July 5th, 2011
03:03 PM ET

Toobin: Anthony verdicts a 'historic rejection' of prosecution's case

[Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET] Tuesday's verdicts in the Casey Anthony case - she was acquitted of felonies including murder, and found guilty of four misdemeanor counts - were a "historic rejection of the prosecution’s case," CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

"They sought the death penalty against this woman, and she got convicted of four misdemeanors (of providing false information to a law enforcement officer). This is a historic rejection of the prosecution’s case and an enormous victory – for better or worse – for Casey Anthony,” Toobin said on CNN minutes after the verdicts were read.

“She won and the government lost. ... In most courtrooms in the United States, if you’re convicted of misdemeanors, you do not get a prison sentence. So, the fact that the sentencing is just coming on Thursday - two days from now - suggests that there will not be much to this sentencing," Toobin said.

A lack of evidence pointing to a time of death and a cause of death for Casey's daughter Caylee was key to the acquittal, according to Toobin.

"There was never even a theory of when or how or even why Casey Anthony killed her daughter," he said. "There is certainly a lot of evidence that she behaved terribly, that she lied about all sorts of things. But in terms of murder, much less first-degree murder – intentional murder - there really was a big gap in the evidence, and I certainly expect that when these jurors come to explain their verdict, the failure to prove a time of death or cause of death will be a major, major factor.

"You can’t fault the prosecution for the absence of evidence. The evidence is what it is. But certainly those are the key facts in this acquittal."

Toobin said he believes Anthony, who has been held in a Florida jail since her arrest in 2008, will be released soon.

"If she were convicted of four misdemeanors in New York state, she would never get any jail time. She would get probation. There are almost no prisoners in New York state – which is the state I know best – who are in prison for misdemeanors,” Toobin said.

“Misdemeanors are not prison cases in my experience in New York and most other states, and I would expect that she not get any jail time. ... I don't know why her lawyers didn’t make a motion to get her out today,” he said.

The acquittals, Toobin said, cannot be appealed.

“Tomorrow, Casey Anthony can go on the steps of the courthouse and confess to murder, and under the double jeopardy clause to the Constitution, she could not be tried again," he said. "This case is over. Forever. Done. She will never go on trial again for this case.”

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Filed under: Casey Anthony • Courts • Crime • Florida • Justice
soundoff (818 Responses)
  1. Martyp

    let's take a poll.....how many of you know of people who found their child dead (by whatever cause...drowning, choking, suicide..etc) and disposed of the body and lied about what happened and made it look like a murder...instead of calling 911 and trying to save their child?
    1. No

    July 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keyser

      Just because they were stupid does not mean they committed murder... Most likely a horrible accident gone wrong, which they tried to cover up... From the transcripts from the trial, the entire family is disfunctional... Should we convict the entire family of murder too?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erica

      No.

      I would have been able to go with the story of the child drowning and they panicked, but why would someone put duct tape across a dead child's mouth. That just doesn't make any sense.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      This is why we have the justice system we have. To protect us from people like you. It is not perfect but it is the best and it is ours. Name me one system that is better suited to find the truth?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mad in WV

      PS Don't forget –> you have to wait a month to report it

      July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. to Oh NO

    The president is black...his parents are both black. Bi-racial means two different races. Read a book.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erica

      The president's parent are not both black; his mom is caucasian and his father is African.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • To: to Oh NO

      Don't correct people if you don't know what you are talking about. His father is black, his mother is white; therefore he is bi-racial. You just come out looking like a fool, sorry.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • TRouble

      Ummmm......Obama IS bi-racial. That came out when he released his birth certificate. Check YOUR facts!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Youfail

      Obama's mom is white. maybe YOU should crack a book.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • East Coaster

      Ummm, you should read a book. His parents are not both black. White mother.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      I'm not sure what your comment has to do with Casey Anthony, but in any case, you are incorrect. President Obama's mother was white, making him bi-racial. Read a book.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • To 'to Oh NO'

      His mother was white. Where have you been, smarta$$? Reading too many books?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • sicau

      Are you trying to be funny or are you just confirming your ignorance? Our president is bi-racial; his mother was caucasian, his father was black. It is you who needs to read a book.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Calypso

      President Obama's mother was white. He is in fact bi-racial.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • dcbly

      The President's mother was white, his father was black african....so HE IS BIRACIAL!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • JimmyJames

      black, white, biracial ,who cares, the biggest concern should be incompetent

      July 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Keyser

    "You can’t fault the prosecution for the absence of evidence. The evidence is what it is. But certainly those are the key facts in this acquittal."

