ruled that the two previous disclosure violations alone did not warrant a mistrial, perhaps the judge might not be able to ignore the cumulative effect of the mounting number of transgressions and, at least, consider a new trial, as the defense has suggested.

It must be noted that this is not the only motion citing prosecutorial misconduct that has come across Judge Darrow’s bench in recent weeks. The strong accusations against prosecutors Sheila Polk and Bill Hughes by Ray’s defense team come on the heels of another motion to dismiss for similar reasons. This time, the motion was filed by the defense team of Steven Democker, whose trial for the murder of his wife will be presided over by Judge Darrow later this year. On the same day that Polk precipitated by filing her notice claiming that the audio she played in the aggravating factors phase of Arizona v. Ray was, in fact, heard by the jury; defense attorney Craig Williams filed a motion to dismiss the State’s case against Steven Democker for prosecutorial misconduct or to disqualify the Yavapai County attorney’s office.

In his motion, Williams reveals that the State Attorney’s office illegally viewed and printed defense documents clearly marked “Ex Parte, In Camera, Under Seal.” Furthermore, this transgression was not reported to the Court or to the defense. The State confesses to viewing and printing these sealed documents, but places blame on the department that manages the computer system and on the Clerk of Courts for improperly filing the documents in a way that allowed inappropriate access. The State contends that, “although [they] accessed documents that it was not supposed to have access to, the mistake was unintentional and was done through procedures not set up by the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office, but rather the Clerk of Court.”

Williams argues, “If the Yavapai County Attorney feels no obligation to follow court orders sealing ex parte documents, how many other cases have the Yavapai County Attorney been spying on?” 

The outcome of the Casey Anthony trial raised a lot of questions to which we may never adequately know the answer. And the trial of James Arthur Ray perhaps further compounds that confusion. The actual guilt or innocence of Anthony and Ray aside, we cannot overlook the vast difference in burdens of proof to which their respective juries held the prosecutors and ponder exactly what prompts a jury to focus so intently on one set of circumstances and virtually ignore another. What caused a Florida jury to be so inflexible with regard to the prosecution’s burden of proof to the point where they seemed to ignore some very obvious circumstances surrounding the death of Caylee Anthony and her mother’s complicity in her death? And what caused an Arizona jury to be so forgiving of an investigator’s egregious ineptitude and a prosecutor’s disregard of proper judicial procedure to the point where they almost completely ignored the State’s burden of proof, sometimes placing it on the defense, thereby turning the whole system on its head? In these two cases we have clearly seen how a jury can determine the outcome of a trial by alternately giving more weight to the decidedly more emotional factors surrounding circumstantial evidence or to the more logical and pragmatic factors surrounding physical evidence. Nevertheless, it is the best system we have and we must trust that if a panel of basically 12 strangers reaches a decision unanimously, it is the right decision.

-Jim Kyle, In Session Field Producer

Filed under: Casey and Caylee Anthony • James Arthur Ray • Sweat Lodge

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segolene giacomoni   July 15th, 2011 8:57 am ET

"Nevertheless, it is the best system we have and we must trust that if a panel of basically 12 strangers reaches a decision unanimously, it is the right decision.' : u feel very disturbed : after following Casey's trial, and reading your article, i decidedly can't believe it is true
i have to come to the conclusion that the system of picking a jury is where the flaw is
i also would like to express that i felt slightly better to hear juror #3 say that they discarded everything the Jose Baez said – i found it deeply shocking to see them celebrate victory – when Caley is dead – and they seem very much OK with this
where does Justice reside ? when technicality overpowers the value of the life of a child

trialwatcher   July 15th, 2011 10:17 am ET

My heart is breaking for Zenaida Fernandez Gonzales, a humble,, good, honest, hardworking woman who is a good mother and family member. Dear God please give her the same generous justice that she so deserves and which was so generously granted to Casey Anthony. Please let some kind souls reach out and offer her money and homes and therapy and a fresh start just as has been offered to Casey Anthony. I am not exaggerating when I say my heart is breaking for her: Already the judge has recused himself and now Zenaida is denied the opportunity to face the woman who disgacefuly impacted the lives of Zenaida and her children. Casey says she wants a fresh start and an honest life and a good place to start would be for Casey to redress the horrendous wrong she did to Zenaida.

