6/08/2011

Circumstantial Evidence vs Direct Evidence

Can we trust circumstantial evidence?  Sure we can.  And we do.  Rather than use my own words to explain why, I'll leave it to the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case, Holland v. U.S., 348 U.S. 121, 140, 99 L. Ed. 150, 75 S. Ct. 127 (1954):

Circumstantial evidence in this respect is intrinsically no different from testimonial evidence. Admittedly, circumstantial evidence may in some cases point to a wholly incorrect result. Yet this is equally true of testimonial evidence. In both instances, a jury is asked to weigh the chances that the evidence correctly points to guilt against the possibility of inaccuracy or ambiguous inference. In both, the jury must use its experience with people and events in weighing the probabilities. If the jury is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, we can require no more.

For Those That Distrust Circumstantial Evidence, Direct Evidence Isn't That Reliable

There are those that may argue that direct evidence, especially in a murder case, should be the only evidence used to convict.  However, in our imperfect world there usually isn't much direct evidence in most crimes -- and the direct evidence that may be had might not be the most reliable.

Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, for example - and you can't get more direct that a witness glaring at a defense table, pointing his finger and crying out, "he did it!" 

Meanwhile, the slow and tedious introduction of pieces of circumstantial evidence, as time consuming as it might be, can provide a clear picture of the truth - I like to think of it as a "Lite-Brite" of sorts.  Remember Lite-Brites?  They were toys were white lights were hidden by thick black paper on a screen, and you had oodles of plastic buttons, or pegs, that you pushed one at a time into that black nothingness until an image emerged. 

Perhaps those that distrust circumstantial evidence are more concerned, really, with the burden of proof that the State in a criminal case must meet in order to prove their case.  Twelve jurors must use what they have (from Holland, their "experience with people and events") and determine if there is any reasonable doubt left that the defendant did the crime alleged.

Doubt can remain.  It just cannot be a reasonable doubt. And logical reasoning can occur in that jury room.  If it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, you can infer it's a duck.  

Some Believe That Circumstantial Evidence is More Reliable That Direct Evidence

Note:  In fact, there are those in the criminal arena that find circumstantial evidence to be more reliable than direct evidence (especially when we're talking eyewitnesses).   If you are interested in learning more on that issue, I've downloaded Professor Heller's excellent article on this subject, "The Cognitive Psychology of Circumstantial Evidence," 105 Michigan Law Review (2006) at Google Docs.

The University of Michigan Law School is one of the most prestigious law schools in the country, and coming from UT Law, another top tier law school, maybe I should have found a UT Law Review article -- but I like Heller's article here and I think you will, too.

47 comments:

A Voice of Sanity said...

"I like to think of it as a "Lite-Brite" of sorts. Remember Lite-Brites? They were toys were white lights were hidden by thick black paper on a screen, and you had oodles of plastic buttons, or pegs, that you pushed one at a time into that black nothingness until an image emerged."

I prefer to think of it as one of the old "In-Out" boards that companies used to have. Change it to "Guilty-Not Guilty", and assign each piece of evidence to one line. Each piece of evidence must be evaluated. If it reasonably can be construed for not guilty. move it to that point. However, if one piece cannot be construed in that way, it must be moved to guilty. This may imply that other pieces must also be moved, however one cannot just assume what one wishes, as the case of Cynthia Sommer proves.

Perhaps no analogy is perfect.

Reba Kennedy said...

Cynthia Sommer? I'm aware of that case - her 2009 federal lawsuit was based upon allegations of fabricated evidence, conspiracy, and prosecutorial misconduct - that's going beyond the scope of circumstantial evidence and Professor H's analyses.

Contamination of direct evidence, as I recall, included an overzealous Naval investigator's contamination of tissue samples to create direct evidence of arsenic in the decedent.

The complaint is available for downloading here:

http://legacy.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/images/090924sommercomplaint.pdf.

I don't remember what happened, and I don't have time right now to go check status of the case. Interesting one, though.

Thanks for writing,
Reba Kennedy

Theresa said...

As I listen to this evidence.. I am finding myself in the shoes of the thousands of Attorney's who are watching this case. I find it difficult to hear the actual evidence because my brain is screaming with the critique. I would have done bla bla, they should ask bla bla, they could have done bla bla. I am seeing how HARD it is for an attorney watching a trial to really relate to what a Jury might be thinking. I am finding it difficult turn off all of my Computer Science Knowledge.

I could approach this from the Shoot holes in it perspective or I could approach it from what impact do I think it's having on the Jury OR I could approach it from the pretend that it's all rightfully admissible and that there would be no way to do it better or glean more information .. or I could just wait and see if there are specific questions.

For now.. I think i'll wait for specific questions but I am taking notes while I listen to the raw testimony lol.

A Voice of Sanity said...

One problem with computer 'evidence' is that it isn't always possible to determine exactly where one fragment ends and another begins. Another is that if you look at, say, a page with list of hot links to "methods of homicide" and you have a web accelerator running it isn't impossible that some pages may be pre-fetched into the cache without you ever accessing them. It's dangerous territory for the law to go into.

