Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Casey Anthony Verdict Not Guilty Despite Three Years Of One-Sided Media Presuming Guilt

Posted by Peter Quennell

One thing that LA Times headline above means is that media bias against the defendant made not one whit of difference.

The seriously ailing CNN network’s Headline News channel (legal anchors Nancy Grace and Jane Velez Mitchell) have very stridently promoted the notion that Casey Anthony probably killed her toddler Caylee almost nightly for three years, to drive up their viewership ratings.

It had zero effect on the Florida jury. Now Headline News looks like a toothless tiger, and one prone to dangerous mistakes.

The jury studied the evidence and made up its own mind (in 11 hours) and so that is that. Mainstream media is outraged but looking puny. Here is a scathing comment from the defense lawyers saying they got it seriously wrong.

Anthony’s defense attorney, Jose Baez, said this verdict proves, “You cannot convict someone until they’ve had their day in court.”

A second defense attorney for Anthony, Cheney Mason, blasted the media in a statement, saying, “I hope that this is a lesson to those of you who have indulged in media assassination for three years, bias, and prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be.”

The few early media reports about “Foxy Knox” are like a candle to the blowtorch of this seeming never-ending pro-guilt commentary.

The usual couple of examples waved around are from the UK. In fact Italy saw next to no anti-Knox commentary, and one of the ways Italy looks rather fine in the Knox case is their media have been so restrained.

Read the Massei Report 10 times and you will be lucky to find one sentence that suggests “The media made us declare her guilty”.  It just didn’t happen. The jury studied the evidence and made up its own mind (in a few hours) and so that is that.

In contrast to the Casey Anthony trial, the full spectrum of evidence in the Knox-Sollecito trial is very strong and even redundant, violence obviously was done (no signs of violence were found on Caylee Anthony) and there are no other likely scenarios or perps.

Okay, media guys. For starters, report the facts from Perugia correctly. And do some translation - or read ours. Surely that cannot hurt more than this.


I, like many people, had my own initial views about Casey Anthony. However, I am happy to respect the decision of the jury and I wish Ms Anthony well for the future.

A Daily Mail article about Amanda Knox’s friend Madison Paxton. Breathtaking in several ways. Here are just two.

1. Ms Paxton has previously been virulently hostile to the Daily Mail. Why is she giving interviews to the newspaper now?

2. This quote: ” ‘I hope more than anything that come September we can be roommates… But first we must prove she didn’t kill her last one,’ Paxton said.”

Yes, folks. According to the Daily Mail, she said that. Like I say, jaw-dropping insensitivity.

Posted by Janus on 07/06/11 at 02:30 AM | #

Alan Dershowitz is doing a terrific commentary on the Piers Morgan Show on CNN. We absolutely should get a transcript of that. Catch it later if you missed it.

He observes that the US system goes above all for legal correctness. Not punishment or justice. Here the jurors were given very precise instructions to connect up the dots or acquit and he thinks they followed them.

He faults the talking heads for not conveying this aspect of the system over many past months and thus getting audiences whipped up and now disappointed.

He seems to rate much higher the professional-based systems of France, Italy, even China and Russia, and blames the US having the highest proportion of incarcerated citizens (8X Italy) in the world on amateur jurors trying to follow rules.

TV tonight is quite fun. All the legal talking heads lambasting all the talking heads and the jurors. Dershowitz is the only one coolly talking some sense.

A systemic problem in the US which needs public attention a lot more than that “third world” system east of France.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/06/11 at 04:37 AM | #

In my opinion Casey Anthony got lucky, like in OJ Simpson lucky. Unlucky Scott Peterson, who was convicted on no evidence whatsoever, sitting now on death row.

Peter, the Casey Anthony verdict doesn’t strengthen my belief in justice, to the contrary, it weakens it. It makes me doubt that there is any justice to expect for the victims at all. There is no guarantee.

Posted by Nell on 07/06/11 at 05:26 AM | #

Like Peter, I noticed the statement made by Casey Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez, quoted in the Miami Herald: “This case has brought on new challenges of all of us,’’ he said. “Challenges in the criminal justice system, challenges in the media, and I think we should all take this as an opportunity to learn and to realize that you cannot convict someone until they’ve had their day in court.”

Knox and Sollecito had their day in court and were found guilty of murder. The appellate jury will look at the evidence again, and if they keep justice first in their minds they will study all of the evidence.  Like the Anthony jury, they will probably not be swayed by the media hype surrounding the case.

The important lesson to be learned from the Anthony case is that the the US, like most countries in the world, still operates under the rule of law.  Verdicts are not decided on Facebook or Headline News.  The legal system may have its flaws, but the alternative is to grab a stone in your yard and head to the town square to stone to death a neighbor accused of a crime.