Donna Duggan   July 15th, 2011 10:21 am ET

Why can't an injunction be filed against Casey Anthony that she not leave Orange County until the lawsuits are heard and setlled?

trialwatcher   July 15th, 2011 10:29 am ET

I am watching In Session right now and I am in despair at how gleefully the rights of Casey's victims i.e., Zenaida are dismissed and cast aside. Each and every commentator has a broad smile while they minimize what happened to Zenaida and they state Zenaida does not LOOK traumatized, Are these not the same commentators that were reporting the injustice done to a woman who was attacked because she looks a little like Casey. Well, do your thing –dismiss this less than 10 woman, explain how technically and irrelevant Zenaida'sd injuries are . As for me , I will pray for Justice for Zenaida.

Lorraine Blum   July 15th, 2011 11:34 am ET

Both Ray and Casey Anthony are guilyt, it was a good jury that found that in the obvious disregard for lives in Ray trial and a seriously stupid or evil jury for Casey Anthony who killed an innocent child so horribly with no after thought at all.
I am hoping that everyone remember little Caylee and BOYCOTT any Casey Anthony or her jurors books or appearances.
If there is to be any money earned it should go to supporting Caylee's law.
Please BOYCOTT all interviews, movie & books.

Lorraine Blum   July 15th, 2011 11:36 am ET

Boycott any and all interviews and books that deal with this case show your support for Caylee and do not allow the jurors or casey to become stars over her death.

SQ   July 15th, 2011 12:24 pm ET

I am so dissappointed in the verdict.How could she been not find guility.The jury dropped the ball.I watched the trial from start to finish I saw a different trial.

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 1:30 pm ET

There is no comparison because this girl
did NOT kill her daughter! And the longer people go refusing to believe this the more children will come up missing sorry to say.
Some people sound as if they live in la la land, children go abducted all the time what makes her case so unbelievable?
Oh yea I know the lies- she is a liar right?
The only thing she is guilty of is trying to protect her child by lying. She was thinking a long the lines of if I say anything to the police they might try to kill her. That's why SHE didn't call the police. Now she might be blaming her mother for putting them all in this situation in the first place, maybe that's why she won't talk to her or accept her visit!
Just because she told the police the girls name was Zenaida & they only found that one Zenaida, doesn't mean she was lying to the police! The person probably lied to her about her name!
Geesh this is not rocket science!
I know none of you believe this girl is innocent but please tell me what would she have to gain to kill her? Nothing! She could have left her child with her parents & let them take custody, she still would have seen her when she wanted to.
The fbi needs to listen to your show & the people who call in & the statements people send in by the computer because this case is definately not over. One of your callers from CA said it takes a long time to put a child to sleep this way & the children will fight you, ( I am wondering how she knows) & the thought occurred to me that maybe this was done by a kiddy porn ring or something.

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 1:31 pm ET

what I mean is if we keep blaming the innocent the guilty get to walk free & they win

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 1:40 pm ET

ok so the apt manager or property manager do not show cards or apartment applications to random people! They might if they were friends with someone but then that would show this whole thing was planned & I really don't think Casey would go through all this trouble!
Someone needs to look into all the people who worked at Saw grass & see if any left their job suddenly for a weak reason. This whole thing was extremely strategically planned.

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 1:50 pm ET

It was clearly evident to me that the person she gave her child to didn't live in that apt because she dropped the child off on the steps!
The person was lying about living there probably thinking that she wouldn't ask to go inside the apt & lo & behold she didn't! They took advantage of her naitivity (spelling).
She spoke in code or dropped hints to the police hoping they would catch on.

