On days 8 and 9 of the Casey Anthony trial, Thursday and Friday, a cop and two employees of Universal Studios contradicted the lies that Anthony told about being employed at that theme park when her daughter Caylee disappeared. The jury then watched a series of videos of the cops confronting Casey about her lies and accusing her of involvement in Caylee’s disappearance and of Anthony family members talking with Casey after she was jailed. In one of the jail-visit videos, Casey actually says to her parents, “This is the first time that I’ve truly, truly been angry this entire time.” Now, why is she angry back at this time? Because “Zanny the nanny” supposedly absconded with her daughter several weeks prior (her story back then)? No. Because her father’s negligent supervision supposedly allowed her daughter to drown several weeks prior (her story now)? No. She says she’s angry and “beyond frustrated” not because of anything that happened to her daughter but because “nobody’s listening” to her (Casey) and because her (Casey’s) “entire life” has been taken away. Hmmm, it’s all about her, surprise, surprise. Speaking of narcissism, some pundits are making a big deal out of Casey’s attorney, Jose Baez, taking pictures with “fans” outside of the courthouse. I have to say I’m less dismayed about Baez’s behavior there than I am about the fact that people actually wait outside of the courthouse to get pictures with him!
When I watch Casey’s vehement adherence to an evolving and complex system of lies in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, she strikes me as someone who was either delusional at the time or, I think more likely, is profoundly sociopathic. People who are truly delusional often persistently profess pervasive delusions, even in the face of contradictory evidence, but what they don’t typically do is intermittently profess evolving delusions for secondary gain. In other words, truly delusional people don’t tend to appear calculating. Their stories tend to stay the same and to be repeated chronically, not just when there’s something in it for them. Stories that tend to change and be told only selectively (when there’s something pleasurable to be gained or something aversive to be avoided) tend to be lies rather than delusions. Keep in mind, while Baez argued in his opening statement that Casey somehow was made into a liar by sexual abuse, even he didn’t allege that his client was ever delusionally insane, i.e. that she ever didn’t know what she was saying and/or didn’t know what was real from what was unreal. If there were any credible psychological/psychiatric expert evidence to suggest that, I think we would’ve heard it.
I continue to hear “experts” in the media, however, opine here and there that victims of sexual abuse do tend to tell lies, even to protect their abusers. Ok, a true sexual abuse survivor may lie to deny or cover up his/her own abuse out of shame and/or some persisting pathological loyalty to the abuser, but I think it would be extremely unusual for that sexual abuse survivor to then also lie about a subsequent death, particularly the subsequent death of his/her own child, whether accidental or homicide, even if the person responsible for that death were also the perpetrator of the past sexual abuse. In short, I really still don’t see any clear connection between the sexual abuse that Casey supposedly endured and the lies that we’ve watched her tell in these videos about her daughter’s death occurring many years later. As the videos were played in court, Casey became tearful a times, but as I’ve said in the past, that doesn’t mean much to me — she could be genuinely remorseful about things that she’s said and done in the past, or she could be genuinely sad because she’s realizing that her life might (maybe literally) be over (another pundit noted that Casey does seem to tear up particularly when watching herself cry in one of the videos, as if she’s perhaps feeling genuinely sorry in the present for — surprise again — herself in the past), or she could just be acting. I’ve spoken to plenty of sociopathic people who probably could’ve been Academy Award-winning actors/actresses but chose to go into crime instead of acting. Don’t forget, in order to believe Casey’s defense, we’d have to believe that we’re watching not just one but two Academy Award-caliber performances in these videos — by Casey and by George (George frankly doesn’t seem sophisticated enough to pull that off, and sociopathy is not a phenomenon that’s generally expected to be hereditary). In case you missed it, I recently wrote a post entitled “Is Casey Anthony a ‘Pathological Liar’?” and I’ll talk more about that on Friday night’s Nancy Grace on HLN.