A Voice of Sanity said...

The thing with the Cynthia Sommer case is that the prosecution never could put arsenic in her hands - it just assumed she had gotten it somehow. This was an unwarranted assumption as we now know.

Theresa said...

If I didn't hold the defense in such disdain I would say hey Jose, give me a call, you're getting slaughtered with this computer evidence and you need not do so... but.. I'm having too much fun watching him reach and make half hearted attempts at discrediting evidence that could and probably should have been disallowed from the start.

Theresa said...

A Voice of Sanity said...
One problem with computer 'evidence' is that it isn't always possible to determine exactly where one fragment ends and another begins. Another is that if you look at, say, a page with list of hot links to "methods of homicide" and you have a web accelerator running it isn't impossible that some pages may be pre-fetched into the cache without you ever accessing them. It's dangerous


In my opinion, unless you match the dates and times exactly from matching web logs from the server that served up the searches and web pages all of this evidence is not evidence at all. Good luck getting Google or a website that publishes the instructions on how to make chloroform to voluntarily give you those records.

In addition to making them get those records, the records should be gleaned by an independent source, then matched with the search or download history of the subject computer and IP address by a third party. Unless you can do ALL of these things.. this evidence is useless and too easily modified and changed.

Now damnit.. I've given them too much as it is so I'm gonna shaddup lol.

Theresa said...

As an example. If you gave me oh say.. Jose Baez's hard drive for a few hours, I could return it to you with an email stored in it's email history that appears to be sent from Judge Perry's email account to Jose saying that they want to split all of the proceeds from the book and movie deal if she is found guilty.

I could make this email look like it came into what ever inbox he uses and I could put headers on it etc, I could reset the time stamp and change date of the file and it would appear as though that email came in exactly when I set it to come in. I could do all of this even if he had the best security software in existance and his security software would be unaware. I would be able to do this without any special software or special hardware.

Without the evidence from the servers that email would have passed through and related logs from the Judges computer this damning email would be worthless. However, the way the evidence in the Casey Anthony trial is being presented and accepted .. it would be taken as fact.

DISCLAIMER: I have never done anything like this .. I am not intending to do anything like this.. the above reference is ONLY a hypothetical example

Theresa said...

Listening now to the owner of the software Cache Back testify. Everything he is saying is accurate however, the data he examined is all here-say.

Yes, it's great you can gather all of the data off of the computer and display it nicely but that data is way too easy to fabricate. Unless you get "testimony" in the form of logs for ALL of the servers that that web communication touched (an impossible task) you are presenting here-say. Those web requests originate on one server and travel an infinite combination of hops between servers before they make it to the end user and vice versa. The logs can be modified to reflect virtually ANY browsing history relatively easily. The ONLY way to have this data REALLY verified is to show records from all of those servers and the host server. Unless you can do that and have it independently assembled and analyzed it is and should be considered here-say.

Reba Kennedy said...

Hi Theresa,

I seem to remember that Casey Anthony created a fake email from a boss at Universal, purportedly sent to her with instructions regarding some event.

Does this mean that Casey did something similar to what you are describing? I cannot imagine she has the skill to do so, but I do recall the phony email....

Thx
Reba

Theresa said...

This is purely speculation but what I believe she probably did was to take an existing email and paste it into a word processing software application.
Once you have the text in the word processor you can make whatever modifications to it that you want.. then just print it up and just like that.. email from Universal.

Doing this is similar to what I am suggesting but not as sophisticated. I don't believe she's smart enough to reset the ownership, file size and time stamp of the file but she certainly COULD have done that.. it just wasn't necessary. All she needed to do was to present the print out to her mom so she could go party.

Theresa said...

I should add that making the changes I have referenced would require some limited programming knowledge. I have a degree in computer science, I write code for a living, it would be VERY easy for me.

Someone with NO software engineering experience would not be able to do what I've outlined but someone with a little knowledge.. such as a first year CS student or a high school student who has taken some programming courses would be able to do it.

I could have sworn I made a post about the "Cache Back" software company owner's testimony but I don't see it. I'm wondering if I sent it to the wrong blog now lol

Theresa said...

Another tidbit, I could also create an email that appears to be in Jose's outbox as being sent to the Judge's computer.

Point being, without Logs from BOTH computers, originator and recipient it should be considered HERE-SAY.

Theresa said...

Listening to Jose cross examine the CEO of "Cache-Back" It's way too painful. I'm not sure I can finish. NONE of this testimony should have made it into court.

The fact that it did make it into court is exceptionally damning because the Jurors are not Computer Scientists and thus do not KNOW how subject these things are to modification.

The expert witness did a good job, and everything he said was valid however, it is only valid if the data he analyzed was verified, which it was not. He cannot testify to the integrity of the data because he did zero comparative analysis. Why was there no validation? Because the pertinent records were not brought in. Arrrgggghhh make it stop, I can't listen anymore.

The amount of time she spent at any of the websites is useless, the damaging evidence is that she went there at all. He SHOULD have challenged the DATA in it's entirety.

noh8 said...