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 1:54 pm ET

She said the house was off of Glenwood & she asked her brother about the windy city.

richard   July 15th, 2011 1:56 pm ET

Hey anonymous didn't she live at a house off of Glenwood or have friends there?

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 1:57 pm ET

richard I think so, I thought I read somewhere she lived with Aimee @ some other people at a place off of glenwood

Camille Kimball   July 15th, 2011 2:05 pm ET

I am a non-fiction crime writer and have been attending the James Arthur Ray trial in Camp Verde, Arizona. I cannot agree that the Arizona jury "disregarded" prosecutorial misconduct. At no time did Judge Darrow instruct the jury to acquit Ray because of rulings against prosecutor Sheila Polk. They were instructed to deliberate guilt or innocence. They did that.

And, btw, Sheila Polk is not the sinister character the Ray defense paints her. She played an important role in Phoenix by refusing to prosecute several political enemies of a pair of powerful politicians, which took guts. I think she is an interesting figure going up a cadre of lawyers whose collective salaries may rival her office's entire budget.

Camille Kimball
True Crime

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 2:11 pm ET

She told her mother on the jail phone she won't confide in strangers, but she was willing to try to talk to LP in the very beginning. He was a stranger. This doesn't sound like she was guilty of something to me.

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 2:14 pm ET

they say she doesn't show emotion but during the 911 call when her mother put her on the phone & she said my daughter has been missing for the last 31 days, she gets choked up. You can hear it in her voice.

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 2:29 pm ET

Strange she said Zanny had a brother from New York & I remember reading a report of subpoenas & mixed up in there were emails that mentioned a guy who worked @ Sawgrass as maintenance or something who only had his job for 2 months. He suddenly decided to leave his job when all of this was going down & he told his manager that he was leaving because he didn't feel comfortable & was going to New York.

anonymous   July 15th, 2011 2:32 pm ET

probably because the jury in Arizonia didn't have vacations to get to and actually looked at some evidence or took notes, unlike the jurors in the B*&^H's trial. I find it ironic that some of the jurors are saying now that they were sick to their stomachs because they believed she was guilty, well HELLO you should have been in discussing longer than 11 hours and actually looked at evidence. she should have been at least been found guilty of child neglect or endangerment! I hope and pray that Zaneida wins her case.

trialwatcher   July 15th, 2011 2:41 pm ET

Legal strategy????????? Let's rename Defense Attorneys as the Official Department of Law Obstruction and Hindrance of Justice.

Zenaida was homeless and so were her children and Casey had people fighting to have her live with them.. You might think what is being done here is "SMART" lawyering but it is an outrage, moral and legal, to allow roadblocks to be placed before Zenaida in her quest for justice.

I am about to vomit.

Good start on your new and moral life, Casey.

mj   July 15th, 2011 3:16 pm ET

Mr Kyle didn't observe the same Casey Anthony and James Ray trials that I observed and I couldn't disagree more wth his conclusions. Indeed, I'm wondering if he isn't a James Ray's Spiritual Warrior! Yikes! In both the James Ray and antd Casey Anthony cases, the defense teams used disingenuous obfuscations and outright fabrications to divert the jurors' attentions from the overwhelming direct and circumstantial evidence of guilt that existed in great abundance in both cases. The James Ray jurors saw through the defense's "whole cloth" pesticicide smoke screen, but the Casey Anthony jury didn't have the same wisdom, judgement or intellect to figure out that the defense was blatantly and outrageously manipulating them with the so called Anthony family dysfunction smoke screen. The Casey Anthony defense team intentionally destroyed lives and reputations to free this sick, lying, self absorbed , evil young woman. That's a travesty. I honor the constitutional protections afforded accused persons in our system. I deplore using those protections as justification for sleezy defense tactics that destroy lives, sacrifice truth and obliterate any semblance of justice for an innocent, beautiful, trusting, sweet child who was left to rot in a swamp by ther pitiful excuse for a mother.

ick   July 15th, 2011 3:19 pm ET

Thankfully for Casey, she did not say the Nanny's name was John Smith or Mike Jones, otherwise she would have millions more defamation suits against her than just the one.

