Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday, July 6: The Village - Not the Jury - Failed Caylee Anthony

By Sylvia Gurinsky

If it does take a village to raise a child, as the old saying goes, that village - in fact, several villages - failed in the case of Caylee Anthony.

First, the local village: Besides the little girl's family, that includes anyone who came in contact with the family while Caylee was alive who could have reported any issues and didn't. Caylee was not entered into any day-care program or school in which a teacher might have seen evidence of any neglect. Florida's Department of Children and Families was never called about anything regarding the girl.

During the trial, the local village included a medical examiner, police and prosecutors in Central Florida who couldn't close those links that would have tied Caylee's death to her mother or anyone else in a conclusive way - or would have otherwise resolved how Caylee died.

Then, there's the global village - that teeming mass of hysteria in both public and media that spent weeks glued to the television set watching what, for them, is another reality television show. It's the people who physically fought for a seat in the courtroom as if they were fighting for a spot on a lifeboat. It's the snakes who will now offer everyone directly affected by the trial big money to spill their guts, the people who will cash in and the members of the public who will watch the show.

They did fail Caylee Anthony. The jury that reached a verdict yesterday did not.

If they'd been instructed to find Casey Anthony guilty or not guilty of being a bad mother, their verdict probably would have been unanimous for "guilty."

But they were instructed on a murder or manslaughter charge. And despite the lynch mob led by Nancy Grace and others, the evidence simply wasn't there beyond the legal definition of reasonable doubt.

For every person obsessed with a single verdict, there are, thankfully, many others who spend their lives as child advocates, trying to protect children like Caylee. Perhaps everyone who's wasting energy screaming about the unfairness of yesterday's verdict should turn that energy to helping those people. That would be the ultimate tribute to Caylee.

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