Archive | January 13, 2012

Confessions of a “Real” Trial Junkie

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are~ Theodore Roosevelt.”

Laying around again today, fighting a virus and not being productive at all. I did have a choice yesterday of watching NASCAR Speed trials in Daytona, or watching a trial I have kept my eye on the past week. . Of course there were other options but as I am not one who watches much TV  these really were my only two options. And fine ones they were. NASCAR has been dry since the end of it’s season last September.  I suffered through a morning of ” Live with Kelly” just for the monologue because Carl Edwards was her co-host. This is what it’s like during the hiatus of a sport. NASCAR will start their engines again for the 2012 season next month.

I discovered that I could watch NASCAR on an encore performance – so I spend the better part of a day watching a trial. During the trial I realized I wanted to blog about my love for trail observing. So I watched one,  and I wrote about another.

I have a confession. Not something many know about me.

I am a trial junkie!  I love the courtroom.

There I said it. Now it’s known. 

I read, watch and breathe trials. The law, Statutes . I am a fan of great attorneys. Just like some are passionate about sports and sports figures, I am passionate about the gamesmanship between both teams in a trial. Courtroom drama unfolding. Attorney’s sparring legalese and laws on the books excite me just as much as some are by the Super Bowl. Or the NASCAR CHASE, 10  final races to determine who the season’s champ is.

Trial watchers like me  had an incredible Super Bowl of trials in 2011.

The State of Florida vs Casey Anthony.

The case was about a missing little girl  who was almost 3 at the time. For months we as a nation watched in horror as one event after another unfolded as this baby’s mom Casey Anthony’s lies started falling apart one by one. And as someone on the outside watching you knew right away there was something very wrong with what this mom was saying. It made my skin crawl.

This perfect little angel is what this was all about. What happened to this beautiful little soul?

We will never know the truth, We will never know because it is hidden inside the mind of a person who should never have been gifted this beauty in the first place. I don’t mean that this baby’s grandparents did not deserve her, they most certainly did. If Casey could have just been the vessel to carry this angel to term, until she came in to this world, than handed over to George & Cindy Caylee would still be with her grand parents today. Casey should never give birth again. I pray that God knows now the evil she is capable of and not let one more angel be borne to this wicked person.

Jeff Ashton, assistant district attorney for the state of Florida, Pinnelas County, is my All Star pick for 2011. I enjoyed watching and learning from this man, This Smiling Man sitting over there. I actually enjoyed Mr Ashton’s smile and although maybe not appropriate at the time I could relate. I was sitting in front of my TV laughing at Jose Baez silly tirade as he tried to be convincing. Again But I learned more about the judicial process, and for that I am grateful. I would have found it fascinating to sit as a juror in one of Mr Ashton’s trials.

Linda Drane Burdick, state assistant district attorney.

In her opening argument showed two photos of Caylee. Two very different photos of Caylee, hoping to humanize this sweet and adorable baby. Taking her from a victim in this case to the actual pure and perfect little human that she was. By publishing to the jury a photo of Caylee alive, well, and happy. The last photo taken of Caylee taken by her grandmother, Cindy. The next photo is of Caylee’s remains.

I’m reacting writing it. I had to take a moment and quiet my heart down. This baby had become a  meaningful  person to me. She represents all the children that need a voice of their own in my mind. Caylee was just starting to really communicate long sentences, with her own thoughts. How much longer would it have been before Caylee either started telling  where she’s been, and who she has been in contact with her mom? And their activities? Or maybe she had begun.  No longer was she the cute baby with no voice. Caylee was also becoming more and more in Casey’s way.

In the opening argument by the state  two very different  photos of Caylee are published to the jury. One she is laughing and being a kid, the other she is unrecognizable. Thrown into a swamp in Florida.

The jury does not even react. I was not there, yet watching and listening to the media who were in the courtroom listening to opening arguments ALL said the same thing. Jury? No reaction, no response from any of them. They might as well have been listening to a recitation regarding the impact of Global Warming.

Was this a sign of things to come?. Was this a foreshadow into the results?

The trial became a game of antics by Baez. Having to send the jury out so often I’m certain that one could start and finish a novel during just the sidebars and the times the jury was sent out each week. It was frustrating as a spectator, not to be privy to the sidebars and in the Judges chambers. The jury must have become irritated over and over.

Finally the jury is read the Jury Instructions by Judge Perry. The jury was excused to deliberate and find their verdict.

There was never a request for any of the evidence, no testimony read back, no apparent need to evaluate any part of the trial themselves.  The jury was out in exactly 10 hours, .40 minutes, &.33 seconds. This was how long they needed to walk back out and look the Honorable Judge Perry in the face as the handed their verdict form over to the court. I’m certain the courtroom was filled with so much tension that it would have been hard to breathe. It was difficult for me as I sat unmoving, hardly breathing myself. The verdict, the outcome of this trial was impacting so many people. I could not even begin to imagine the strength and courage of George & Cindy Anthony as they sat literally supporting one another. They had lost their only grandchild, now they could lose their daughter for the heinous act of killing her own child.  If we’d not seen it before, too many times that it’s possible for some women to commit these acts we’d never believe it possible.

And yet there is a beautiful angle dead.

The word came down from the court clerk.  A verdict has been reached. I’m thinking to myself, “Wow, they really got it! They know that she killed Caylee and needed little time to deliberate. I know that a jury has some housekeeping chores when they first convene to deliberate. And one of the things is to choose their Fore Person. Then to go over the jury instructions amongst themselves. This is the first time in 6 weeks they have been allowed to discuss the case. The first time to share  what they believe happened. Not what they feel, but what the facts are. And only then can they apply their common sense from living as an adult in an adult world.

Then the clerk is reading the verdict.

Not Guilty on all charges! …………Seriously?

This is a dream, I must have fallen asleep and am now even dreaming about this trial. For over 3 years I was almost consumed with observing everything I could about the legalities concerning this child who first was thought to be missing. For 31 days this baby’s mother told on lie after another, all the while she knew her baby’s body was lying in a swamp. Amazing details that were not to come out until trial actually started in July 2011.

A full acquittal?

What?  Not even child abuse? Neglect?  Your child is missing, for 31 days,  you do not tell anyone, and especially you don’t call the police? This is not neglect? At the very least? This jury let down the judicial system. Even  far worse is this jury is solely responsible for the fact that no justice will ever be served on Caylee Marie Anthony’s behalf.  It’s an honor to sit on a jury. It’s a privilege. The state,  the defense, and the court put this major decision into the hands of this jury and it’s alternates.

Apparently this particular jury believed Jose Baez, the defense lead attorney. Incredibly they were somehow able to agree amongst themselves in less than eleven hours that the defense team gave them enough for reasonable doubt. I don’t know how, I watched the entire trial. Were they all really in the same courtroom? Were they asleep? Maybe so.

What a travesty of justice for Caylee Marie Anthony. A complete injustice.

I feel so sad when I think of this Angel of Delight no longer gracing our planet. No longer playing in the beautiful back yard gardens of her grand parent’s home.  No longer playing in her sweet little doll house made just for her size.

God Speed little angel Caylee, you are now with other angels in a park full of daisies. Play sweetie, just play.

©tjhelser 2012