Debbie   July 15th, 2011 4:11 pm ET

I believe there should have already had a law in place in every state that a jury could'nt profit off of serving jury duty. I hope that Zeinada get some justice from Casey defaming her character. I remember seeing her deposition and how Cindy Anthony really insulted this woman. Please those who feel that Casey verdict was wrong, please boycott anything to do with the Casey or her family. The entire Anthony family is in need of some serious conseling.

Ruth Tucker   July 15th, 2011 4:40 pm ET

I don't buy the notion that we have to blindly accept the jury's verdict...One juror said they LOVED Jose Baez, not so much, Jeff Ashton...Another said they didn't believe anything George said.. George was NOT on trial, or was he? A defense consultant admitted they monitored social media, learning that many people didn't believe him or like him, thus the attack on George....Is this 'trial by public opinion?' And if so, is it ethical?

I believe this verdict was based more on popularity, innuendo, speculation, public opinion via social mediums and less on actual evidence....I believe, (based on comments coming from jurors) that they made up their minds long before the state rested...I believe they took Baez's opening statements as fact and disregarded the state's case all-together...

Ken Rubenstein   July 15th, 2011 5:05 pm ET

No mysteries or obscurities in the Ray trial. Everything is known and was witnessed ad nauseum. The only thing jurors really had to decide was whether Ray was responsible for those deaths or people were responsible for their own decision to stay in sweat lodge. Whole different thing from the Anthony trial.

Kathleen   July 15th, 2011 5:58 pm ET

Even though I was devastated by the verdict, I glad this is finally winding down. There has been no justice for Caylee. I plan to boycott all media (TV, books, movies, etc) as well as any sponsors (ads/commercials that may appear) on televised programs about these people or this case. I'm sick to my stomach that this woman will be free to live her life when that poor baby rotted away like trash. Frankly, I'm sure she'll be looking over her shoulder every minute she's walking the streets....this might include anyone who may befriend her (I think they'd be in for a rough time as well).

Rich James   July 15th, 2011 7:42 pm ET

Fabricated evidence should NEVER be permitted to cause a innocent person to be convicted. Clearly the Anthony jury did their job and could recognize BS when they smelled it.

lynne   July 16th, 2011 7:46 am ET

as far as iam concerned ashton is no better then baez!!! i did not see the defence team laughing thru the whole trial!!!! one of the insession team said it was a little smile he covered hismouth!! apparently not well enough the whole world saw him laughing!!! and baez hugging casey come on whats wrong with a little compassion are we all cold hearted people!!!!!

what????   July 16th, 2011 10:21 am ET

Anonymous: she didn't call the police because she was afraid for her daughter's life???
HELLLOOO her defense was that the kid drowned in the pool by accident and her father helped covered it up...
So which is it? She drowned and they covered it up?? Or the Nanny took her and she was afraid to go to police???
See she is a calculating liar...

huey1   July 16th, 2011 3:41 pm ET

To those who pay her for an interview on their show or an article in their paper or book, I will not watch or read the interview and I will never watch the show or read that paper or book again.

mj   July 17th, 2011 12:16 am ET

Mr Kyle didn't observe the same Casey Anthony and James Ray trials that I observed and I couldn't disagree more wth his conclusions. Indeed, I'm wondering if he isn't a James Ray's Spiritual Warrior! Yikes! In both the James Ray and and Casey Anthony cases, the defense teams used disingenuous obfuscations and outright fabrications to divert the jurors' attentions from the overwhelming direct and circumstantial evidence of guilt that existed in great abundance in both cases. The James Ray jurors saw through the defense's "whole cloth" pesticide smoke screen, but the Casey Anthony jury didn't have the same wisdom, judgment or intellect to figure out that the defense was blatantly and outrageously manipulating them with the so called Anthony family dysfunction smoke screen. The Casey Anthony defense team intentionally destroyed lives and reputations to free this sick, lying, self absorbed, evil young woman. That's a travesty. I honor the constitutional protections afforded accused persons in our system. I deplore using those protections as justification for sleazy defense tactics that destroy lives, sacrifice truth and obliterate any semblance of justice for an innocent, beautiful, trusting, sweet child who was left to rot in a swamp by ther pitiful excuse for a mother.

