Jaime Franchi's Blog

Jaime Franchi

Jaime Franchi
New York, US
July 07
Misses Write
Freelance writer living in New York. My work can be found in the NY Times, "Big" Salon, Punchnel's, Fictionique, The Broad Side, and on JedMorey.com, where I am a regular contributor. Follow me on Twitter at JaimimiMama. www.JaimeFranchi.com


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JULY 7, 2011 1:37PM

Just the Thirteen of Us

Rate: 8 Flag
The wires are bursting with the news of the acquittal of Casey Anthony, the woman we watched for weeks on Dateline partying it up while her toddler lay dead.  Facebook is teeming with those who vow to “Leave their porch lights on” for little Caylee.  Even more are sure that her mother with rot in Hell and face a wrathful God on Judgement Day, so sure they are of her evil deeds that had somehow persuaded a jury of twelve of her peers to reasonably doubt that she’d been the villainous murderer.  

There had been a countdown - Thirty-two minutes until the verdict is read!  Hands rubbed together in gleeful anticipation of a mother who will rightfully get hers.  But then the rug was pulled unceremoniously from under their feet.  Not guilty?  WTF?

A mistake must have been made!  The stupid prosecution!  Those idiotic jurors.  The entire justice system is a called into question.  The OJ verdict is rehashed, by Marsha Clark, no less.  The difference here is that the accused wasn’t even a famous black sports icon!  WTH?

The very idea of justice is philosophized upon.  Does it exist?  How can we best facilitate its prevalence?  Would Casey suffer more in jail, where the taxpayers would provide her with three squares and cable, or in the personal Hell that the public will provide, snubbing her at restaurants and Walmart, until she learns the value of PeaPod, the supermarket delivery website that ensures that one doesn’t ever have to leave the house again.

What doesn’t fluctuate from opinion to opinion is the concrete fact that Casey is the killer and that no punishment will ever be enough.  That was a cute little white kid, and someone is going to pay in psychic retribution.  

The question that maybe she didn’t duct tape the mouth of her child closed and offer up chloroform in the stead of oxygen is unnecessary.  The picture of the tank top clad mom downing shots of liquor amongst tattoo covered men is all the proof we need.  The fact that she didn’t report it is the key that locks the case down.  From what we can tell, all she wanted was to drink and party (and have sex probably) and that baby was just in the damn way, needing babysitters and juice boxes and such. It is impossible to even consider, for a moment, that she used alcohol and boys as a diversion from a tormented  mind, that the fact that her daughter was missing and/or dead was so unfathomable that she buried it in the far reaches of her young mind, and tried to drown it in vodka.  

To take this position - and I’m only considering that it could be a possibility - is dangerous.  To say that I don’t know what happened is wildly unpopular, because it seems there are so many who do, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

It’s just the thirteen of us then.  

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The rebuttals have all been covered on HLN. If she was unattractive, black, poor...she'd already be in prison appealing her death sentence conviction. However...I strangely agree with the juries decision. The message was strong and clear to Nancy Grace and the prosecution. We're not going to take the public hanging blood lust craze anymore, and we are going to send you a message of forgiveness instead...something more consistent with everyone's purported "Christian Values".

The justice system was dealt a major blow today, and I for one totally support it, and hope for more of these upsets.
I left a very intelligent comment on this earlier, only to find it wasn't up anymore. I'm glad to see it is back up. And although I have long forgotten my very intelligent comment, I thought this was a great piece and very well done. ~r
as my lifelong lawyer husband and his court reporter wife know, it's very difficult for lay people to understand that those twelve people could have made the correct decision. the law is intricate and complicated and doesn't lend itself to easy, snap judgments. i would count myself as the 14th, but even that is presumptuous, really. only a person who sat *on* that jury knows what they heard, and that's very different than what was on HLN. very.
meant to say: enjoyed reading your essay. good work.
Well done! I was one who thought Anthony was guilty, and shocked to hear the verdict. Still, I never jumped on the jury bashing bandwagon. I didn't do it with OJ and I won't do it with this case. As far as I can tell, those 12 people conducted themselves honorably. Think how many minorities and poor people have been convicted on less evidence --some guilty, some not. Why? Because the jurors followed their guts and not the letter of the law. I don't think Ms. Anthony will have an easy time of it anyway, guilty or not. If she is guilty Karma can be a real bitch, or maybe not.

