If there were any justice in this world … Part III
There’s another reason why I’m not among those saying justice was not done in the outcome of Casey Anthony’s trial. There are different kinds of justice. There’s legal justice, dished out by a judicial system designed to protect the rights of the accused — whether it’s you, me, or someone like Casey Anthony — by declaring the accused “innocent until proven guilty” and placing the burden of proof upon the state. Sometimes a system that is designed to guard against convicting the innocent fails to convict those who are very likely guilty, if there just isn’t enough evidence of their guilt. Even in the Anthony case the system, however imperfectly, worked. Justice, of a sort, was served.
Then there what I call cosmic justice — but you can call it karma or whatever you like — that’s not dished out by any particular entity or individual. Unfortunately, it can be less satisfying, because it’s often not immediate, and isn’t usually delivered in front of television cameras. That can be frustrating, because in a case like the Anthony case, a lot of us wanted to see justice done, because of the nature of the case and the way it affected many of us. I’ll admit, even though I know someone is going to get what’s coming to them eventually, sometimes I want to be fate’s delivery boy. Or at least be there to see it.
My experience is that people like Casey Anthony — if she is the person she appears to be — get justice in the end, whether we’re there to see it or not.
I tend tend to disagree with Nancy Grace and agree with Dr. Drew Pinsky. If Casey Anthony is the kind of person many of us seem to think she is, we haven’t heard the last of her.
HLN’s Nancy Grace, who has covered the Anthony case extensively since Caylee was reported missing in 2008, did not mince words about Anthony’s possible plans.
“Now tot mom finally has the beautiful life that she envisioned. She’s free,” Grace said on her show Tuesday. “She will walk free as early as this Thursday. She’s set up to make very likely over a million dollars off the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN’s “Dr. Drew,” said, “If she’s as much of a monster as the court of public opinion believes… this is not the last we have heard from her. She will have her day. She will do something else that will collapse in chaos around her for sure. That’s just the way these people are. If, indeed, she is what we think her to be.”
In a sense, Casey Anthony is free. She’s been acquitted, and because of the prohibition against double jeopardy she can’t be tried for the murder again. And, as the article above points out, the Son of Sam laws don’t apply to Casey. If anyone’s willing to pay her for her story, she could theoretically make money of of it. But that doesn’t mean her “Bella Vita” has finally come in, though she may believe it has.
For starters, there’s the civil case against Anthony, filed by Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, who got caught up on the Anthony story via Casey’s invention of “Zanny the Nanny.” The burden of proof is lower in civil cases, and this one might not end in her favor, putting a crimp in any plans for a “beautiful life,” with any money she might get from selling her story. (FWIW, Anthony filed a countersuit against Gonzalez.
Anthony faces two more lawsuits that threaten to cut into whatever she might get if she “cashes in” on her story. She’s being sued for over $100,000 by Equusearch, the Texas group that led the search for Caylee, saying that Anthony wasted their time and resources because she knew Caylee wouldn’t be found alive. (Even if you believe the story about Caylee drowning, Anthony would have known she was dead.)It’s the group’s first lawsuit.
“It certainly wasn’t fair to anybody that was involved and wasn’t fair to the families that really needed us,” Tim Miller, founder of Equusearch, said.
Anthony was convicted of repeatedly lying to authorities after Caylee’s disappearance in summer 2008, but she was cleared of murder and other charges related to the death of the girl, whose body was found months later in woods near her home.
…Miller told Fox 35 that he remembers showing up at Anthony’s house in summer 2008. “She hugged us and kissed her on the cheek, and I said ‘I’m so sorry about what you’re going through right now,’ and she said ‘Well, thanks for being here right now. I know she’s alive out there somewhere so please bring her back.’”
Anthony also faces a $200,000 civil suit from bounty hunter Leonard Padilla.
Padilla says when he heard Baez’s opening statement during Anthony’s murder trial he felt conned.
“It turns out she knew where the child was all along,” Padilla said. “They misled me, and it is definitely fraud.”
At one point during the highly-publicized search for Caylee, Padilla offered a $25,000 reward for the girl’s return.
He also says he spent $50,000 to bond out Anthony when she was initially jailed. He said he also brought in people to help provide security.
He said he talked to Anthony on many occasions during that time and that she never said she knew where Caylee was.
“She told me the babysitter stole the baby,” Padilla said. “They were both feeding us that line. And now we know it was never true. We lost a lot of money.”
O.J. Simpson tried, remember, to cash in with a book about how the the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman might have gone down if he had done it. Goldman’s family brought a successful civil suit against Simpson that prevented him from making money off the story. Meanwhile O.J. set about hiding the rest of his assets from the Goldmans.