Posted by Sailor on 07/06/11 at 09:27 AM | #

this trial and others like it speak more to the quality of the jury than anything else IMO. fortunately in the Meredith Kercher case the jury are law professionals who have an actual understanding of what is presented and what verdicts are open to them.

without a doubt the media in the US but elsewhere bears a big responsibility as we witness now with the despicable revelations of yet another Murdoch tabloiid in the UK. while the 24/7 news cycle has kept us better informed, it also has done much damage in the scramble for the next big thing.

RIP little Caylee, doubtful you’ll ever have justice.

Posted by mojo on 07/06/11 at 09:48 AM | #

Hi mojo. I think you refer to the UK’s News of the World and a reporter illegally tapping the phone messages of a missing teenage girl later found murdered and deleting some of them as her voicemail box was full in case someone wanted to leave a message about where she was?

I see there is even a parliamentary session just on that (tonight?). I am very much glass half full on most things as I have seen a few good people achieve astonishing things (every movement has small beginnings) and this post below fitted in with my general optimism that media can be whacked into some responsibility:

The US is not a member of the European court though (along with Israel) it participates in the European group of the UN. There are going to be test cases soon to see which trumps - rulings of that court or the US’s first amendment which sometimes allows bad things.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/06/11 at 02:46 PM | #

Hi Nell. I think we are essentially agreed as far as the US system is concerned.

Justice for the victim needs to be moved more front and center system-wide and it would be helpful if the media understood and promoted that instead of beating up on the jury. (Some talking heads here do defend them but Dershowitz was the only one I saw going to root causes.)

Great comment by Sailor. Individual cases should never be swayed by the media. All this emotion and opinion they whip up can be very tenuously grounded in the real facts.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/06/11 at 03:11 PM | #

The media is outraged at the media. Some aspects seem promising, and some not.

ABC News on the media.

CBS News on the media.

The Los Angeles Times on the media:,0,7487243.story

And Fox News on the media:

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/06/11 at 03:21 PM | #


Casey Anthony slipped the leash, but justice is bigger than a few years of legal torture. We can only assume Casey’s freedom is the will of God. She will show her true colors again.

The real family implosion will occur now. I hope Cindy can get free of all her “loved ones” (ha!) and heal. Sometimes a man’s enemies are they of his own household.

Peter is correct. Emotion and frenzy whipped up by media do not help justice. The Italians will not be swayed by media but by the evidence put forward in court.

Fortunately Italian juries are made of pros, not amateurs suddenly told to follow rules and Alpha jurors who pressure Betas to vote their way. Some jurors cave to get out of the misery of weeks trapped in a hotel room sequestered. Italians aren’t tormented like that during decision time.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/06/11 at 05:53 PM | #

Unfortunately in the Casey Anthony case, I firmly believe the jury got it wrong, the evidence was and is very damning-but I cannot blame them for the inability to convict based on the rules they were given to follow…I have grown to appreciate the thorough Italian system much more and I think for some reason justice would have been served in Italy for little Caylee Anthony.  I say this as a staunch supporter of the convictions of Knox, Sollecito, and Guede. I am very distraught after reading 3 years of investigators “discovery” in the Anthony case to see a clear case of socio-pathic murderous behavior go unpunished.  With this case, I have been just as consumed, as the Kercher case.  To me guilt is CLEAR in both cases.  And the talking heads in the media did not have any sway in my belief, just as they have had none in the Kercher murder case.  Casey Anthony just got away with murder.

Posted by rach on 07/06/11 at 07:24 PM | #

Believe it or not, I hadn’t followed the Casey Anthony case at all and wasn’t even aware of it until yesterday.  However, yesterday I heard an expert in the news say that jurors seldom convict under similar circumstances when the punishment is the death penalty… the implication being that perhaps the verdict would have been different if the penalty had been time in prison instead.  If that’s the case, I don’t blame the jurors; I too would not want to be responsible for someone’s death unless I were 100% sure of the guilt and even then that seems excessive to me.

Posted by annc on 07/06/11 at 09:07 PM | #

This case as with the case against ak and rs comes down to two things. If you are innocent?
1)why lie?
2)why blame others you know aren’t guilty?
Simply all are guilty.

Posted by friar fudd on 07/07/11 at 02:38 AM | #
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry Jennifer Ford Is The First Juror To Speak Out On The Casey Anthony Acquittal

Or to previous entry US Kidnapping Victim Gets Justice After 8 Years Despite Defense + Perp Groupies Gaming The System