Casey Anthony

The media are all in a frenzy because of the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. During all this blather, I fear no one will ask whether it is really a good idea to give so much attention to a single sensational murder trial. CNN, for example, had almost around the clock coverage during the days just prior to the verdict. (Anderson Cooper had the pop psychologist, Phil McGraw on his show. This Nostradamus told the credulous Cooper that Anthony’s unemotional demeanor during most of the trial would make a bad impression on the jury, likely resulting in a guilty verdict. An uncanny prediction, no?) And they have had almost around the clock coverage since the verdict. Is there nothing else for these people to talk about?

The Casey Anthony trial has given people a distorted view of our criminal justice system, just as the O.J. Simpson trial did. She had experienced trial lawyers who agreed to work pro bono. Your average criminal defendant has an overworked public defender. Over ninety percent of criminal trials end in guilty verdicts. Yet I fear that because of this one verdict, we are going to hear renewed calls for “tough on crime” legislation, such as mandatory minimum sentencing laws, sentence enhancement laws and so on, which will result in the further growth of that vast warehouse of human beings known as the U.S. prison system. Of course, all this will do nothing to prevent mentally ill people from killing their children.

I am curious to know why the media have been so concerned about the murder of Caylee Anthony, whereas they have largely ignored the murder of Brisenia Flores. Would it be cynical of me to suggest that this might have something to do with the fact that Caylee Anthony was white? Do you really think the case would have received any attention at all if Caylee had been African-American? I honestly can’t see it. In the eyes of the media, murders are only important when they happen to white people.

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