Tuesday, July 05, 2011

ABC Nightline coverage of Casey Anthony Acquittal is typical; case differs much from earlier Frontline doc on abuse prosecutions

All the media have covered the Casey Anthony case and acquittal today in Florida.  ABC Nightline aired a one hour special this evening.

Earlier, ABC had aired a 41-minute documentary “Crime and Punishment: The Case Anthony Story”, link here (no embed offered).

A major excerpt from the Nightline show is embedded, however.


Dan Abrams and Ashley Banfield provided commentary.

Generally, the legal community feels that the jurors were confused about “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” – that does not mean that no existential questions could remain about the lack of physical evidence.
But generally, comments from the jurors suggest that the State did not prove with physical evidence that the child’s death was not an accident, and then covered up later, clumsily. The mother’s reputation does not in itself constitute enough evidence for conviction.

But it is likely that the prosecution could have convicted her of manslaughter, requiring a smaller jury. Instead, there is only the conviction for lying to police.

Nancy Grace spoke, and she expressed deep disappointment and an existential lack of confidence in our system.

Another point that the legal system does not go after truth in a given case. It goes after justice in a collective sense, going to great lengths to prevent conviction of a guilty person. But we also know, from a recent PBS Frontline report, that in other circumstances prosecutorial abuse and wrongful conviction in child abuse cases (where prosecutors manipulate kids to testify against parents) have been common. Just rent the 2001 film “Just ask My Children”.

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