This trial has been full of surprises. I have to admit that I thought we were in for another OJ Simpson adventure, one that seemed to last an eternity. My thinking was that we were going to see two very different strategies, the prosecution would be short and to the point, while the defense would prefer to drag out the process to confuse the jury.

The is also a psychological game being  played out. The jury being sequestered adds a dimension. In some ways they are unwitting victims placed under house arrest. There is also the question of who the jailer is. Generally the Jailer is the judge. A man that is often perceived as little more than an extension of the State Prosecution. One common theory is that the longer that the jury remains ‘locked up’ the more likely they will be to swing toward the defense. After all, it wasn’t the defense team that deprived them of their freedom. Of course there is an equally compelling argument that tells us that members of a jury are not stupid. They will spot ‘time wasting’ and this could be very detrimental to the defense case when deliberations take place.

Todays activity in the Casey Anthony trial somewhat surprised me. The prosecution explained that they only had one more witness, however that witness would not be available until tomorrow. The prosecution has indeed followed the wisdom of get in and out quick!

Judge Perry went on to tell the jury that he expected the prosecution to rest either tomorrow or Wednesday morning.

By far the bigger surprise was Judge Perry also announcing that the defense phase should be wrapped up by the end of next week, and the jury likely would start deliberations on either the 25th or 27th. I was stunned! I had assumed that the defense would lay siege and drag out this phase as long as possible.

I have no legal background, but the possibility of a ‘quick defense’ was brought up on yesterdays radio broadcast by veteran attorney Mannie Barling. You can listen to the recording here.

I talked to Mannie today, and I will admit defeat. While he didn’t use the term “I told you so”, but he came pretty close.

Wasn’t this my prediction? As I said, the prosecution would rest and the defense would be short and geared to the penalty phase.

Knowing when I am beaten, I had to take my punishment!

There is however one aspect that I am in total agreement with. Casey Anthony has brought this problem on herself. But it is far too late to change things:

Casey Anthony should have admitted to accidentally killing Caylee by either shaking her or putting the duct tape on her mouth because she was screaming too much. She could have said she panicked and made a stupid mistake and panicked afterward again. Watching her, this could be very believable. It would also show remorse.

If she had admitted that Caylee died like that, the charge would have to be second degree murder which, in all likelihood, would be 25 years to life. It would also inhibit the use of the felony murder rule for many reasons.

Had she played that hand, what would the result have been?

That would result in Casey Anthony being released from prison by her 50th birthday. Now, as a result of a poor defense strategy, Casey Anthony will be in a pine box or a pile of ashes by her 30th birthday. She might last until 35 with a good appeal. But the defense has guaranteed the death penalty. She will never take the stand because her only hope now is leniency from the jury, which she would destroy by testifying.”

So what strategy is left for the defense?

Looking at the defense’s time projections, it would seem that their entire defense will be an attack on the science offered by the prosecution.  They are trying to ignore the need to explain why Casey failed to report her death.  Even if the defense were successful in debunking the prosecution’s science, the residue of unexplained motherly inaction is sufficient to convict her.  The burden of proof has shifted to the defense to explain Casey Anthony’s failures as a mother.  Without a credible explanation, the jury will be left no other choice but to convict.

This case has captured the attention of many people. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Obviously the big question is what track the defense team will take? To waver from the strategy laid out in opening statements may be detrimental, but staying the course set may be even worse.

The bus rented by the defense team is running out of space under it. Tossing George and Cindy Anthony, brother Lee Anthony, meter reader Roy Kronk, and possibly the Grund family under it may well be problematic.

Only time will tell.

Simon Barrett

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