LLL   July 17th, 2011 5:33 am ET

Ray was found guilty because of his egregious actions, which were observed by many. The ridiculous posturing of his DT notwithstanding, he DID prevent at least one person from leaving, disregarded pleas from participants who told him one of the women was not breathing, and got up and left to shower and eat while people lay dying in the mud at his feet. His past actions were similar. He had reason to know he was endangering people as several had become seriously ill at earlier events, at such times he ignored them as well and had hissy fits if 911 was called.

I can't believe anyone who has heard ALL of the evidence, instead of just what the jury was allowed to hear, can think he is not guilty. What is up with IS? First you are all allowing his behavior is at least suspect and egregious, then you cut off the trial midway, and now all of a sudden this guy is innocent? Brady violation, my rear. The defense was blowing smoke – they claimed the report was exculpatory when it plainly was not. After they achieved their "violation" ruling from the judge, they didn't even call the witness because they knew his report was not exculpatory, and in fact, supported the superheated environment model. Li lied to the judge when he described what was in the report. The judge seems not to have read the report for himself.

To me, both CA and JAR are guilty.

imaval67   July 17th, 2011 12:43 pm ET

Casey did not leave orlando. When casey got into the SUV I saw a person in white in the very back seat jump over the seat. Then later when they showed the airport there is a person running into the airport dressed in white. I don't think she ever left orlando

Dave   July 18th, 2011 12:40 pm ET

I always thought Casey would either be acquitted or only convicted of manslaughter. The prosecution over charged the case, then tried to use flimsy unvalidated scientific evidence to get the conviction. I started out as a bench chemist at the beginning of my career, and I would not have trusted the science presented here. The judge helped the prosecution every step of the way by ruling in their favor in about 99% of the pre-trial rulings. They should have charged Casey with manslaughter, left out the junk science, and focused on her being implicated by covering up what happened. The defense did its job, especially in jury selection. The system worked, even though the result was not what most hoped for...

Sherrell   July 18th, 2011 1:03 pm ET

First of all, I have watched and kept up with this case since 2008. I have 2 daughters of my own and they are 15 and 19. But if they were missing from me for 1 minute, I would be panicing, much less 31 days or ever how mant there were. My oldest daughter is in college 3 states away and as old as she is she calls or text home at least 20 times a day. But that is not really the point, I am just saying that any normal person, if their child (age newborn to whatever) if they were a loving parent and loved their children would not act the way she did. And YES, she did kill that beautiful baby girl. My thing is she got away with murder and what happens to her when she has another baby and kills that one too. Will then the jurors think, yeah we should have convicted her.

kay   July 18th, 2011 6:21 pm ET

Jury selection in this country has become a "business." Attorneys call in experts in reading body language, background checks, etc., who will provide personal profiles of prospective jurors. They pick the ones they believe will give them the verdict they desire. Jose Baez's team did their job well - he got the verdict he wanted. It was the prosecution's job to negate the choice of certain jurors, but they didn't. Same with O.J. I've read several accounts of the jury selection process in that case, and the prosecution was so sure they had him, they didn't bother to challenge the choices made by the defense team. We're not tried by a jury of our peers anymore - and jurors are not strangers to defense attorneys. Analyzing jurors is big business, and big business has never improved any system that I know of.