@Teresa

I’m interested in your opinion of Cacheback software. Have you tried the software? Also, is it reasonable to believe that somewhere along the line, LE went to the trouble of putting these backdated chloroform searches into Casey’s hardware 284 times? Or were smart enough to spell it chloraform to make it look as though Casey is dumb? I read on another ‘computer guru’ blog that it is possible to determine when a file is deleted, but this was refuted by expert testimony yesterday. What is your experience with this?

Back in the ‘Who is Jose Baez’, Meryl Pataky mentioned that just because someone did those searches, there were 3 other people that could have done it. Although it hasn’t been presented as evidence yet, there is documentation that George, Cindy, and Lee were not at home during that time. That will prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that only Casey was at home during the searches. (However, according to Casey, someone broke into the house and planted that information.) Also, the ‘Casey’ user was not password protected, but the ‘User’ user was password protected. Casey was asked several times what the password for ‘User’ was, and she consistently said ‘rico234.’ It was admitted as testimony yesterday that the actual password was ‘rico23.’ If George, Cindy, and Lee were unable to get into ‘user,’ how could the family have done the searches?

I can get by on a computer but I certainly don’t have the knowledge that you do regarding computers (although I will admit that I reset my computer date and sent a ‘Happy Birthday’ message and blamed it on ‘the stupid internet.’ It worked - sorry Sue!) I was offended by Baez’ questioning yesterday. Even I know that putting a ‘key word’ into any search engine will result in pages of suggestions to other sites and with a quick click, I will be taken to away from the search engine site. Even I know that only takes a couple of seconds. Baez insults the intelligence of most reasonable peoples mind, IMO. For a 2 1/2’ child to fall into a pool that is 1 1/2’ above her is another example, but I digress.

I honestly do believe in innocent until proven guilty, particularly in this case. As a friend pointed out to me recently, I want to believe that Casey is innocent because the idea of a mother committing these heinous acts against her own child is reprehensible to me. I would jump for joy if the defense brought in some thug who admitted killing Caylee. And I don’t watch Nancy Grace (she makes me ill,) I don’t get HLN (thankfully, in my part of Ontario – shout out to fellow Canadians!) However, the circumstantial evidence is mounting up. No what ever happens, I don’t think anyone will ever know “how” or “why” Caylee was murdered. Fortunately, the state does not have to answer those questions.

Theresa said...

noh8 said...
@Teresa

I’m interested in your opinion of Cacheback software. Have you tried the software?


No, never tried it, never even heard of it. It appears to me that it parses the cache file and creates a report in html format from that file. Simple code to write.. nothing complex about what his software does.

Also, is it reasonable to believe that somewhere along the line, LE went to the trouble of putting these backdated chloroform searches into Casey’s hardware 284 times? Or were smart enough to spell it chloraform to make it look as though Casey is dumb? I read on another ‘computer guru’ blog that it is possible to determine when a file is deleted, but this was refuted by expert testimony yesterday. What is your experience with this?

It is possible to modify this record to reflect what ever you want it to reflect. Is it reasonable to think someone did that in my opinion in this case? No, but should it be thrown out because it IS possible ? Yes. In my opinion all of this is hearsay.

If a file is deleted and sent to the recycle bin you can see when it was deleted. If the recycle bin is dumped then the record of when that delete happened is gone. When a file is permanently deleted the file is not really deleted, what IS deleted is the pointers that say that data on the drive is in that location and the reference that that space is unavailable for use in storage of data.

About the passwords
I believe that they will show that the dates and times when those searches happened George and Cindy were at work or other documented locations but I am not sure.

The problem with "User" accounts is that there is always a SUPER USER on every computer. You could change the password for any "USER" account using the SUPERUSER login.

Hope this helps..

I do believe she is guilty but feel strongly that the courts do not treat computer search history evidence the way it should be treated.

My epiphany this morning: If Caylee drowned early in the morning while Casey slept why was she found wearing her Big trouble t shirt and jeans? Wouldn't she be in PJs?

Off to work in a few minutes.. have a great day folks!!

Anonymous said...

Do we know who is on the jury?

Are we sure that there isnt someone with a computer background?

I dont remember any details on the people on the jury at all and maybe someone does know something about this?

noh8 said...

Thanks for your insight, Theresa. One thing I have learned is to be a bit more conscientious about cleaning out my computer - not that I have anything to hide. Since I first got interested in this case I have searched chloroform and How to Make Chloroform so I did add a disclaimer to future LE that should they be forensically looking at my computer, these searches are directly related to this case.

My epiphany this morning: If Caylee drowned early in the morning while Casey slept why was she found wearing her Big trouble t shirt and jeans? Wouldn't she be in PJs?

And why was she wearing pull-ups? Who goes swimming wearing pull-ups? Even if they re-dressed her to throw off the investigation, would they be thinking “Whoa, what if she needs to pee?”

@Anon re: jury
I don’t recall anyone specifically being asked about their understanding of computers. A couple of them don’t have computers if I read right. There is a link with mini-bios of all 12 jurors and 5 alternates if Reba will allow it to be posted. No photos of the jurors are allowed, of course: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/os-casey-anthony-jury-bios,0,1528184.photogallery

Reba Kennedy said...

