I have had many people ask me what I, as a criminal defense attorney, think about the Casey Anthony trial. Let me put it out there like this:
I think it’s over. I think we’ll never know what “really” happened.
I think this case was an anomaly. I think there will likely never be another one quite like it. I think there will be other “big” cases. I think we will never see a sadder one, with with the horrible fact of a toddler’s death, a tormented young mother, a delayed reporting, a family forever fractured, etc etc etc – and, oh, yeah, with LOTS of media coverage.
I think that we as a society have learned valuable lessons here. I think people should learn more about the criminal justice system. I think everyone should take time to not rush to judgment. I think that the concept of “truth” in legal proceedings took a terrible blow, and I think that a terrible message was sent to our children, that it is OK to lie and get away with doing bad things. I think our justice system as a whole has been wounded, and only with the people educating themselves on the law will it ever fully recover.
I think the legal field has learned a lot. I think that we know we are in a social media age, where attorneys can fashion their arguments on the fly to suit what the world is saying about the case on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and the like. I think that we have seen that it doesn’t take a whole lot of skill sometimes, as much as it takes a whole lot of luck. I think that we should step back as attorneys and look at trial ethics, and hold ourselves to the highest standards.
I think that the media should take a close look at its ethics, balancing the need to report on crime with the desire to create ratings. I think that the courts should be fairly and closely covered and reported on. I think sensationalistic journalism – manifested in the race to have the latest and most scandalous stories in order to draw watchers – should be outlawed. I think that it’s not going to get better before it gets worse, as the world desperately seeks its next trial to satiate its desire for the outlandish.
So, that’s what I think. I think that’s what I think. Let me think about it. . .