The difference, of course, is that Casey Anthony is no O.J. She’s got no assets, and no discernible talent (unless she can write, and thus turn her talent for weaving fictions into a career as a novelist).
She’s also got no education, no marketable skills, and no experience with money. Remember, this is a young woman never graduated from high school, because she fell one credit short. She also hasn’t had a job for years, and never displayed any interest in finding one. The job at Universal was years before Caylee’s disappearance, whether she quit or got fired, she hasn’t held one since.
And this gets into the kind of person Casey appears to be, or at least that her behavior suggests she is. She’s a liar, and — by her own admission and as conceded by her own defense attorney — quite an accomplished one. Many writers wish they could write fictions as detailed as the ones Casey Anthony dreamed up to keep her family at bay after Caylee’s disappearance.
She had practice. During the time she lived with her parents, she maintained the fiction that she had a job at Universal, to the extent of dressing and leaving for work every morning. When she met Athony Lazzano, with whom she may have hoped to have a relationship that would get her out of her parents’ house, she invented a nanny — “Zanny the Nanny” and began taking Caylee out the door with her. It may have been one of her top ten lies.
Alleged Lie #1 – On or around June 9, Casey told her parents that she had arranged for Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez to babysit Caylee so she could go on a business trip as a requirement of her employment with Universal Studios. She later changed her story and stated that she was going on a short vacation with friends. Meanwhile, Casey told her friends that Caylee had gone on a vacation with her babysitter.
Alleged Lie #2 – Casey offered a variety of explanations with regard to Caylee’s whereabouts until July 15 when she claimed that her daughter had been abducted by her babysitter approximately 31 days prior to that date.
Alleged Lie #3 – Casey told investigators that she had not seen Caylee since June 9 when she dropped her off with her babysitter. However, when they went to the apartment complex in which Fernandez-Gonzalez reportedly lived, investigators discovered that the apartment had been vacant for several months.
Alleged Lie #4 – Casey told investigators that Fernandez-Gonzalez had also lived at a complex on North Hillside Drive. However, when they went to the location, they discovered that it was a senior living facility.
Alleged Lie #5 – Casey told Investigators that Fernandez-Gonzalez’s mother lived in The Crossings at Conway, a community in Orlando. However, when they went to the community, they were unable to find anyone who knew an individual with the last name Fernandez-Gonzalez.
Alleged Lie #6 – Casey gave investigators the name of a woman who she said was a roommate of Fernandez-Gonzalez. Casey reported that the woman worked as a waitress at T.G.I. Fridays. However, when they spoke with the manager of the restaurant, they learned that no such person had been employed there.
Alleged Lie #7 – Casey told investigators that she worked at Universal Studios. However, the company had no record of her employment. When investigators took Casey to Universal Studios so that she could show them where she worked, she finally admitted that she was not an employee of the company.
Alleged Lie #8 – Casey told investigators that she had received a call from Caylee on July 15. However, when they subpoenaed her telephone records, they found no evidence to support her claim.
Alleged Lie #9 – Casey told investigators that two people, both employees of Kodak, were aware of Caylee’s disappearance. When they contacted the company, they learned that no such individuals were employed by Kodak.
Alleged Lie #10 – Casey told her family that Caylee would be home for her third birthday on August 9.
That’s just a sampling, but enough to illustrate how often and well Anthony lied, and the lengths she would go to maintain those lies.
But lies have limitations.
The entire time she was lying about working at Universal and/or Kodak, Anthony had no job, and no income, and apparently contributed nothing to Caylee’s care. But we know she enjoyed a “very active social life” for the single working mother of a toddler. We also know that, at least in the days after Caylee’s disappearance, Anthony went shopping. How did she pay for all this?
She’s a thief. Before being charged with murder, Anthony faced 10 charges of theft connected to check fraud, involving checks stolen from former best friend Amy Huizenga. George Anthony alleged that his daughter would stea from his wife’s bank account, use the family’s credit card, and virtually drained the savings account he’d set up for his granddaughter. According to her grandmother, Anthony allegedly stole $45,000 from her parents, by taking out credit cards in her mother’s name, and may have stolen checks from her grandmother.
As near as I can tell, the grand theft charges against Anthony stem mostly from the checks stolen from her then best friend Amy Huizenga. Anthony pleaded guilty to those theft charges over a year ago, and was sentenced to time served. There don’t seem to have been any charges filed in the $45,000 left from her parents, that Anthony’s grandmother alleged.
