Friday, June 10, 2011

Casey Anthony: Let's Be Reasonable About Reasonable Doubt

The media frenzy that surrounds the murder trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of murdering her child then not reporting it as she partied hearty for 31 days is veritably unprecedented. It is the first trial since the trial of OJ Simpson to captivate the nation's conscience to such a palpable degree multiplied exponentially by the fact that it is the fist such trial of the social media age.

What grips me most about the trial is that the concept of "reasonable doubt" has become so unreasonable. In today's testimony Dr. Jan Garavaglia, the Chief Medical Examiner for Orange and Osceola counties who in 2008 had called the cause of Caylee’s death homicide by undetermined means testified.

Dr. G as she is known told jurors that a portion of the right tibia was sent to the FBI for DNA testing and came back a positive match for Caylee. Garavaglia was the medical examiner that performed the autopsy twice and sent the post-mortem samples to be tested for toxicology as well, which came back negative. She acknowledged, however, that she did not expect to find any substances like chloroform in the bones, and that the absence of positive results for toxicity did not exclude the acute use of them.

Though she could not determine the exact manner of death, she believed the method of death was homicide. She sustained that she could reach conclusions based on the condition of the 2-year-old’s remains and other factors including the duct tape wrapped around her skull.

“The fact that there’s duct tape anywhere attached to that child’s face is to me indication that it’s homicide.”

Flustered defense attorney Cheney Mason argued that Garavaglia did not have any actual scientific evidence about how Caylee died, and that her conclusions were based on the media and circumstantial evidence presented.

As a medical examiner, she stated that it was her job to take more than just the skeletal remains into consideration when she determined how someone died.

“There’s the fact that she was tossed aside to rot, there’s the fact that her death wasn’t reported. Accidental deaths are reported unless there is a reason for it not to be,” Garavaglia responded.

The defense claims that Caylee drowned in her grandparents’ pool, and that Casey never told anyone.

The celebrity witness who appears on the Discovery Health Channel show “Dr. G: Medical Examiner” also stated that several studies show that accidental drownings are reported to the authorities 100 percent of the time.

“That’s your opinion,” said Mason.

“No, that’s systematic observational studies,” she replied. “There’s also the presence of the duct tape. No child should have duct tape on its mouth when it dies.”

So there it is. Simple logic. What we all know as human beings -- whether you're a parent or not -- if you're child is wounded or even very obviously deceased...? You would call 911. Why?? Because the parental gene, nay the basic human gene that drives every involuntary response would compel you to dial for emergency assistance in the hopes that your child (or any human for that matter) could be saved. Keeping oneself from calling for emergency services would be like trying to stop paristalsis or one's own heartbeat. Not possible.

When does "reasonable doubt" entail satisfying every preposterous assertion lobbed into the ether that can't be disproved by an eyewitness or date-stamped security cam footage? Just because Mr. Baez & friends bully away regarding snippets of clear evidence that can't be corroborated with diamond-encrusted, videotaped evidence certified by The pope and Jesus himself -- it doesn't mean we aren't reasonable enough to know a murder when we see one.

It is UNREASONABLE to think that any parent would find their child accidentally drowned a pool and then duct tape the child's mouth shut, put it in a trash bag and throw it by the side of the road; then go out and kite checks, get a tattoo and party for a month.

It's UNREASONABLE to think that two police dogs and seven separate witnesses don't smell a cadaver in a car trunk because there was an empty cheese wrapper in there.

It's not reasonable.

Here's what I know. My heart pumped blood through my veins last night while I slept.

I don't know that because I was hooked up to an EKG machine with Havard-educated, Nobel Prize-winning cardiologists certifying that my heart did it's job. I know it because I woke up this morning.

That’s systematic observational studies. No child should have duct tape on its face when it dies. No mother refuses to report her child's death for 31 days unless there is a reason. PERIOD. That's common sense. Some things are obvious. Asking us to consider, justify and disprove the ridiculous and the unreasonable is a vile debasement of the human condition.

I don't favor the death penalty. That's another topic entirely. But I do favor a return to reason and sanity.

Casey Anthony had a hand in her child's death. If Jose says she knows how Caylee died -- then let's put her on the stand and ask her why he needed that duct tape. If it was an accident, then tell us why and plead to the crime that fits.

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