According to an alternate juror, Russell Huekler, the verdict was correct.
Huekler laid out three reasons:
- The prosecution “didn’t present the evidence that would have sustained either a murder charge or a manslaughter charge.”
- They also failed to show a motive. “We and I kept waiting to see what was the motive — “just being a party girl” did not show why she might have killed Caylee, he said.
- And the prosecution was also unable to say “how did Caylee actually pass away.”
Asked whether Huekler thought Anthony, 25, was innocent or if he had reasonable doubt she was guilty, he said: “Definitely reasonable doubt for myself.”
Is this why Casey Anthony was acquitted of the top counts? It certainly seems reasonable, but I can’t say. Neither can Huekler, reasonable though his explanation may be.
Before the verdict, everybody had answers, with the loudest voice being Nancy Grace who seized every opportunity to tell the rest of us how much she knew. After, she was the ugliest person on TV. Truth is, she was always that ugly, but it didn’t come into focus until her face contorted in disgust.
One of the hardest things to get used to is reaching an end without having answers. Tolerance for ambiguity, the variety of things it might have been, isn’t the norm in a world where everything is explained in the final five minutes of the show. We got a verdict, but we have no answers. Most people can’t stand it.
Did the system work or fail? The pundits were fools before the verdict, and they will still be fools afterward. They have no magic knowledge. They have no answers. Neither do I.
It’s never clear what a jury might do. It’s even less clear why. Sometimes, there is no reason behind it at all, while other times the reason is abundantly sound. We can’t believe the post-verdict interviews, where they explain their rationale after they’ve had a chance to form one. The dynamic in the jury room defies normal explanations. It’s like focus groups, which never seem to do what anyone expects them to do, and often goes flying into weird space that no one could have anticipated.
What of the judge, or Jose Baez, or the parents, or Caylee? Some will focus on the individuals of choice, the ones that they believe were critical to the outcome. Are they right? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s all speculation.
There are few things I hate more than speculation, not because it isn’t fun to do, but because it proves nothing. It’s a waste of time, a game for children.
The system worked, however. That much I know. When the jury reached a verdict, that’s what the system is supposed to do. What that verdict is, on the other hand, isn’t dictated by the system itself, but by the vicissitudes of trial. Despite the efforts of all involved, the outcome sometimes comes on its own. And sometimes the right outcome happens. The reasons for it, well, don’t really matter. That’s why juries don’t have to explain themselves and justify their verdict.
A word about the much maligned Jose Baez, who was not treated well by much of anybody. He won this trial. No one can ever take that away from him. He’s been called a lot of bad things during the course of trial, and he’s had to suffer the criticism of lawyers and pundits who thought they were his better. But he won, and they didn’t.
This post offers no answers because I have none. That’s how trials happen sometimes. Stercus accidit. That’s our system. Get used to questions without answers. Or play with yourself and pretend that you know something when you really don’t. It doesn’t matter, as it won’t change the verdict.