And it may be too late for charges to be brought, depending on Florida’s criminal statute of limitations laws. It looks to me like the statute of limitations would be about three years. Grandma wanted Casey arrested in 2007 for allegedly stealing checks, and if the $45,000 theft happened in or prior to 2007, then the statute of limitations seems to have run out, making it too late to file charges.
Casey’s family may have, as the grandmother indicated, decided not to pursue charges out of concern for Caylee’s well-being if her mother was jailed and thus separated from her. Ironic, considering that Casey’s parenting — or lack thereof — very likely put Caylee in harm’s way.
Is she a bad mother? The testimony of her friends, attesting to a loving mother/daughter relationship would seem to paint that picture. But I know from experience that the not-so-fun parts of being a parent aren’t usually the ones people see. So, I wouldn’t necessarily take those statements as definitive of Casey’s parenting. Other statements from friends, however, are telling. Stories of Casey taking two-year-old Caylee partying with her — including a May 25th “Anything But Clothes” party — often depositing the child on a sofa in a house full of strangers, before disappearing into a bedroom with one of her boyfriends.
As a parent, the mind reels. A two-year-old, who should probably be at home in her bed? At a party? An adult party? A party party where adults, probably many strangers to Caylee, were drinking alcohol and doing who knows what else? Deposited on a couch and left there while mom disappears into the bedroom?
Amy tells of Casey dragging Caylee to parties and putting her down on the couch in the middle of a party where Caylee would sleep through the activities of the night. Marie Kissh, Clint Houses girlfriend, expressed concerns in her interview over the lack of care and attention she saw Casey giving Caylee. She tells of Caylee being left in a room full of strangers while Casey went in the bedroom for a romp with Tony. Maria also tells of an incident where Caylee is left unattended on the balcony of Tonys apartment.
So, yes, if you ask me Casey Anthony was a bad mother. As Jill Filipovic wrote, being a bad mom doesn’t make Antony a murderer. But it makes it likely (if not provable in court) that she she was responsible for her daughter’s death.
The words neglect and endangerment come to mind. My first thought as a parent is that anybody could have been at that party, and done anything to Caylee, and Casey would have been responsible for (a) bringing her child to an inappropriate party and (b) abandoning her in a room full of strangers. Someone could have easily picked Caylee up and walked out of the apartment with her if Casey was in the bedroom and her friends were otherwise occupied and/or to impaired to notice. That could be how Caylee disappeared, except that a room full of witnesses would have seen Casey emerge from the bedroom and fail to find her daughter. (That is, of course, if she looked at all. She may not have known Caylee was missing until the next morning, in that scenario.)
There’s another thing that bugged me from the trove of trial documents. The interplay of text messages between Anthony and her boyfriend in the days before Caylee disappeared, on May 8, in which Casey famously referred to her daughter as “the little snot head.” But it’s not the name that’s disturbing, it’s that she exchanged about 198 text messages with her boyfriend inside of seven hours — with Caylee in the house. 198 text messages? With a conscious two-year-old in the house? It’s all I can to do check my email when I’ve got Dylan at home, and I can count on hearing from him every five minutes. Either (a) she can’t have been paying any attention to her child, or (b) Caylee was used to being ignored (whereas Dylan expects his parents to pay him some attention), or a little from column A and a little from column B.
It’s possible Casey didn’t kill Caylee, but that Caylee died from some accident or the actions of another adult while in her mother’s care. But that doesn’t explain why Casey wouldn’t tell the truth about it, except for her well-documented problems with the truth.
Does that mean she’s a murder? None of it proves she ended her child’s life with her own two hands, but it does suggest that Caylee could have died as a direct result of her mother’s negligence. At the very least, I think Casey Anthony was responsible for her daughter’s death, whether she did the murder herself or not, and tried to cover up her responsibility with more elaborate lies. And the motivation lying could have been the same as what the prosecution suggested was the motive for murder: Casey could finally life the free, partying life she seemed to desire. Even if she didn’t kill her daughter to get it, Caylee’s death freed her to enjoy it, and coming forward with the truth about what happened to Caylee — even if she didn’t kill Caylee, and was responsible only through negligence — would bring all that to an end.
Some things about the timeline in this case suggest to me that at the very least Casey Anthony was involved in, if not responsible for, her daughter’s death, and in the disposal of her daughter’s remains. Even more suggests that, wherever she is now, Casey Anthony will never be “free,” and nor will we be free from hearing her name in the news, because we haven’t heard or seen the last of Casey Anthony.
This post originally appeared at The Republic of T.Terrance Heath blogs at the Campaign for America's Future and The Republic of T.