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The Casey Anthony Verdict is Not an Endorsement of Our Criminal Justice System

From the diaries by Erick

When the Casey Anthony verdict was announced I expected celebration from her defense team. I was more taken aback by the celebratory tone taken by pundits like Geraldo Rivera and Judge Andrew Napolitano. Their position is the same one that many liberals, anti-death penalty activists and libertarians are promoting now: this proves the system works.

But it doesn’t.

The American justice system is the greatest legal system in the world but like any other it is fallible. In the interest of liberty we err on the side of caution in criminal cases, but that means that in many cases we do not get justice. Talking heads on Fox were making the point that this was justice, that the verdict is a victory for the Constitution. This is wrong. Criminals getting off is a byproduct of a our love of liberty but it certainly isn’t an endorsement of our system.

Casey Anthony may or may not have killed her child but we know she committed several crimes afterward. She didn’t report her daughter missing for weeks. When police were finally involved she attempted to frame an innocent woman for murder. While her daughter was supposedly missing she was out partying. If not reporting your daughter missing for a month isn’t child abuse – or at least child neglect – nothing is.

But a quirk in the law makes it so that that the same child abuse that can get your children taken away by CPS can’t put you in jail when that child turns up put in a garbage bag and thrown into a swamp. The best legal system in the world cannot bring justice to Caylee Anthony’s killer. This is the price we pay for liberty but it is hardly an endorsement of our system.

Little Caylee Anthony was abused, possibly raped according to her own mother who claimed George Anthony was a child molester. She disappeared and her mother did nothing. She died a horrible death and her family hired lawyers. Her body was desecrated, thrown into a ditch like so much garbage and her mother will likely walk free at sentencing. How is this an endorsement of American justice?

That our legal system lets the guilty walk free is sad but arguably necessary for the maintenance of liberty. That our pundits can find cause for celebrating the release of a woman who in the best case scenario simply didn’t care that her daughter was molested then later kidnapped is disgusting. This is a tragedy, not a victory for freedom and America.

Casey Anthony got off because she worked the system. In a fair and impartial court system this happens. It’s too bad. But the worst part of this is the idea that we can take the denial of justice for a toddler who was brutally murdered and use it to pat ourselves on the back about what a great society we are.

Are we a great society because a young, damaged single mother who claimed her own father molested her left her daughter with him to go drinking? Are we a great society because we produce people who would rather go to wet t-shirt contests than look for their missing children? Are we a great society because our citizens try to frame innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit? Or are we a great society because people like that can find a way to get off?

The Casey Anthony verdict doesn’t endorse our criminal justice system; it exposes our crumbling society. The courts can’t always dispense justice, it is up to society to protect our children. We need to bring back public shaming, we need to bring back the idea of moral responsibility separate from legal responsibility. Some people lament that Casey Anthony will not be able to hold a job or go out with her friends or meet a decent man because of the public scrutiny of the trial. Caylee Anthony will never be able to do those things either.

The Anthony family deserves society’s scorn, not our philosophical justifications of why they aren’t in prison. Caylee Anthony paid the ultimate price for being born into a family of dysfunctional criminals who by their own admission lied to police again and again to cover up a crime they say they played no part in. Our justice system failed to hold them legally responsible, now it remains to be seen if our moral fiber is as easily deceived as our courts.

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