May 11th, 2010
12:39 PM ET

Judge: Death penalty not sexist in Anthony case

[Updated at 12:39 p.m.] Casey Anthony will face the death penalty, a Florida judge ruled, rejecting defense arguments that capital punishment in her murder case was sexist and unduly harsh.

Judge Belvin Perry Jr. also rejected defense arguments that prosecutors were seeking the death penalty as a means to bankrupt Anthony's defense.

The judge did grant one defense request - that prosecutors disclose evidence supporting the aggravating factors they intend to cite if Anthony is convicted of premeditated murder and they ask jurors to return a death sentence.

In death penalty cases, jurors are asked to weigh aggravating circumstances that make a crime especially heinous against mitigating factors that favor the defendant, such as a lack of prior offenses.

Anthony, 24, is accused of killing her daughter, Caylee, who was 2 when she disappeared in June 2008. Caylee's body was found that December in a vacant lot near the Orlando, Florida, home where she lived with her grandparents.

Casey Anthony's trial is scheduled to begin on May 9, 2011.

The defense maintains that prosecutors had originally said they would not seek death in the Anthony case but reversed that position in March 2009 when they learned that Anthony had $205,000 for her defense.

The bulk of the money came from ABC News for the licensing of photos and videos, Baez testified during a previous hearing.

"The court has the authority to bar the death penalty where the prosecution exercises its discretion in bad faith, for impermissible motives and in order to prevent the defendant from exercising her constitutional rights," the defense argued in court papers.

Judge Perry denied the motion, saying that judges are prohibited under Florida law from interfering with the state's decision to seek death. Although one exception includes circumstances in which bad faith can be documented, Perry said Anthony's defense had not proven bad faith.

The defense also argued that prosecutors sought the death penalty against Anthony because she is a woman, and that focusing on Anthony's lifestyle before she was arrested is gender bias.

Defense witness Elizabeth Rapaport, a University of New Mexico law professor and author, testified that the lifestyles of white middle-class mothers charged with killing their children receive much more media attention than those of defendants in other cases.

Under questioning by Anthony attorney Andrea Lyon, a nationally know death penalty expert, Rapaport said a mother perceived as "deviant" by a jury has a more difficult time defending herself.

The defense argued that Anthony is facing more serious charges and harsher punishment than a man in the same position would receive.

[Posted at 10:42 a.m.] A judge ruled that Casey Anthony may face the death penalty for the alleged murder of her child Caylee, CNN affiliate WFTV reported.

During the hearing a host of the witnesses focused on the issue of mothers and women and the death penalty. The defense argued having the death penalty on the table against Casey Anthony was unfair and biased.

WFTV reported Judge Belvin Perry said very rarely a judge can overturn the state’s desire to seek the death penalty. A host of the witnesses focused on the issue of mothers and women and the death penalty.

“The fact that the defense has not met their burden in this case, the motion to preclude the death penalty for the impermissible gender bias, it will be denied," the judge said.

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soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. katie

    i agree.. i think that the death penalty is just an easy way out.. she is clearly lying threw her teeth and anyone who has the audasity to kill their baby girl deserves severe punishment.. life in prison is the only way she will get to sit and think about what she did for the rest of her life.

    June 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Linda Henderson

    The death penalty is just what she deserves,that little girl should still be here,but her mom thought partying was more important so she had to do something to get her to go to sleep ,she just gave her too much of what ever she gave her,thats what happens to these young girls that are out there having babies and are not prepared to be mothers they still want to do the things they did before baby came along.

    August 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Seegj

    So evidently...according to Mr.Cheney we will never know what happened to Caylee...and too bad for us! They of course know. THIS IS VERY DISTURBING. it appears that a person can do anyhing they want to others, including murder if they lie enough...and I guess it is just dandy that your attorney does not have to DISCLOSE anything. BUT...the law is the law..so .TOO BAD. Is that what it is all about? What happened to the TRUTH? Keep your mouth shut, lie like a pro , have NO heart or conscience and a little child can be murderedand thrown away like trash...along no to mention all the other lives that have been destroyed! Another THUG is set free...and we can all be content because they got a "fair" trial (unlike the victim) . who else will be hurt , lied too, or murdered by Casery now? I doubt that she is done...but WE are all being so unfair to her ? . In the name of truth...maybe we need to reexamine how some of the laws are WRITTEN and interpreted if according to the law...this is right and decent! SGJ !

    July 8, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
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