Casey Anthony, Justice and the U.S. Legal System

Posted by Paul Suckling on July 7, 2011

A high-profile case like Casey Anthony’s focuses attention on the legal system. Is a murder trial just a battle between lawyers to see who wins the argument? Or is it for seeking truth and justice?

The jury of 12 who unanimously dismissed the first three counts against Casey Anthony has created a storm of controversy. This young mother was accused by the state of Florida of murdering her 2-year-old daughter so that she might be free to have a much more fun-filled life.

It has taken three years to come to trial, and the trial lasted 33 days. This case was full of an awful lot of circumstantial evidence that, in the opinion of many, pointed the finger of guilt at Casey Anthony for first-degree murder. (She faced a possible death sentence or life without parole.)

Media frenzy and public uproar

The media has run with this story for the past three years. Some have said it was a trial by media and public opinion, as well as what took place behind the courtroom doors.

When the verdicts from the jury were announced July 5—not guilty on the first three charges, but guilty on four counts of lying to the authorities—there was uproar. Not since the O.J. Simpson or Michael Jackson cases have I seen such turmoil.

Proving Casey’s guilt

The state had the responsibility to provide enough evidence of Casey’s involvement and guilt in this terrible tragedy to prove that she was guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. Was she involved? I have no question in my mind about that. However, did the state establish the how, when, where and why of the case? And that Casey actually committed the crime?

The jury said no. For them, the prosecution did not establish this beyond all reasonable doubt.

Was Casey overcharged? Had the prosecution approached the crime differently, would the result have been different? Some experts say yes. Be that as it may, the whole tragic situation is now finished and, because of double jeopardy rules, she can’t be retried in criminal court.

Did Caylee receive justice?

The question that remains is: Did Caylee (the dead 2-year-old) receive justice?

The simple answer is no.

Did Casey “get away with this crime”? Many would say yes.

What fascinated me throughout was how the whole “event” was more of an argument over who wins rather than a searching for and establishing of “truth.”

Man’s best attempt

However you feel about the results of this case, one thing we all know is that man has never devised a perfect system for resolving his problems. Many Americans would say they prefer the U.S. legal system to most others in the world today or through history. But no one claims the American system is completely just. Far from it.

At our best, humans seem to be incapable of insuring true justice. But why?

What the Bible says

The Bible is not shy about pointing out human flaws and the evil source of deceit, lies, murder and injustice. Consider these candid assessments:

  • “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Or, as the English Standard Version renders this, “The heart is desperately sick.”
  • Satan “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).
  • Jesus said Satan “was a murderer from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44, ESV).

Throughout the trial, it is alleged that several people perjured themselves after swearing to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” Isaiah 59:4 seems very apropos: “No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.”

Photo of a man swearing on a Bible in courtUntil God’s Kingdom comes

No matter the society, country or people involved, the sincerest of men will never establish pure justice. Humans will be let down on both sides of any divide.

Read the first chapter of Isaiah—it gives a very apt description of the corruption and injustice that can be found around the world today.

Try as hard as man can, he cannot bring about what is promised in Isaiah 9:7, a government of “judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

Paul SucklingThis is a promise for all mankind, to be fulfilled at the second coming of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Read more about it in our booklet The Mystery of the Kingdom.

Paul Suckling is a Church of God, a Worldwide Association, pastor from England who now lives in New England.

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