By Steve K
Young, unmarried woman has baby. Young woman would rather party than take some responsibility. Young woman relieves herself of the inconvenience by disposing of her child. Young woman is now free to enjoy the local nightlife and. ironically, further engage in reproductive activity. She doesn’t see fit to notify anyone that her toddler is missing for 30 days. When the police are called, young woman lies, and lies, and lies. After an investigation there is sufficient evidence to charge the young woman. (“sufficient” means “enough” for those of you in Orlando who might be jurors one day). The case goes to trial; a jury is seated; the evidence is exhibited; the case goes to the jury; jury finds the young woman innocent of everything except lying. Young woman goes free.
The young woman, unless you’ve been living under a rock. is Casey Anthony. But I’m pretty tired of hearing that name, so I’m going to call her Guiltsey Anthony. Yes, I know the jury said otherwise, but the jury is stupid. We all know Guiltsey is guilty, just like we all know O.J. did it; and the O.J. trial proved that juries can be brain-dead.
This was a jury of grazing sheep, with no real leadership, no independent thought, no critical thinking, no ability to look simultaneously at details as well as the big picture, incapable or just plain too lazy to put the pieces together and see the case, as a whole, form before their eyes. We’ve all watched Wheel Of Fortune and seen contestants correctly solving incomplete puzzles. We’ve even solved them ourselves and shouted the answer at the TV, so we know it can be done. Inference can be used to process circumstantial evidence (anyone remember Scott Peterson?), but somehow either the prosecution failed to define for the jury what all constitutes evidence, and explain to them the different kinds of evidence, or the defense was successful at falsely limiting the definitions, or both, leaving this jury expecting Vanna to leave no letter left unturned for them so they wouldn’t have to think. “Washingtom, Washingtoe? Washingtor? This is hard! We’re stumped without that last letter. We give up. Not guitly!”
I’m hearing and reading a lot of people saying “there just wasn’t enough evidence to convict”. There is a serious lack of understanding of the nature of evidence and what kinds of evidence can be used. Some people won’t be convinced unless they can see a video of Guiltsey clearly doing the deed, or if a group of eyewitnesses testify that they saw her do it, as if a person planning on killing her child just can’t wait until there’s no one around. Physical evidence (which includes forensic) is but one kind of evidence, and there’s been an over-reliance on the empirical to the near exclusion of the logical. We use logic to make inferences. If A is more than B, and B is more than C, then A is more than C. Even though we might need to empirically determine what constitutes A,B,&C, we infer by reason that A is more than C even if A and C cannot be directly compared to each other. It wouldn’t make sense for someone to say “We just can’t determine whether or not A is greater than C because we can’t directly compare one to the other”. A person making such a statement is expressing doubt, but it’s not reasonable doubt. Somehow this jury had it in its collective head that they cannot make a determination of guilt unless the case is free from all doubt. You can show these people two of something, and then show them three of something, but they won’t put two & three together. They won’t believe it’s five unless you show them five, because using logic to add two & three is just hard. It makes their head hurt.
It seems like the jury looked at one piece of evidence, decided that it didn’t prove guilt beyond all doubt, then looked at the next piece of evidence and decided the same thing; going over all the evidence one piece at a time and rejecting it because no one piece by itself hit a home run in their minds. They failed to see how all the evidence came together and combine into a totality of circumstances. It’s like not seeing the forest because of the trees. What were they looking for, a sign over the body with an arrow pointing down saying “Mom did this”?
With schools & universities replacing education with indoctrination, we have told students what to think instead of how to think. We’ve even strayed so far from logic and reason that some people can’t even grasp the notion that there are such things as absolutes and universal truth, without which logic and reason are meaningless. It’s no wonder, sadly, that this is the outcome.