On the O’Reilly Factor this week, Geraldo Rivera again opined that the prosecution has overcharged Anthony, and again, I disagree. Anthony is charged with first-degree murder, manslaughter of a child, aggravated child abuse, and lying to cops (several counts). Now, let’s walk through the different ways in which a homicide could have occurred in this case. If Casey killed Caylee intentionally and calculatedly in order to “free” herself from the burdens of single parenting, which is certainly possible (just because Casey may have seemed like a good mother in public, when Caylee perhaps was perceived as an asset, perhaps helping Casey attract positive social attention, doesn’t mean Casey wasn’t neglectful or even abusive in private, when Caylee was perhaps perceived instead as a liability, perhaps preventing Casey from socializing), then that’s first-degree murder, hence the first-degree murder charge. If, in the alternative, Casey tried to sedate Caylee but overdosed and killed her accidentally, then she committed aggravated child abuse (a felony), resulting in a death, which is what I believe most likely occurred, then that’s also considered first-degree or “felony” murder, so once again, the first-degree murder charge is appropriate. Now if, in the alternative, Casey became enraged and struck or shook Caylee so violently as to cause the child’s death, then that’s manslaughter, hence the manslaughter charge. Because all of the above are possible, I think the prosecution covered all of the bases in charging Casey. It’s precisely the purpose of the trial to now “try” the evidence, i.e. put it in front of a jury and let that jury conclude whether it points to a particular conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt, and if so, what that conclusion is. Of course it’s always the jury’s prerogative to conclude that no homicide occurred (i.e. that Caylee’s death was purely accidental, with no criminal conduct involved), or if it did, that Casey wasn’t involved in it.
On Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell this week, renowned defense attorney Mark Geragos (represented Scott Peterson, Chris Brown, and Michael Jackson, among high-profile others) noted that the prosecution, atypically, has led off with evidence of Casey’s dishonesty and not with forensic evidence. Geragos opined that the prosecution may have a relatively weak forensic case and may have strategically presented the character evidence first in an attempt to predispose the jury to conclude that the forensic evidence is more conclusive than it actually is. We’ll soon see, because the prosecution started to make its forensic case in the latter half of Friday, calling four crime scene investigators to testify about the physical evidence that they gathered and about how they gathered it. Testimony will continue tomorrow (Saturday) morning, and as we get further into the forensics, it could drag on. Remember O.J. Simpson’s first trial? That was dubbed the “trial of the [last] century,” and it involved days of sometimes-tedious presentation of and challenges to forensic evidence. I anticipate something similar happening here and that the defense will similarly argue that the evidence 1) is unreliable due to mishandling by cops resulting in contamination, and 2) doesn’t prove how Caylee died. Stay tuned!
In other Lawpysc news:
As expected, former senator John Edwards has been indicted on charges of illegally using campaign funds in connection with an extramarital affair and out-of-wedlock child conceived during his 2008 campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. Edwards has pled not-guilty. Physician-assisted-suicide activist Dr. “Death” Jack Kevorkian, has died. No, it wasn’t a suicide, but if you’re interested in physician-assisted-suicide, I wrote about it here back on 5/22/09 and 10/10/08, and you can find those posts in the archives (just click on December 2010 on the Archives menu to the right and scroll back through time). Remember the Yale graduate student who was killed back in 2009 just before her wedding day and found stuffed in a wall in a research lab shortly thereafter? The defendant in that case has been sentenced to 44 years in prison. The kidnappers of Jaycee Dugard have also been formally sentenced — the husband will never see the outside of a prison again, and the wife probably won’t either (she’d be close to 100 years old if she did). In a written statement, Dugard expressed hatred rather than loyalty of any kind to the Garridos (just as I said was likely on the CBS Early Show as this case unfolded). A high school student from my area of Kansas was shot and killed by a hotel security guard on an educational trip to Costa Rica. As of now, it looks like a tragic mistake in which the guard confronted the deceased boy and several of his friends behaving suspiciously near the hotel property late at night, and the scared teens ran toward the guard en masse instead of away from him, at which point the guard fired his weapon in self-defense. The case remains under investigation, so we may learn that there’s more to the story. Then there’s “Blago” — former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has continued to defiantly deny any wrongdoing in his federal retrial on corruption charges. Stay tuned for the outcome of that one. And finally, new research on the possibility that cell phones can cause brain cancer got a lot of media attention this week, but from what I’ve ascertained so far, it sounds to me like saying, “If you buy two lottery tickets, you’ll double your chance of winning!” — ok, but I wouldn’t be picking out a jet and a mansion.
Have a great weekend!