    What an idiotic thing to say... It is the prosecutions JOB to assure a conviction by having the EVIDENCE to do so before you bring someone up on charges... You don't just float a murder one charge unless you are sure you have the motive, means and cause of death, linking the defendent with the crime... No, the Florida prosecutor on this case better be practicing up his juggling, cause his next job with be wearing a big red nose, a funny hat and juggling in a Disney theme park...

    July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Erica

    To "Anthony did win"

    I am just as dismayed by the verdict as most of the post here, but her not being conviceted is not the fault of our country. The Prosecutors, alone, did not present a case that met the standard of "...beyond a responsible doubt" test. The Defense Team (DT) did what a good DT team does; they presented enough reasonable doubt with the other theory of how Caylee died; the jury had another plausible cause of death to consider. This feels like the moment the OJ verdict was read. Unbelievable.

    It really is sad that the person (or persons) responsible for Caylee's death have not been convicted. I did not cover the trial in its entirety, but based on the evidence I observed she should have at least been convicted of agrravated ma

    July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kirby

    Sure, you can fault the prosecution. They should be fired for incompetence for brining this case without sufficient evidence to get past reasonable doubt. What – they were expecting the jury to convict with no evidence? Really? So now the public will blame the jurors for doing their job. What they should have done is continued investigating - there is no statute of limitations on murder. Now that double jeopardy attaches, she is free to admit she murdered the kid on CNN, if she did so. The criminal justice system did work, but the prosecutors did not. So quick to jump into the limelight and act, but so thoughtless in basic case prep work. That's the tragedy.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eddie Stacker

    Caylee can go back to socking cuck and pole dancing. Hopefully she wont kill the next kid....

    July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ravven

      Caylee was the murdered child.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • MoMo

      The child's name is Caylee and the mother's name is CASEY.

      I'm assuming you just got the names mixed up since you were distracted by the rest of your comment.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • clar

      Good one, Eddie

      July 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Daria Olsen

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b6duY1WWC0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. zilla

    so what now how is she gonna fit in society? is she gonna go back and live with her parents? what about getting a job?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rachel

    I'm in shock that we live in a world where a woman can duct tape her baby, stick her in a trunk and that is not considered child abuse....

    It doesn't get more evil or corrupted than killing your own child.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • JimmyJames

      she wasn't charged with child abuse.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James

    I wish i lived in 1950 where they hung you the next day. No lawyers bilking the taxpayer for years on end.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jackie

    Florida BOTCHED the evidence. What they presented was a joke. The Medical Examiner could not determine a cause of death so they guessed. Except there was no DNA on the Tape really???? That is not possible if the tape was applied to the skin of the child. (dead or alive)

    I belive in my heart that baby died at the hands of the family she was supposed to be loved by. But they failed to prove it and the cops didn't do their job right–there was a massive rush to judgement and the evidence didn't fit the story.
    THe ME should be fired for not doing a proper autopsy on the remains or calling in federal experts who could have done one on a skeletal child. Bones require forensic anthropologists not tv star MEs too busy making TV shows for Discovery. Dr G failed in her duty to the victim in this case and the prosecution made up a story that could maybe explain the lack of evidence they had.

    Go back to school and learn to do proper evidence collection.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chrissy

      DNA breaks down quickly in water and heat. Don't forget, the skin and soft tissues totally deteriorated while the tape was attached to them while in the swamp under water for months. hot temps, then underwater, then hot temps again and animals/insects getting at the remains. No DNA left on the tape that was nearly broken down itself.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      well, why don't you show them how they should have done it ... sing you seem to know better 😉

      July 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray B

      Who cares about all that cr*p...common sense tells the truth. In the old west, she'd be hanging by now (and would have three years ago) and justice would have been served. Today, a killer walked free under the guise of our "great" judicial system....what a joke.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • KoolGrl

      It's pretty hard for the Medical Examiner (Dr. G or anyone else) to come up with manner of death and cause of death when the body had been submerged in water from the hurricane, was decomposed to skeletal remains and scattered by animals. The prosecution and the ME have to go with the evidence they had – not what they wished they had. In the end, there was no manner or cause of death and no forensic evidence linking Casey to Caylee either in the trunk of the car, on the body/duct tape or in the area where they found the body. Is it likely Casey had a hand in what happened to Caylee – of course – but our standard is beyond a reasonable doubt and there were too many big "ifs" left unexplained.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Theo Hodge

    The truth of the matter is there are several cases where African American Men have been charged and convicted with less evidence presented in Court than this case and the jury sentenced them to death......there have been much more who have been exonerated after twenty years or more such as the Hurricane.......IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THERE WAS A MALICIOUS ACT IN THIS CASE THAT LED TO THE DEATH OF CAYLEE ANTHONY......POINT BEING......THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN NO WAY THAT THIS WOMAN BE ALLOWED TO WALK OUT OF COURT FREE.......ITS BECAUSE SHE IS WHITE AND NOTHING LESS.......