Make it 14. I think her father was involved somehow. He had all the "tell" signs of someone who was lying. We will never know what happened.
There was no evidence linking her to her daughter's body. No fingerprints or DNA. Proving something beyond a reasonable doubt is a tough uphill climb and Casey's lawyers did an awesome job planting those seeds.
The Ramseys acted peculiar after their child was found murdered as well. Very similar in that it leaves the normal person to wonder why?
I have never written anything before on this particular case, not even a comment on some other person's blog, although I did write something yesterday that I suppose could be interpreted as related. That is not a commercial. The point is that I felt compelled to break my silence and tell you here that I like your style and your way of thinking.
I have to believe that in some way there will be a consequence to her actions and those who know what happened to her daughter, for a fact what happened because they either saw it or were a part of it. It seems that the process has taken its course and she has been found guilty, then regardless of how people think about her, there is still someone out there who did this. Casey Anthony is a liar, was a bad mother for not reporting the absence of her daughter eariler, and as a result of this, people are moving to have penalties in place so that no other missing child goes unreported for so long. I also believe that she is mentally unbalanced. The calamity that has been her life will continue and I think that we have not heard the last of her or this crime. I was not actively attached to this case and did not react as most might with the verdict. Somehow the jury did not find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I just wish that this justice, if in fact it is justice, would be available and evenly applied to all who seek it, not just versions of it for some crimes, the accused of some races and what appears to be true inconsistency.
It is in the outrage that we express our humanity. In our confusion we take note of what keeps us sane. Nothing has the power of justice moreso than quilt, and even monsters can be brought low by the disintegration of their sense of just what they are.
Aristonexenus - You make an excellent point about Christians valuing forgiveness, yet this is not what out justice system is based upon (and rightly so, in my opinion.) Yet I celebrate with you on the off chance that Casey is not guilty and has been served by the jurors who didn't feel the evidence was enough to put her on death row.

Joan H. - I put this up here, then decided to try to post t elsewhere. When it was rejected there, it came back home. I'm sure your comment was riveting. :o)

Candace - Thank you for a great compliment. I'm curious about the difference between the trial on TV and the real one. I always wanted to serve on a jury, but the only time I was called was after my son was born, and would only nurse and couldn't be away from the boob for more than an hour at a time. Next time.

Bluestocking babe - I think she's guilty too, but don't know it. And yes, there is a definite shift in opinion based on the race of teh accused and of the victim - thi is why the OJ trial had the country so up in arms. Haven't white Americans been stringing up the black ones for coming near the white women - let alone killing them. It isn't in the country's historical mindset to consider acquittal.

Susie - THANK YOU! Seeing my name on one of the ten highest rated blogs (if only for a few minutes) was a great present! I thought of the Ramsays too - they brought in a whole sweep of "experts" who opined based on superficial judgments (and ratings.) I'm still curious myself about what happened there, but that case (and this one too) was just too sad to immerse myself in.

Brassawe - I read your piece and wanted to take my time with a thoughtful response. I had already written this and thought you might have appreciated it, though I never had the gumption to think you would break your vow of silence for my writing. Humbled and very very appreciative of that amazing compliment. Another birthday present for me.

Sheila - yes, from this inexpert there does seem to be some mental unbalance, but if anything ever happened to one of my children, I can guarantee I would become hysterically unglued and would never again reach a mental balance.

DH - that is a really interesting comment. I think we do tend to cast off those of us who commit unspeakable crimes and dub them "monsters" in effort to distance ourselves from the knowledge that we are all capable of terrible things. The good news? We are all capable of amazing things and it is our choice to act to our greatest potentiality.
I haven't followed this story much, for a variety of reasons. But of course it's impossible not to know about it. I respect you for daring to write from another perspective on it, and for suggesting that, regardless of Anthony's guilt or innocence, the whole situation has deeper implications than what many were willing to contemplate.
Thans Alysa - truth be told, I hadn't really followed it either. I ca't read too much about children being harmed. What struck me - and caused me to write this - was the reaction to the acquittal.
A few years ago, one of my profs at K-South--in fact, one of the profs on my best friend's Master's committee--was convicted of first degree murder. The crime: this prof's ex-wife was murdered in her home, which was in a town roughly 100 miles away from the K-South campus. The killer had cleaned up after him/herself, washing down the entire home with bleach, and the police could find no physical evidence.

My prof was arrested because (a) he had motive (an ugly custody battle his ex-wife was winning), (b) he had a long break between classes on the day of the murder where he feasibly could have driven the 200-mile round trip, committed the murder, and cleaned up (it would have been tight but not impossible), and (c) the judge got a court order for the computer, where it was learned that he had been doing searches on how to commit the perfect murder.

So, the only evidence was an Internet search. No DNA, no eyewitnesses. Just an Internet search. Plus motive and possibly opportunity. His defense was that he had been seen on campus that day during the time of the murders (though it was shaky to confirm it), and his Internet search was because he was researching a screenplay.

Very flimsy case. He is now serving a life sentence. Juries are funny. They are consigned to assess only the evidence and arguments made in court, and verdicts are fragile things.