Subscribe
Login
Sunday Times STLive By Lihle Z Mtshali, 2011-07-09

No justice for little American girl as mom walks


Image:

It may be a hard truth to swallow, but Casey Anthony's acquittal of the murder of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, is proof that the US's justice system works.

Justice demands proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, not what the court of public opinion thinks happened. The prosecution, not for their lack of trying, failed to prove the when, where, what, who, why and how.

As a result, Anthony will walk out of prison a free woman on Wednesday but there is no justice for little Caylee - whether she was murdered or died by accident.

The question now is whether a trial by jury is better than the system we have in SA. Both are subject to human error, of course.

I hear so often about US citizens who couldn't be bothered by jury duty and try their hardest to get out of it. If they didn't want to be there in the first place, are they going to be paying full attention six days a week for 33 days, or are they just going to be biding their time until the trial is over?

This jury took just 11 hours to deliberate and come out with a verdict.

On the other hand, you get judges such as Pretoria High Court Judge Nkola Motata who, once again, was involved in a crash in his Jaguar - this time a collision with a taxi - last Saturday, four years after his much-publicised drunken crash into a residential wall in 2007.

I'm not sure I'd want to be before him if I ever found myself in a courtroom.

One thing I am certain of is that Casey Anthony's life will not be the bed of roses she seems to expect when she leaves jail. She reportedly wants another baby. In fact, she wants to adopt one.

But first, she says in a letter from her prison cell, she's going to change her name. That's all? Methinks she should move out of Florida, chop and dye her hair, get a face transplant or if she loves her face too much, move to Mexico where she wouldn't be so easily recognisable.

Anthony needs a good, harsh dose of reality check. She may have dodged the lethal injection and ultimately won this case, but her adorable little girl is still dead and Anthony is not America's sweetheart.

On Thursday when Judge Belvin Perry sentenced her to four years in jail (minus the three years she's already served and credit for good behaviour) for the fantastical lies she told investigators (lying about working at Universal Studios; that Caylee was with "Zanny"; Caylee was missing and she had spoken to the little girl on the phone), there were hundreds of people demonstrating outside the courthouse. Against her.

As one pundit put it, she'll be free from jail, but not free from the troubles she's put herself in. Her lawyer says she has received offers for book deals, paid interviews and TV shows. Analysts say she stands to make millions of dollars if she wants to do so, but she has creditors just waiting to pounce on her the minute she starts making money.

The Internal Revenue Service has filed a $70000 legal claim on any income she makes because, while everything was going on in 2008, Anthony apparently forgot the small detail of paying her taxes.

A company that searched for little Caylee for several months, Equusearch, says it will be filing a $112000 claim against Anthony. The state of Florida's investigators are also going after her.

Aside from the financial troubles, she may have alienated her family with her lies. It will be interesting to see if she goes back to her parents' home when she gets out.

So, honestly, if she thinks someone's just going to give her a baby, she has a rude awakening waiting for her.

I cannot imagine who in their right mind would want to hand over care of any living thing (that includes children, pets or even plants) to this woman.

Anthony's case has prompted campaigners to draw up a petition to have a new federal law created called Caylee's Law "that will make it an offence for a parent or guardian to not notify law enforcement of a child going missing in a timely manner". Almost 300000 Americans have joined the viral "Caylee's Law" online campaign.

Not since OJ Simpson's acquittal of murdering his wife and her friend have Americans been so shocked by the outcome of a much-watched trial. It is clear that America thought this woman was guilty.

If OJ is anything to go by, we'll probably be seeing Anthony in a court again soon.