Rich James   July 19th, 2011 1:19 pm ET

Nobody other than the InSession group of discredited former prosecuting attorneys bought the "84 searches for chloroform" fable. All one needed to do is LISTEN to the fact that mere minutes were shown between the time that whomever it was that was on the computer mentioned that one of Casey's (many" boyfriends had posted something on you tube about it and the visit to you tube to see it, took place.
You folks can posture all you wish in implying that the state will not try to "fudge" their "evidence" in order to gain a conviction, but anybody who has been around the horn a few times and have seen the various circumstantial "evidence" trials knows there is very little they WON'T DO to come out a winner.

Sands   July 19th, 2011 2:58 pm ET

Imagine Casey changing her name, dating and the guy thinks he is dating a Casey look alike!?!?! Boy wouldn't that be interesting?

Everybody filing Civil Suites I hope you all win!!!! Sue the pants off her!

This case is far from over because there is so much back lash coming her way.....

I can hardly wait for her next screw up and she end up back in jail.

If she got away in a private plane, i.e. $50,000 who paid that expense? Who is paying to hide her? Who is paying for a new wardrobe? Who is paying for all these etc. etc. etc. bills regarding Casey Anthony?

Loren   July 19th, 2011 4:05 pm ET

The premise of the article in part is that the Anthony prosecution presented evidence that conclusively showed that she was responsible for her daughter's death. I did not follow the trial every day, so maybe he is aware of more evidence than I am, but one glaring hole I saw was the chloroform testimony, which in itself should have led to an acquital. While the prosecution had a "scientist" testify to an exceedingly high level, in none of the testimony I read were base levels established, nor what levels would result from decomposition. This is a glaring flaw in the prosecution's case and in a reasonable person's mind cast doubt on their claim that Casey Anthony used chloroform to kill her daughter.

Don't say this is a jury issue when it is clearly a case of weak prosecutions (like the O.J. trial) and poor judges.

not quite   July 19th, 2011 4:08 pm ET

am concerned that the only charges available were murder in the first for anthony and negligent homicide for ray if the prosecution wasnt so firm in the type of charges she may've have been found guilty. where the lesser charge was compelling to the jury for ray's trial

trialwatcher   July 19th, 2011 4:57 pm ET

I was not at all impressed with the 84 searches for chloroform but I just can't get past chloroform in parts per million in that trunk. That's an amt. 1000x any reasonable expectation. Searches or not , chloroform was used on that poor child and probably many times.

vaughn   July 19th, 2011 7:41 pm ET

Everybody should know that the prosecution would do anything to convict just as rich james said, but they won`t admit it. Sometimes it seems like a game just like judge Perry said. I believe all evidense from both sides should be brought in front of the jury and then they might be able to come out with a true verdict.

trialwatcher   July 20th, 2011 9:36 am ET

I find it hard to believe that the state would willingly slant evidence to win a conviction in a death penalty case. Wouldn't that make them murderers?.

Jenny   July 20th, 2011 2:07 pm ET

Well Well, apparently there was only one chloroform search on the anthony computer not 84. This was a known fact from the beginning prior to the vedict. The company that did the computer searches admitted that they made a mistake. Good news for the jury. They did the right thing. So much for the widespread belief that Casey used chloroform to put her child to sleep, then overdose her. LOL

Sands   July 20th, 2011 2:35 pm ET

Unfortunately the realm of the court turns into a game of chess/poker, etc. and the defendant/s and victims become a part left by the way side! Prosecutor/defense are at battle in the game for winning.....It is no longer a matter for finding the truth but rather WINNING!!! What is even stranger about the game is that outside the courtroom for the most part the Judge/Prosecutor/Defense are great friends and party together! I've been involved with this type of friendship for years and it does go on. They fight within the realm but go home and have lunch/dinner with each other! They are all in bed together!!!!!


