Understanding the prosecution’s charges fully in a murder case like that of Casey Anthony helps online readers, courtroom spectators and television audiences understand what the State and the defense will be attempting during a murder trial. This is the crux of the courtroom drama now unfolding in a Florida courtroom regarding the disappearance and death in 2008 of 2-year-old Caylee Marie Anthony and her mother’s attorney’s shocking revelation yesterday: Caylee died from a drowning.
Casey Anthony is facing four charges against her in her murder trial involving her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Marie Anthony: aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, first degree murder and providing false information to law enforcement.
According to Reuters, the defense is already disagreeing with the prosecutor’s take on the death of Caylee, making the claim that Caylee Anthony drowned in a swimming pool at the home shared by Caylee, her mother Casey and Casey’s parents.
Prosecutors often deal with attempts by defense attorneys to undermine their case against a suspect in a murder and to throw a wrench in the cause by contesting the cause of death put forth in trials. So Casey Anthony’s attorney is just following the dance between the defense and the prosecutor in this regard. Prosecutors like those in the Anthony case, know all too well that a jury can be swayed at times to rule against them on a first degree murder charge, too, when the jury is not convinced of the State’s case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That requires a dance of sorts from them, too.
Because they don’t want to leave the victim without justice and a potential murderer free to commit future crimes, prosectuors attempt to stack the deck in the victim’s favor — legally. They tack on every charge they can, as they did in the Anthony case.
In this case, Casey Anthony’s defense lawyer Jose Baez is attacking the first degree murder charge right out of the starting gate in the courtroom, claiming Anthony’s daughter’s death was an accident.
“It was an accident that snowballed,” Jose Baez told the court jurors on Tuesday.
This illustrates perfectly why prosecutors make a habit of “throwing the book” at a defendant in legalese: they need to provide jurors with more options than one to choose from should they forgo the first degree murder charge.
In Casey Anthony’s case, the prosecution and police provided the jurors with four possible charges to choose from, but the jury isn’t limited in choosing only one.
Some jurors might believe in a person’s guilt, such as Anthonys, but have an issue with giving them the sentence likely to be imposed in a first degree murder conviction. Hence, prosecutors need to offer another conviction option with a lesser sentence possibility, such as the aggravated manslaughter of a child charge which Casey Anthony was also given — or the aggravated child abuse charge she also received.
The death penalty is a potential sentence consequence in this case, as well, so that can lead some jurors to potentially rule against a verdict of first degree in the Casey Anthony murder trial if they have a prejudice in that regard, which makes the additional charges that much more important in this case, as they may be the only justice served, potentially.
Prosecutors, like those in the Casey Anthony case in Florida, also have a duty to the public to prosecute a defendant for all crimes committed by the individual in one fell swoop, if possible, as court cases put forth by the state cost taxpayer dollars.
In addition to murder, Casey Anthony has also essentially been accused of wasting taxpayer funds by giving false information in her daughter’s missing person investigation. Anthony has been charged with impeding the ability of law enforcement in finding her daughter through her many differing tales of Caylee’s whereabouts, which her attorney has now stated it was a cover-up by Casey.
Wasting taxpayer money, lying to law enforcement officers and hiding the fact that a child in your care (especially your own) has disappeared are all issues for the court to face regarding any defendant, including Casey Anthony. And these serious issues warrant legal charges almost as much as the murder charges she faces – and should factor into the overall murder case, too. And they do.
Law enforcement already knew Casey Anthony was misleading them and playing a cover-up game, which is why she was charged with that crime. Her attorney’s acknowledgement of that fact is an effort, however, to steer his client away from a first degree murder conviction.
Casey Anthony’s criminal defense attorney Jose Baez is now seeking to sell the jury on the possibility the death of 2-year-old Caylee Marie Anthony was an accident instead of a murder, so they can charge Casey with child abuse or child manslaughter, giving her a lesser sentence for the death of her daughter. Baez thinks the jury will be swayed by a drowning confession.
Baez knows the evidence in the case and the actions of his client preclude a not guilty verdict, potentially, so he is seeking the next best thing: a lesser conviction and sentence.
But will the jury buy it?
Baez will use every opportunity to muddy the water with misdirection in this case, most likely, in order to get a not guilty verdict for his client or less time for her crime. He is starting with allegations of sexual abuse between Casey and her own father when she was a child years ago.
But Baez acknowledged already that Casey Anthony knew all along what had happened to her daughter, and she didn’t share that information when police first began to question her. That, coupled with all the lies and deception Anthony put forth during the police investigation and hunt for her daughter, along with how her daughter was found, will be the whole package the prosecutors uses to seek justice for Caylee in this case, giving jurors four different ways to convict or acquit the defendant Casey Anthony.
Sources: Reuters, Criminal Profiler
We recommend this Radell Smith’s other Casey Anthony articles:
“Why does the defense think a ‘drowning’ will sway the jury?” and
“Jurors request show disregard for Caylee’s justice?” as well as
“Stench of Death”