Hi everyone,
Well I have been on a deadline all day and I still have hours of work to put into this thing, so I didn't watch the trial today.

So, of course it was a big day. Of course, right?

Just caught a summary on one of the TV news channels and learned they broke early b/c Casey got ill during testimony on the finding of Caylee's remains.

Then, when I stop to listen I see the tape photo and I had never seen it before. The two strands, so nose and mouth were both covered. I'm telling you, that is going to give me some nightmares and I saw some really horrific stuff during my years on the CPS Docket.

Okay, enuf.

Theresa, I'm going to go thru all you've contributed here in detail when I have the time to give it the full attention it deserves. I have questions, thanking you in advance for your patience.

So kind of you to share all this.

noh8,
Thanks for the heads up on the Jury Info, I'll post it! Gotta wonder if they've got their own Theresa....

And heck, I've gotta go and do the search "how to make chloroform" now, too.

Anon,
Thanks to noh8, we've got some jury info and I'll be posting that info. Good question on who is on that jury. I was wondering about dog lovers on the jury, too. As a dog lover, I have lots of respect for their savvy - humans are notperfect in their pursuits either, so if dogs don't hit 100% perfectly, I'm not swayed that the dog evidence should be dissed. Also, there were two separate K9s doing separate searches. Pretty much nails it for me. But maybe I do have a pro-dog bias. LOL

Thanks everyone for writing,
I gotta get back to work,
Reba

Theresa said...

Casey got sick today because for the first time since all of this started she is faced with the fact that the party is over. This is no longer a game she is playing with authorities, she KNOWS now that NOBODY is going to buy her tales.. not in the face of what was shown today.

She is sick because she can feel the needle in her arm and she knows that we all know the truth.. I think for the first time she realizes how stupid her lies seem in the face of all of this evidence and she is scared.

Theresa said...

Hi Reba!

Hope you met your deadline. I had already read up on the Jury last week but found the link here to provide slightly different information.

No Computer savvie folks are in the group in fact, there are a few who don't even own computers. To me that means they will take every single ounce of that search history to heart.

I can't wait to hear your take on her sudden illness... I've found at least one website that is reporting that she actually went in the bathroom and threw up. I think she just realized today that the Jigg is up...

Reba Kennedy said...

Hi Theresa,

I'm reading on the web today those in the courtroom are reporting that her tissues never get damp, one lasts forever - so is she faking? I dunno.

The evidence today and yesterday has certainly changed the tenor of the proceedings, tho. It's getting serious now.

More later, I've still got stuff to get out to the editor....

Thx
Reba

noh8 said...

Reba said:

I'm reading on the web today those in the courtroom are reporting that her tissues never get damp, one lasts forever - so is she faking? I dunno.


I’ve also read several similar reports. I’ve been following the trial on WESH. There are no commercials, no commentary, just every second of the trial, with a picture-in-picture in the bottom left corner of Casey's every movement. When the jury is not in the courtroom, Casey acts very differently, but the moment the jury enters, her demeanour completely changes. This morning, for example, just before the jury came back from mid-morning recess, Casey was smiling and talking to Baez. The second the jury came back into court, the tissue (actually reported as toilet paper) appeared and she began dabbing at her eyes, rubbing her nose, etc. IMO, the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Casey is a very credible liar/actor. Personally, I wouldn’t believe Casey if her nose was bleeding – which it very well may do at the rate she is rubbing it. I think she has been coached by her defense team how to act – and I believe that’s exactly what she is doing.

I have also read that Casey has never seen any post-mortem photos, not the crime scene, not the autopsy, nothing. Because of Judge Perry’s instruction that no body parts be seen unless they are pixelated or otherwise blurred out, I haven’t seen any photos either, thankfully. The descriptions of the photos are more than enough for me. I think that in Casey’s mind, if she doesn’t see the photos, they don’t exist. I’ve really tried to believe in “innocent until proven guilty,” as I’ve stated before, and this blog may not be the place to say this, but I think Casey should be forced to look at the pictures. I know, I know, she can’t legally be forced, it’s a point of law that I won’t even try to discuss, but maybe, just maybe, if she saw them she would have to accept the reality of what she is alleged to have done.

I don’t think we will ever see an honest reaction from Casey unless the jury hands down a ‘guilty’ decision.

BTW, before someone posts that I need to get a life, I am currently on medical leave for a back ailment. And frankly, watching this trial play out is working much better than any of the pain meds I’m taking. I have nothing but time on my hands, so I’d be more than happy to look up any facts in the case or questions anyone may have.

Theresa said...

Well, I viewed still shots taken of her when she was breaking down two days ago and there were clearly visible tears.

Today when she broke down I saw sobs, I do believe she is upset, I think she's really crying, really went into the bathroom and puked etc. I don't think she's doing that because she has remorse, I think she's crying and getting sick to her stomach because reality (remember reality.. it's something Casey doesn't allow herself to see much) is slamming into her like a semi going 70.

