Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Casey Anthony : Did her defense go too far ?


Did Jose Baez’s opening statement in the Casey Anthony case seem aimed at people who believe in conspiracy theories?

Conspiracy theories are a staple of our culture, from the John F. Kennedy assassination to Barack Obama’s birth, from Area 51 to “The X-Files.” I’ve heard from readers who thought Baez went too far by stringing too many outlandish points together, and Nancy Grace agreed this morning on “Good Morning America.”

“If Tot Mom Casey Anthony had stuck with a straight accident defense, saying that she was negligent and the child drowned and then she panicked, didn’t want to tell her mother and hid the crime to make it look like a murder, she would have fared better,” Grace said.

Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee.

Anthony damaged her defense by alleging that father George Anthony disposed of the body and that mother Cindy Anthony left a ladder attached to the pool, allowing Caylee access, Grace added.

Another problem for the defense? Both parents did “exceptionally well” on the stand last week, Grace said.

On “Today,” former prosecutor Susan Filan said the defense had gone “in a very difficult direction” with this “all-or-nothing strategy” that you either have to believe everybody else or Casey Anthony. “They’ve painted themselves into a very bad corner, and they’re in a tough spot now,” Filan added.

The trial continues Tuesday morning. On “Good Morning America,” Ashleigh Banfield provided a preview. “Both sides are agreeing that Casey was lying all along, but the question now is really what the jurors are going to think Casey was trying to hide,” Banfield said. Banfield noted that George and Cindy Anthony have walked by Casey without making eye contact or mouthing words to their daughter.

“Just know the jury is taking that all that in,” Cynthia McFadden added.

On “GMA,” Grace noted that when “Cindy Anthony broke down on the stand, ‘Tot Mom’ was sitting there shaking her head no, no with a stone face.”

But on “Today,” Filan predicted that the jury will decide the case on evidence. She predicted the prosecution will continue to build its case brick by brick while that the defense had put forth such a strong theory that it had something to prove.

On Fox News’ “Geraldo at Large” on Sunday, Geraldo Rivera was struck by how much lack-of-remorse evidence was introduced at trial. He rated as “slim” the chances of a guilty verdict being upheld on appeal.

But in a good panel discussion, former prosecutor Joey Jackson told Rivera, “The problem is that Jose Baez opened the door. He asked questions about the mother’s good character and whether she was a good mother.” And Jackson noted that when Baez moved for mistrial, Chief Judge Belvin Perry reminded the attorney: You asked about Anthony’s mothering.

Judge Alex Ferrer told Rivera that the lack-of-remorse evidence shows consciousness of guilt.

Rivera responded that the evidence seemed more to show ”consciousness of irresponsibility.”

Prosecutor Stacey Honowitz agreed with that point, but added that Anthony’s demeanor was all relevant at trial and predicted there would be a capital-murder conviction.

“Let’s put some money on that,” Rivera said.

With thanks to WIDOWAN