trialwatcher   July 20th, 2011 5:59 pm ET

I can't make up my mind about the Ray case. It must have been tough for the jury to come to a verdict and there was plenty of questionable judgment involved. I thought James Ray's ego was very noticeable in the tapes of his sessions that were played. I recall thinking, tha itt all probably sounded wise and profound to him as he said it but I imagine he really cringed inside to hear the replay. I imagine it sounded much different to him. The thing that troubles me is the massive amount of abuse he heaped on the participants: he had them lay in one position as if dead for endless hours, he ridiculed and chastised them, he most certainly overcharged them, he controlled them, and he dismissed their opinions and comments. Why did they accept this behavior? They were educated people, many of whom worked in professions which required them to know the signs of abuse and to be familiar with the behaviors of an abuser. I just kept telling myself, I don't need to pay $10,000 to be abused or travel a long way to be abused. I can find plenty of people nearby who would be happy to abuse me for free. It reminds me of a joke about the very mentally sick man who quit counseling and explained his decision to his family: " Why should I pay 125 dollars an hour to lie to the counselor when I can lie to all of you for free?"

As always, as much as I like to watch trials, I was so glad I was not on the jury.

suzannealsaif   July 20th, 2011 8:19 pm ET

Does anyone else wonder will there ever be a point in their lifetime that, as God gazes down upon the inhumane humans, and decides enough is enough?

vaughn   July 20th, 2011 10:42 pm ET

Trialwatcher; Do you think the state really cares? I have my doubts on that. I think that some get convicted just for exactly what we find hard to believe. Did you by chance hear Judge Perry say that if both sides didn`t take someones statements by a certain date, they couldn`t testify? Look how the state brought in their last two witnesses. Those two witnesses didn`t testify in the pretrial!! To answer your question, that probably would make them murderers but they can get away with it.

trialwatcher   July 21st, 2011 9:54 am ET

I wonder what is meant by "base levels being established for chloroform.?" Dr. Vas repeatedly stated that where chloroform is found it is found in parts per trillion. That is the recognized base level for chloroform. The trunk air contained parts per million, a concentration 1000x stronger than parts per trillion. To get a picture of this, take 1 quart of water and add 1000 packages of Kool Aid-–that is analogous to the amount of chloroform found with the gas spectrometer. By the way, one of the air sample cans was opened after the trial according to In Session and HLN and the odor of decomposition was still recognizable. This world would be total chaos if everyone smelled human decomp in a different way, or grieved in a different way. If everyone's behavior was totally unpredictable, no one would know how to help or respond. With some variations, human behavior is fairly uniform for certain situations. Abnormal behavior, pathological behavior, insane behavior, and criminal behavior should not be held up as variations on the norm. It is precisely because these behaviors are not part of the norm, and because they are so devastating to the common good that we go to such lengths to address them. Sorry, but everybody does things differently is not a defense to lying, stealing, killing, libel, identity theft or any other crime. In the end, we all will find that we are responsible and accountable for what we do. Circumstances don't create our character, circumstances reveal our character.

It has been said numerous time during the trial that a defense attorney's job is to CREATE reasonable doubt. I was taught long ago that the defense's job was to point out the reasonable doubt that EXISTS. What a world of difference there is in the two.

trialwatcher   July 21st, 2011 10:24 am ET

Thank you Vaughn, I suppose I just think a normally sane person with a functioning conscience would not want to bear responsibility for an unjust execution, but I am learning a lot lately. I'm sad to say you are probably correct: some persons don't care as long as they win.

Sands   July 21st, 2011 2:51 pm ET

I am curious as to weather this district attorney was planning to retire before he took this case, during or after he lost the case? It is kind of curious to me....


trialwatcher   July 21st, 2011 4:26 pm ET

Sorry I wrote parts per million instead of the accurate parts per billion. Parts per million would be 100,000x the base level of parts per trillion. In the trunk, chloroform was present in concentration of parts per billion. It is difficult to convey how significant this evidence is and if a jury does not take the time and effort to try to understand it, it will not be seen as important. To one who has the responsibility to provide drugs to others in correct therapeutic doses and concentrations, I am aware of the significance of this. I often have to mix powdered medications into proper solutions and God help my patient and myself if I give a concentration 1000x more concentrated than ordered. My patient would likely be dead and I would be in jail charged with criminal negligence.