As far as the pixleation of the pictures.. that is ONLY for media. Everybody inside that courtroom is seeing the unedited versions of those pictures Casey included.. that is when she can bring herself to look at the monitor.

One analyst at the site where I watch is a seasoned defense attorney. He said it is his experience that guilty individuals cry when faced with the results of their actions. Innocent people tend to be angry at this phase. He said he believes her break downs to be real .. but believes they are just more evidence of her guilt.

Caught bits of Dr. G while at work today.. can't wait to see it in its entirety. Gosh I hate HLN coverage.

Reba Kennedy said...

Hi Theresa,
Yepper - I'm on deadline then got a Friday 4:45 rush job due Monday, so working weekend, too.

Will be playing catch-up - saw Dr. G's testimony, wow. She really held her own on cross-examination IMHO.

Wondering about the car trunk, since Dr. G just had bones to analyze. Thinking that any tissue evidence however minute would be in the car trunk, and they took that back in July or August right?

Maybe they're going into that or did it already and I missed it.

Okay, back at it. Whew.
Thx
R

Reba Kennedy said...

Hi noh8,
LOL, my prayers are with you for a quick recovery but heck, the rest of us are watching this trial and we don't have any injury! Hee Hee

Saw a bit of Dr. Drew the other night and he was shaking his head, wondering why this case has caught the national focus. He admitted he has been following it for a long time and still isn't sure why the fascination.

I don't know either. I'm on two dovetailing deadlines and I'm behind the times on what is happening in the case, tho I did stop to watch part of Dr. G. And it bugs me!

Guess they'll be writing books on this, too: why everyone was drawn to this case ....

Have a great weekend, take care!
Thanks for writing,
Reba

Theresa said...

This case has caught all of our attention because we all are fascinated by the psychological aspects of the case.

We were fascinated by Susan Smith as well. Who can fathom a mother watching as her children drown in her car then claiming she'd been carjacked.

How often do you get the chance to observe a sociopath from a distance? Sociopaths do things that non-sociopaths can't FATHOM, so it fascinates us.

Or that's why this case fascinates me.. I am thinking W H A T was she thinking? How could she think this was an OK thing to do. How could she think she could get away with all of those lies? How could she have all of those people around her believing her.. even after most of her lies had been exposed she still had people believing the unexposed ones.

Casey is the two headed circus freak and we don't want to look but we can't help but stare.

Theresa said...

Reba Kennedy said...

Wondering about the car trunk, since Dr. G just had bones to analyze. Thinking that any tissue evidence however minute would be in the car trunk, and they took that back in July or August right?


Well the bugs have it! I had no idea they had all been able to analyze paper towels found .. for the bug remains and were able to say that the body was in the trunk 3,4 or 5 days before dumped in the woods. They found Decomp on the paper towels in that garbage bag and those paper towels were chock full of maggot life evidence.

State wraps up this week!!! Can't WAIT to see what Jose comes up with in her defense.

A Voice of Sanity said...

"Casey is the two headed circus freak and we don't want to look but we can't help but stare."

We're the freaks, not her.

Doctor stuck in chimney died of asphyxiation
Woman apparently trying to confront beau; body found days later.

Astronaut Charged With Attempted Murder
She told the police she had worn diapers on the journey so that she would not have to stop to use the restroom so she could arrive in time to meet Captain Shipman’s flight at the airport.

So we have (almost) a brain surgeon and (almost) a rocket scientist both doing totally stupid things and you think a sad sack like Casey is the odd one?

Theresa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Voice of Sanity said...

Theresa said: "Casey is ONE of the odd ones yea. Where did I say that she was the only freak in the circus? You're the epitome of an internet troll. Shooo small troll person shooo I think I hear you're momma calling you."

What a sad little person you are. Why is it your type always resorts to insults when you lose the argument?

DNA frees Arizona inmate after 10 years in prison

10 years included time on death row.


Krone refused to place blame for his decade behind bars.

"I'm not pointing fingers. . . . Maybe it was a mistake, maybe incompetence," he said. But he made it clear that he felt betrayed by the justice system.

Even after his first conviction, Krone said, he lived by a mantra: "I didn't do it, so how could there be unquestionable evidence that I did?"

Krone was sentenced to death, spending two years and eight months in Cellblock 6 in Florence, watching other condemned inmates taken away for execution.

Krone maintained hope when a second trial was granted but says he gave up when, in his mind, jurors ignored overwhelming evidence and testimony in his favor. When the life sentence came down, Krone said, "that pretty much ruled out all the faith I had in truth and justice."

Krone said he tried to focus on being strong for friends and family who supported him. He read from his Bible each night, and said a prayer "for the truth to come out and, Lord, change the hearts of my accusers."

Theresa said...

A Voice Of Sanity said ... So we have (almost) a brain surgeon and (almost) a rocket scientist both doing totally stupid things and you think a sad sack like Casey is the odd one?

Casey is ONE of the odd ones yea. Where did I say that she was the only freak in the circus? You're the epitome of an internet troll.
A Voice Of Sanity

Shooo small troll person shooo I think I hear your momma calling you.

noh8 said...

