A failure in the execution

I remember how I felt when the OJ verdict came in 15 years ago:  deflated and dirty.

Deflated, because I couldn’t believe the jurors were able to arrive at a conclusion so diametrically opposed to the evidence that the only justification for their act was racial payback (otherwise known as jury nullification.)

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I hope the jurors see this face every night of their lives, for the rest of their lives

Dirty because I was an attorney, just like Marcia Clark whose inept prosecution made an acquittal not only possible but a certainty.

Dirty because I was an attorney, just like Johnny Cochrane, who substituted snake oil and racism for true advocacy.

Years pass, you get caught up in your own life and work, and you forget about the moment which represented the nadir of your profession.  You even start to believe that guilty people are still going to get convicted of their crimes, even if savvy criminal defense lawyers (most of whom are former prosecutors looking for a bigger payday) kick up enough procedural dust to cloud a juror’s vision.

And then you sit in front of your television set on a Tuesday afternoon and watch as some men and women channel their very unreasonable doubts into an acquittal for the Orlando Medea, Casey Anthony.

And the sick feelings flood you all over again. 

You might say that the prosecution didn’t do its job, but you’d be very wrong if you had a minimal understanding of legal process and procedure.  Or maybe just a pair of ears, and eyes.  There should have been no question, no moment’s hesitation that Casey Anthony engaged in conduct that resulted in her daughter’s death.  Her DNA was all over the evidence, her conduct was circumstantial but lethal, her sociopathy obvious.

When Linda Drane Burdick gave her closing argument yesterday morning, the angels must have been nodding their heads in agreement.  There was, after all, only one answer to the question:  Whose life was better if little Caylee was gone?

But the jurors chose to ignore common sense, and their own common senses.  They ignored the smell of death emanating from a car.  They ignored the sound of a mother whose child was missing and presumed dead, whining for her boyfriend’s phone number.  They ignored the sight of grandparents in agony, and a liar mouthing obscenities to the air.

Jose Baez will probably be celebrated as a miracle worker, a man who could snatch victory from the jaws of deceit.

But there is one person who knows the truth, and that is the person he will have to face on judgment day: 

Caylee Marie Anthony.

I almost pity him.