A few weeks ago I posted an article entitled Casey Anthony: Borderline Personality Disorder, a Psychopath or What? This “analysis” garnered a lot of attention (or at least a lot of traffic) for me. I found that yesterday was the busiest day on my blog ever with over 400 views of that article alone (usually I get about 600 daily views of my blog so this was unusual). Of course anyone that has followed the Casey Anthony trial knows why – she was acquitted of first degree murder and aggravated child abuse, but was convicted of four misdemeanor charges of making false statements to the police.
I watched about half of the trial. I followed it as closely as possible and read about Ms. Anthony’s lies, watched the jail videos, read about her partying, watched her interviews, etc. The issue I see here is two-fold. Firstly, it is not a crime to lie (except to officials, which she did and was convicted of; or to the court, which she did not, since she didn’t testify), nor is it a crime to party with your friends. While the behavior is odd and curious (why would one do that if your child is missing?), it is not criminal. What the state was attempting to prove in this case was first-degree capital murder, without physical evidence, DNA, witnesses or a cause of death. A very high standard and hard hill to climb. Not too surprising that she was acquitted. I think (as do many others) that the state of Florida should have charged her with lesser crimes (homicide or manslaughter for example). It seemed to me from the beginning that Caylee’s death was probably a horrible accident or an impulsive action (like doping the child too much) that Casey thought she could distance herself from by lying and avoiding. Unfortunately, she has now learned that lies (even if she didn’t do it or it was an accident, we’ll probably never know unless someone with knowledge of what happens starts to talk) have paid off. In fact, if it WAS an accident and she had come forward at the beginning and said “I messed up, I’m sorry” she would have probably received a more severe punishment than she will now receive. (Of course I have trouble believing the George Anthony angle because Casey has a history of telling lies to get herself off the hook.) She is not a felon at this point. All that being said, I believe that this case is one in which our justice system was shown to work, but justice was not done for the child.
Which brings me to my second point about this case… It is not a crime to be mentally ill, no matter if you have Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD from abuse or you’re a psychopath. You can’t be thrown in jail or executed just because you’re sick in the head. You can only be thrown in jail or executed based on what you do and what evidence shows you’ve done and what a jury of your peers (or a judge in some cases) believes, beyond a reasonable doubt, you have done. Criminal behavior and mental illness are not synonymous. Actions and feelings are not the same. Someone who has aggressive feelings towards others and never acts upon them, they’re innocent of any crime. As for Casey Anthony, even her defense team said that her lies were an indication that she needed help. Those lies were reflective of a deeper psychological disturbance. What it may be, we’ll probably never know, nor should we.
Still, I believe that Casey Anthony will be unable to stay on the right side of the law for long. She’ll not likely kill anyone but, based on her pattern of behavior, she is impulsive and believes that she can talk her way out of just about anything. Unfortunately, this time she was able to talk her way out of any involvement in her daughter’s death – murder or accident.