To A Voice of Sanity

I understand your reluctance to convict Casey on circumstantial evidence, but what do you think of Dr. G’s testimony – that the manner of death was homicide because she wasn’t reported missing for 31 days and that her remains were found with duct tape over her nose and face? For arguments sake, let’s say that someone other than Casey dumped the remains. What about those 31 days? What about her consistent lies? All the imaginary “friends”?

Theresa said...
This case has caught all of our attention because we all are fascinated by the psychological aspects of the case.

We were fascinated by Susan Smith as well. Who can fathom a mother watching as her children drown in her car then claiming she'd been carjacked.


I don’t think Susan Smith, or any other mother who has been convicted of killing her children for that matter, holds a candle to Casey. Susan did it for ‘love.’ There was a motive, and as sick and despicable as it was, it was a motive. Casey doesn’t seem to have one. To teach her mother a lesson? Perhaps because Tony didn’t think it was appropriate to have Caylee sleep over? There are lots of theories, but no clear-cut motive. You are right, however, I think we are all fascinated by the psychological aspects.

The names of Casey’s imaginary friends has always bugged me, they roll so easily off her tongue. I have a hard time remembering the names of my real friends at times. I was net surfing yesterday afternoon (damn that state’s witness for having a scheduling conflict!) and came up with a few of things. Sorry, Reba, I don’t know where else to post them. Please note that these are not facts in evidence but I’d be interested in your opinions.

Zenaida Gonzales is listed on IMDb as an actress who stared in an 2007 episode of LA Forensics called Mysterious Confession, about bodies that were dumped leaving little or no evidence for investigators. This is the only thing this actress is credited with, and there is no photo of her on the site.

On the same site, Juliette Lewis (the person Casey supposedly told that Caylee was missing) starred in the 2002 movie Enough.

Jeff Hopkins is listed as an actor in a 2001 movie called Sugar and Spice, about a popular high school cheerleader who becomes pregnant with the star quarterback's child, only to find herself turning to crime to support the lifestyle she wants to live.

These just crazy coincidences, right?

A Voice of Sanity said...

noh8 said: "To A Voice of Sanity:
I understand your reluctance to convict Casey on circumstantial evidence, but what do you think of Dr. G’s testimony – that the manner of death was homicide because she wasn’t reported missing for 31 days and that her remains were found with duct tape over her nose and face?"


On the contrary, circumstantial evidence is excellent evidence. The problem is that too many don't know what it is so the prosecution gets away with fraud. Dr G's testimony was just that - a fraud. In no way is it science - it's merely another example of the logical fallacy known as "No True Scotsman".

Why doesn't Florida have a law making it a crime to soak your feet in ketchup and kerosene and set them on fire? Why does it have a law criminalizing the improper disposal of human remains? Because they don't anticipate the former but do anticipate the latter.

That's what we have here - improper disposal of human remains. Ironically, Casey's lies work for her because they actually are not incongruous with her failure to deal properly with her daughter's death.

Dr G didn't answer the three key questions:
1) What evidence is there that Caley didn't die by accident?
2) What evidence is there that Caley didn't die from illness?
3) What evidence is there that Caley didn't die from an unexplainable cause?

So far not one witness has answered any of these.

Theresa said...

What if anything can be speculated from the Jury asking to view the heart and cardboard evidence today?

Any of you experienced trial types have any thoughts?

Theresa said...

Ahhh, I have to listen to this and catch glimpses of the testimony at work from HLN. They break away to commentary and commercials at the most inconvenient times and I miss a lot.

I'm watching the raw video footage back now and just realized what the Jury asked to view and Why they asked to see it.

There was a hard plastic heart found resting on a piece of cardboard during the recovery of remains. I'm not sure where it was found exactly but it had not been allowed into evidence because Defense objected.

The defense brought that piece of evidence out when the officer who had conducted a search of the Anthony home on Dec 11th was testifying. They withdrew their objections and asked the officer if she had found anything like that in the Anthony home during the search. The officer said no, she had not found anything like that during the search. Later the Jury asked to see that piece of evidence because they had not been shown that evidence when it was admitted.

To hear HLN news tell it the Jury was obviously communicating about evidence and discussing the case because they asked to see it. God I hate the media.. anybody who uses solely the media to tell them how this case is going is missing out on SO much!!

Theresa said...

How brilliant is it that the Two cans containing cutout of the spare tire cover are the last two items admitted formally into evidence before the Defense begins their case.

I wonder if there are any bookmakers taking odds on whether or not the Jury will open the cans during deliberation. They asked if they were going to be able to handle evidence during deliberation and the Judge arranged for gloves. I'd put my money on them opening at least one of the cans. I wonder if the smell will still be there?

noh8 said...

Theresa said...

What if anything can be speculated from the Jury asking to view the heart and cardboard evidence today? It tells me that they are interested in all aspects of the trial.


They want to see first hand how the hearts in the room match with the heart at the scene. One of them is anyway, the one that asked to see it, because of course, they aren’t allowed to talk about the case. I actually giggled when Baez tried to explain an obvious ‘puffy sticker.’ I guess with his hectic life, he doesn’t get much time for arts and crafts or scrapbooking.

