ABA Journal


Criminal Justice

Appeals court reverses 2 of 4 Casey Anthony convictions, cites double jeopardy

Jan 25, 2013, 07:21 pm CST


No disresepct intended toward Ms. Neil, but this article is very poorly written. I had to click over to the AP article to learn what really happened. There are in fact two separate issues here, but they've been jumbled together in a way that completely confuses them -- and the reader. Also, facts are missing which would've explained the ruling and eliminated the confusion.

First issue: Prosecutors charged Anthony with four counts for four factually distinct lies she told the police. Appeals court said that the legislature didn't intend for each and every lie in a single interview to be charged as a separate crime. If she had told the lies in one interview, she could only have been charged with ONE crime.

[Second issue] However, because she told the lies over the course of two separate interviews, with a significant break in time between each interview, she could be charged with two counts of lying to the police. "Where there is a sufficient temporal break between two alleged criminal acts so as to have allowed a defendant time to pause, reflect and form a new criminal intent, a separate criminal episode will have occurred," the judges said.

By emjaycee on 2013 01 27, 2:05 am CST

To: Emjaycee. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate the outline of the real legal issues involved in order to understand the rulings of the Court. I've said for a long time that these articles should analyze the legal issues, and not focus on the sensational.
Query: What happened to the Miranda warning that anytime an investigation focuses upon an individual, the individual must be afforded legal counsel. ? Did Casey Anthony have legal counsel with her during any of these interviews ?
Good police procedure: Catch an interviewee in an inconsistency, call it a lie, brand the interviewee a liar, destroy their credibility, and convict another crook.
After all, everybody is a crook just waiting to be prosecuted.

By davebert on 2013 01 28, 3:48 pm CST

You can bet that Ms. Anthony validly waived her Miranda rights, if she had them. Miranda applies to custodial interrogation, and when it is custodial the suspect can waive the right to an attorney. Not every police interview is custodial, no warning is required, and when non-custodial your main right is to say no, not without my attorney. Focus may have some some bearing on determining the fact of custody, or whether words spoken while in custody are the result of questioning without benefit of attorneys or warnings or waivers and so on, but is not the touchstone. Plenty of law on this, much fine line drawing, and while I am not sure I liked the public style of her lawyers all the time, that's not something they would have missed. That's defense attorney 101, and look at the result they got.

Do any of us far away onlookers really believe she was innocent? I don't think this woman is a suitable poster child for anyone's pet theories. Other than lamenting that so many bad things happen.

By Walt Fricke on 2013 01 29, 1:29 am CST

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