I am a huge fan of science, Quarks, Colors, and Charms, it sounds like something right out of Sci Fi, but  these were the ‘bits’ that physicists coveted in the 60’s and 70’s. These days they are on an even stranger hunt ‘dark matter’.

The wonderful movie Jurassic Park also introduced the viewer to something called Chaos Theory. This incidentally pretty much sums up my life.

There is also something known as ‘string theory’. I have my own opinion on this. If you place a perfectly good piece of string in a draw, how come it is a knotted mess when you go to get it months later? One can only assume that Chaos Theory and String Theory have done some heavy dating in the confines of their home.

Obviously I am joking (well apart from the string) but there is a serious aspect, the average person knows little about leading edge science. Would you walk into Starbucks and order a Grande (large) Cappuccino (Coffee with steamed milk on top), but hold the Quarks, and heavy on the Dark Matter?

The average person does not know a great amount about science. Sure, we all know about fingerprints. We may not understand the science behind them, but they are part of our life and society. It would be a strange juror that questioned the validity or science behind them.

However it took a good deal of time and effort for fingerprints to be accepted as valid evidence.

Lets talk about DNA. DNA tests are now the heart and soul of some day time talk shows. However twenty years ago DNA testing was not so well known. One only has to look back at the OJ Simpson trial to see the challenges of bringing leading edge science to the court room.

In my opinion there are many parallels between the OJ Simpson trial and the Casey Anthony trial. Taking a jury back to school and teaching them about leading edge science is a major challenge.

Of course I could be wrong. To help determine the answer to that question I talked with well known Southern Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer John Contini. His two answers surprised me:

Jurors now expect and even demand scientific evidence … ever since the popular “CSI” shows (Crime Scene Investigation) and all the other television shows like Law and Order and Boston Legal and all the others (Nancy Grace, Greta Van Susteran, etc) that feature forensic evidence and its powerful impact on jurors. The jury will punish the prosecution with an acquittal if they don’t get to see and hear forensic/scientific evidence. The judge will eventually instruct the jury on “reasonable doubt” and how “a reasonable doubt” may arise from the evidence, LACK of evidence or conflicts in the evidence.”

The defense will otherwise beat the reasonable doubt drum throughout closing arguments, trumpeting the “lack of evidence,” if the prosecution doesn’t present forensic and other scientific evidence. The old days of just plain ole testimony as to who saw what, and when, are over.

He is right, but I decided to continue my assertion. For the science to ‘stick’ the game plan for the prosecution has to be to get in quick, and get out quick. The longer ‘experts’ are on the stand, the worse it gets. The defense plan is very different. Drag the experience out as long as possible. Confuse the jury with science. Nit pick at everything. The longer the defense does this, the more the jury will tune out. John Contini offered this comment:

You’re right, a confused jury will lean toward an acquittal, and you’re also right when you suggest that the longer this trial drags out, and the more tiresome it becomes, the better for the defense.

I think we started to see that approach this morning with the Hair Banding expert. For the early part of this week the prosecution were moving at fast gallop, witnesses came and went, and there was a flow of information that kept the jury in high gear. That however came to a screeching halt with the Long March into science.

Coming from the interesting comments by Lee Anthony, the jury was faced with hours of audio and video recordings. While trial watchers had mostly seen and heard them before. There were new nuggets of gold to be found based on more recent events in the case. How much of the information that the jury picked up on is obviously an unknown.

The Long March then moved into the realm of admitting physical evidence. While I cannot speak for the jury, I for one was bored to tears. Who wants to see (what seemed like) 8 million brown envelopes? Of course from a legal standpoint this step had to be taken, but in doing so, the prosecution slowed the momentum of the trial down to a snails pace.

Pushing ahead at the snails pace the prosecution this morning started the ‘science phase’. While I could not see the jury, I am sure that their eyes were glazed over within a few minutes of Jose Baez starting his cross examination of FBI trace evidence examiner Karen Lowe on the subject of Hair Banding found in the hair of dead people.

I do hope that you will join us tomorrow to listen in to what the panel has to say about this weeks events in the Casey Anthony trial. Just point your browser here at 4pm eastern.

Simon Barrett

Be Sociable, Share!