To hear HLN news tell it the Jury was obviously communicating about evidence and discussing the case because they asked to see it. God I hate the media.. anybody who uses solely the media to tell them how this case is going is missing out on SO much!!

And apparently Mason watches HLN to figure out how to proceed. He objected for this very reason this morning. Fortunately, I don’t get HLN here in Canada, but I’ve heard so much about the many things they’ve said and done that I would block it if I did get it! I watched Nancy Grace once. I still have nightmares. How can the people who work with her stand it? Screaming at them, calling them names, how much more unprofessional and egotistical can one woman be?

WESH has a Florida-based legal analyst on board to answer questions. He was asked “I know in civil lawsuits the jury is allowed to ask questions of the witness after the questions have been screened by the judge to make sure they do not violate the rules following the direct and cross exams. Is that not allowed in criminal cases or are they just foregoing that?”

Judge O.H. Eaton replied:
“The trial judge has the discretion to allow jurors to ask questions of witnesses. There is a jury instruction that explains how jurors are to do that. In the Casey Anthony case, Judge Belvin Perry did not give that instruction, so the jurors are not aware they can ask questions. I used to always allow jurors to ask questions. Sometimes they were good ones. The instruction tells the jurors they are not to act as lawyers but can ask questions to clarify or explain the testimony.”

However, Judge Perry told Mason his motion was overruled for this very reason. The jury does have the right to ask questions or clarify or explain the testimony. He also pointed out that they jury had seen the sticker yesterday so Mason’s time for asking was too late.

Then there was the hour-long motion to acquit based on lack of evidence. To hear Mason tell it, Caylee must have committed suicide! “George Anthony is the only one in that house that could have used duct tape!” Of course, that was denied as well. Judge Perry is a very wise man. He is doing everything in his power not to have his decision overturned on appeal.

On another topic, I’ve heard several legal analysts are all saying that the defense really made a big mistake with the whole "George molested Casey" opening statement. They say that the only one who can testify to that is Casey, anything she may have told someone about it or anything she wrote about it (prison letters) about it will not be admitted because it is hearsay. The jury will then expect her to testify.

I wish she would, I'd love to see her squirm under cross, but it would be suicidal for the defense. What does everything think of Casey taking the stand?

noh8 said...

Theresa said...

What if anything can be speculated from the Jury asking to view the heart and cardboard evidence today?


It tells me that they are interested in all aspects of the trial. They want to see first hand how the hearts in the room match with the heart at the scene. One of them is anyway, the one that asked to see it, because of course, they aren’t allowed to talk about the case. I actually giggled when Baez tried to explain an obvious ‘puffy sticker.’ I guess with his hectic life, he doesn’t get much time for arts and crafts or scrapbooking.

To hear HLN news tell it the Jury was obviously communicating about evidence and discussing the case because they asked to see it. God I hate the media.. anybody who uses solely the media to tell them how this case is going is missing out on SO much!!

And apparently Mason watches HLN to figure out how to proceed. He objected for this very reason this morning. Fortunately, I don’t get HLN here in Canada, but I’ve heard so many things that they’ve said and done that I would block it if I did get it! I watched Nancy Grace once. I still have nightmares. How can the people who work with her stand it? Screaming at them, calling them names, how much more unprofessional and egotistical can one woman be?

WESH has a Florida-based legal analyst on board to answer questions. He was asked “I know in civil lawsuits the jury is allowed to ask questions of the witness after the questions have been screened by the judge to make sure they do not violate the rules following the direct and cross exams. Is that not allowed in criminal cases or are they just foregoing that?”

Judge O.H. Eaton replied:
“The trial judge has the discretion to allow jurors to ask questions of witnesses. There is a jury instruction that explains how jurors are to do that. In the Casey Anthony case, Judge Belvin Perry did not give that instruction, so the jurors are not aware they can ask questions. I used to always allow jurors to ask questions. Sometimes they were good ones. The instruction tells the jurors they are not to act as lawyers but can ask questions to clarify or explain the testimony.”

However, Judge Perry told Mason his motion was overruled for this very reason. The jury does have the right to ask questions or clarify or explain the testimony. He also pointed out that they jury had seen the sticker yesterday so Mason’s time for asking was too late.

Then there was the hour-long motion to acquit based on lack of evidence. To hear Mason tell it, Caylee must have committed suicide! “George Anthony is the only one in that house that could have used duct tape!” Of course, that was denied as well. Judge Perry is a very wise man. He is doing everything in his power not to have his decision overturned on appeal.

On another topic, I’ve heard several legal analysts are all saying that the defense really made a big mistake with the whole "George molested Casey" opening statement. They say that the only one who can testify to that is Casey, anything she may have told someone about it or anything she wrote about it (prison letters) about it will not be admitted because it is hearsay. The jury will then expect her to testify. I wish she would, I'd love to see her squirm under cross especially when asked about her previous felonies, but it would be suicidal for the defense. What does everything think of Casey taking the stand?

A Voice of Sanity said...