    July 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray B

      I am a whilte male and I agree. Pretty young white girls are NEVER convicted of murder...HAD to be someone else.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • xjdavid

      Really? OJ wasn't white. Michael Jackson wasn't white. So please shut up.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Theo Hodge

      My friend you are preaching.....name one pretty white girl that have been convicted of anything more than shop lifting...oh no...they get off from that too

      July 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • your mom

      I'm sorry but what color was OJ?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Theo Hodge

      XJDavid....you can say what you want......OJ and Michael got off only because they had money.......this woman had no money and worst.....she had an incompetent lawyer and still got off......if you would use some common sense....you would see that what I am saying is true....oh but.....maybe you don't have any

      July 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray B

      OJ and MJ were "movie stars"...another group that avoids all convictions.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen Sweatman

      This little angel is better off with Jesus than with this sick, twisted family, a mixed bag of nuts. Now we can watch as this "mommy dearest" gets rich and famous, and she will. The media has provided a platform for her to do so. So eat, drink and be merry Casey Anthony. Enjoy your freedom, fame and money, because hell is awaiting you after you draw your last breath.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      So OJ was/is really a white female – I KNEW IT!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I would tend to agree that a black man (who was not a celebrity) would have had a harder time. This does not change the fact that the case against her was not supported by hard evidence ... if they went for manslaughter, she more likely would have not be acquitted, but I found not injustice in having her go free ... there was not enough hard evidence ...

      July 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • TerryJackson1NYC

      I suppose your argument makes sense... to someone who already pre-supposes such a thing. But let me ask you what happened in the case of OJ, who was a black man found not guilty of killing two attractive white people? The answer is that he was rich. In the Anthony case, the suspect was "pretty" and white, but the victim was adorable and white, so your theory doesn't hold as much water as you think it does. But I'm not going to try to change your mind, since you have an ideology that, as suggested by your use of CAPS, isn't likely to change.

      I'd propose that the easiest way of getting found not guilty is in making sure you can afford a good defense team. In the end, the only color that matters is green. No case is black and white and no verdict is made based on the color of the accused. The fact is that the highest measure of disproportionate guilty verdicts are given to the poor. Once people understand this, effective measures can be put in place. The first thing that needs to be addressed, though, is the level of crime, which affects the poor more than anybody else. And, since criminals generally commit their indecencies within their own socio-economic groups, we need to find ways of keeping poor people from not only committing crimes in generally, but more importantly, from committing crimes against other poor people.

      If I have to accept any part of your black and white view of what seems to be the entire world, I'd say that the more important matter is that the media will cover stories like this that are about whites more than they will stories like this when they are about black kids who've been (allegedly) murdered by their parents. If two kids go missing on the same day, one being black and the other being white, the story about the white kid will be more prominent. That's what needs to change, if you ask me.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ray B

    And this is why killers like OJ are permitted to walk free.....maybe it was the boogeyman....maybe it was space aliens....when reasonable doubt morphs into ANY doubt, then convictions are impossible. A killer walked free today and our pathetic judicial system allowed it.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Martyp

    my grandmother can not understand a cell phone let a lone modern technology...did they really expect old jurors to comprehend the new technology that the prosecution presented?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lucy

    Casey Anthony was found not guilty of Caylee's murder – she was not found innocent of it. Just because it was not possible to convict her doesn't mean she didn't do it. Casey Anthony knows the truth behind Caylee's murder. Her parents probably do too. What saved Casey was the 6 months the poor child's body was left to rot in the swamp, removing all possible hope of determining a cause of death. But what goes around comes around. There will eventually be justice.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • TerryJackson1NYC

      I'm glad to know that the comments section of this article isn't completely overrun with folks who are responding emotionally. This was an ugly and brutal case that I am glad will be leaving the headlines soon. But you are right in that she will pay for what she's done. Eventually, everybody does. Since we don't know what it is that she did, though, we can't determine what that price will be. I suspect she will be in trouble with the law for the rest of her life and justice will come when she least expects it.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
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