Rich James   July 21st, 2011 5:50 pm ET

Those of you who profess to be fans of the chloroform "evidence" need to be away that it is a gas which can form naturally from decomposition of not just human remains, but other forms of byproducts of carbon based life forms.(cheese burgers, for example)
Had the dolts not chosen to throw away the garbage rather than to test it, it likely would have been found to be the prime contributor of ALL the gases found in the locked vehicle.

Debbie   July 22nd, 2011 12:08 am ET

These few days I have had time to reflect on what I just witness in the Casey Anthony trial. I get the same feeling that I got when OJ was found not guilty. Just plain old disgusted. I am even more disgusted with Casey, because she has destroyed so many people lives. People who truly cared,for her. But what distrubs me, to the point that I am left shaking my head, just with the thought, of hearing that Casey and her pimp(Baez) of an attorney is trying to capitalize off the death of her daugther. How disgraceful are they, lowlife scumb, no moral or values. no self-respect.What has this world come too. That you put a value on your dead daugther life. Shame on you Casey and Baez.

trialwatcher   July 22nd, 2011 9:49 am ET

Respectfully, Rich James, that was the point of Dr. Vas's testimony-chloroform IS released by many decomposing materials including rotten foods and rotting human bodies but never in concentrations as high as found in the trunk. Considering the volatility of chloroform in free air, the concentration is astonishing. The implication is that a large quantity of spilled chloroform was spilled in that trunk and soaked up by the carpet.

Don   July 23rd, 2011 9:19 pm ET

I'll watch and/or buy anything Casey related. I can't wait for her book. All you naysayers know that you would buy it too. It's so awesome that Casey is laughing all the way to the bank at you fools.

Rich James   August 4th, 2011 5:09 pm ET

If Perry wants to penalize somebody in regards to Anthony's probation being completed, let him address whomever sent the letter stating such.
Had they sent a letter instructing her to stick her head into a tub full of urine, she would have been expected to do so or she would be "in contempt".

Linda   August 10th, 2011 11:08 am ET

The judge in the Anthony case should have made it clear that her address and whereabouts be available for those who have legal issues with her. She should not be permitted to hide out from the suits against her by Zenaida Gonzalez or Texas Equisearch or anyone else that paid thousands of dollars to help her if she indeed knew her baby had drowned! Why is there no logic in this? As for James Ray, I am sick and tired of hearing his defense team whine and cry and make accusations against the D.A.'s office as if they committed the crime. Everyone knows he's trying to get off on a technicality and even though he's been convicted, he's still out walking free. One other question: If Warren Jeffs's jury was allowed to hear tapes during the penalty phase that were not submitted during the trial, why is Arizona considering what Sheila Polk did during the mitigation phase possible reason for a mistrial. I have never known of a trial where the defense was stopped from submitting many relevant factors. Put them all in one jail cell and let them commiserate with each other.

trialwatcher   August 25th, 2011 5:17 pm ET

Re:Anthony-Baez so abused the juries imprisoned time on duty as did Perry INDULGING Baez then granting a 4hr closing argument between this & that lengthy travesty of a defense, a "guilty" verdict meant more "Baez torture" (no telling how long further imprisonment might be). Having suffered great monetary loss & 1 about to lose a grand for a cruise, "innocent" meant emotional & monetary freedom. They applied logic "in their own" interest, they'd sacrificed enough. Re: OJ's "not guilty" was the ONLY LEGAL VERDICT in light of a cop? (Mark Fuhrman) having tampered? with evidence. It was the cop & the law NOT the jury responsible for that injustice. Live & learn

Keith Bocock   September 15th, 2011 5:02 pm ET

If a man had been on trial for killing Caylee Anthony, or any other
child, he definately would have been found guilty.
He would also have received the death penalty.


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