About Me

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Grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland. My time now is mostly spent getting better at being a person, refining my time management skills, trying to read normal people books and articles, and learning how to be a force for good.

T1D Life in full effect. 

I will never stop learning, nor will I stop working to make a difference for someone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Casey Anthony

I know it's been a couple weeks, and so this isn't news anymore since nothing lasts for more than a few public seconds...but I had an email exchange with a former student of mine, and if anyone else would like to chime in, please do. Here's what I think about the case:

Casey Anthony was innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This was a criminal case, so that was the standard for the jury to use as a litmus test. Was there any way that someone else could have done the crime, in a reasonable person's mind? The jury in this case believed so. I would say the justice system prevailed here; a jury would have had to be party to a miscarriage of justice if they had voted for a guilty verdict. Thinking someone did something criminal, and knowing it to be true intrinsically, is not equal to a guilty verdict in a courtroom.

Here's an example from history: an African American male is accused of raping a white woman. Because 'everyone knows' that it had to be true, then a guilty verdict is an easy affirmative. Now, we can make the argument that racism might be different than what we saw in the case against Casey Anthony. However, if we were to take it on faith that she killed her kid, since any and all factual evidence was either inadmissable or nonexistent, then we would be making the same kind of legal leap of injustice that we have perpetrated for hundreds of years.

That being said, if she came into my bar I wouldn't stop another lady from kicking her ass, because I'm pretty sure she's either indifferent to her daughter's violent death or she did it herself. But, I sure wouldn't want to be convicted on circumstantial evidence, nor would I want my friends or family or anyone for that matter convicted circumstantially, especially if they didn't actually do the crime.

So it's a toss-up. It can feel messed up, yet it is the purpose of the justice system to allow for average folks on a jury to make this kind of decision this way. They did good; the prosecution sucked some yucky testicles. And even then, only having circumstantial evidence isn't the complete fault of a prosecutor's office. Sometimes we just don't have the evidence to convict someone. it would be nice if we saw this pattern forming across racial lines, but we're still a very racist nation-state (as I'm sure people of color know better than I).

I also think that if we always look for some deep, deviant psychological reason for a mother harming her children, instead of ascribing the behavior to just bad behavior, we're not being fair either. Our assumptions about women and criminal behavior are still very gendered, and my argument is this: couldn't she have killed her kid, or been indifferent to the murder of her kid, because she's a self-centered asshole? Again, I'm not saying that this is a fact, but it's a possibility that we don't seem to be entertaining. Like, ever.

It's also sad that she was news to begin with. But we're still baffled at the fact that mothers are people, and sometimes do crappy things (or might be partly responsible for crappy things happening).

Those are my thoughts on this. Cheers.