On another topic, I’ve heard several legal analysts are all saying that the defense really made a big mistake with the whole "George molested Casey" opening statement. They say that the only one who can testify to that is Casey, anything she may have told someone about it or anything she wrote about it (prison letters) about it will not be admitted because it is hearsay. The jury will then expect her to testify.

They may expect it but there's no need for her to do it. The defense doesn't have to "prove" any particular theory - merely show it is possible. For example, how do you know a stranger didn't grab Caley and drown her in the pool while Casey was inside?

Quote:
Tina Fey doesn’t really like to talk about what happened to her face but, in a recent interview, husband Jeff Richmond shared the story. Tina Fey was slashed across the face with a knife by a stranger in the front yard of her Pennsylvania childhood home when she was only 5-years-old.

Reportedly, 5-year-old Tina Fey thought she had only been marked with a pen.


There are too many alternate possibilities for an honest jury to convict. If they do it will be out of emotion, not reason.

Theresa said...

noh8 said...
What does everything think of Casey taking the stand?


I don't see how the Defense can expect their opening statements to fly if she doesn't take the stand. Casey has already testified via the recordings and videos.. if the Defense doesn't let her testify to the sexual abuse they are signing her death sentence for sure. I would love to see her take the stand but I doubt that she will.... she simply can't fill in the blanks.

Did you see the tapes of her face when Cindy mouthed "I LOVE YOU" to her as she was leaving the stand yesterday? Casey made a rude mean face and turned away. God this girl is sooo spoiled and selfish! George and Cindy reportedly hugged each other sobbing for 21 floors in the elevator after court today on their way out.

What do you think about the surprise witness the defense declared a couple of hours ago? I intend to try to search some info on the guy.. his name is Vasco Thompson and supposedly George Anthony had his phone number on his cell phone call logs 4 times on the 15th of July in 2008. The Anthony family attorney was on the news saying that the number is just similar to the number of GA's new employer at the time. This guy supposedly did 10 years for kidnapping.

Theresa said...

I Have to wonder if these defense attorney's have been straight with Casey. Surely they KNOW they are going to lose, are they legally obligated to tell the defendant their opinion of how this case will eventually play out? Have they given her the OPTION of confessing in exchange for a deal?

The fact that they continue this charade when the ONLY benefit is to their own careers win or lose is incredible to me... Someone please tell me, are they ethically required to tell the defendant of the TRUTH of how this will likely turn out? I mean Cheney himself went on the news before he joined the Defense team stating it would be a circus trial with a guilty verdict.. I'm starting to view them as being as delusional as Casey if they continue to pretend they can win.

Theresa said...

A Voice of Sanity said...

They may expect it but there's no need for her to do it. The defense doesn't have to "prove" any particular theory - merely show it is possible. For example, how do you know a stranger didn't grab Caley and drown her in the pool while Casey was inside?


The judge outlined clearly today what the expectation and law in Florida is regarding circumstantial evidence. Have you not listened to his statements when denying the request to acquit? In my mind I picture you plugging your ears with both fingers and humming loudly during his statements. This judge feels there is OVERWHELMING evidence. This judge has NEVER had a death penalty case overturned. What makes you believe you know better than this seasoned Judge?

A Voice of Sanity said...

Theresa said: "I Have to wonder if these defense attorney's have been straight with Casey. Surely they KNOW they are going to lose."

So you think that Americans are too dumb to be jurors, that they only ever vote on prejudice, not evidence?

A Voice of Sanity said...

Blogger Theresa said: "This judge feels there is OVERWHELMING evidence. This judge has NEVER had a death penalty case overturned. What makes you believe you know better than this seasoned Judge?

I KNOW I know better than a rubber stamp judge who merely echoes what the prosecution feeds him and who is a scientific ignoramus. Shame on him.

Reba Kennedy said...

Quick comment here in response to earlier discussion:

After all the craziness that the defense has demonstrated thus far, I will not be surprised if Casey Anthony takes the stand. If I were on the state's team, I'd be rubbing my hands with glee at the possibility. In my civil deposition days, one of my favorite strategies was to build documentary evidence and past statements slowly to the point where I could get to the single, short question: "Were you lying then, or are you lying now?"

More than one settlement resulted from that question - and these were civil suits, where money was at stake (admittedly, lots of it).

So, with someone's life on the line and all those jailhouse tapes already in evidence, how the heck the defense can convince the jury that anything that Casey Anthony says to them is worth their consideration -- well, it will be interesting to watch.

She's a liar. That doesn't seem to be in dispute by anyone at this juncture.

Oh - one question I have for the Florida lawyers out there: how can an attorney put her on the stand and let her lie? Here in Texas, perjury is a big deal and if you think that your client is going to not give the truth on the stand, then you sit down, don't participate by questioning, and let them tell their story (which they have a right to do). It's sorta a red flag when you do this, granted, but you cannot be part of the crime. And perjury is a crime.

Just wondering....

Theresa said...

Just watched the depositions in the Zannie civil suit. OMG, this person is a leech looking for a quick buck .. I'd like to see them put that shit before a Jury.. I'd NEVER grant them restitution. NEVER.