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. A Veteran of Jury Duty

    Damn, you people terrify me. (Can you imagine being prosecuted for a crime, for which you must be presumed innocent, and having THIS gang of commenters as your jury?) Just another lynch mob with a gleam in their eyes & blood lust in their hearts. Nothing new, but it always makes me shudder.

    Thanks goodness this defendant had a jury that paid attention to the law, and not public opinion–or so-called "common sense." Shame on you all.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      You sound pretty self-righteous, but I don't understand your contempt for "common sense". Do you have any?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • WookaWooka

      Ah men

      July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thirsty in South Texas

      because innocent mothers will wait a month to say "oh crap, where did my child go? Well guess I will go party until she shows bac up again".. yea, you are right. I would need more evidence to say she did it...

      July 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • WookaWooka

      Bruce... our justice system doesn't rely on "common sense".. it relies on facts... and the prosecution had none that proved murder. I'm sure if you were ever accused of a crime you wouldn't want the jury to rely on common sense and maybe pay more attention to actual facts.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackie

      As a criminal justice student I was really interested in this trial and watched it from day one, paying close attention to the evidence presented by the prosecution. I am disappointed in the verdit because I think all of the evidence pointed directly at Casey Anthony. I hope you are equally as enraged at the fact that a little girl was murdered and no one will ever pay for it. Justice did not prevail for Caylee.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rusko

      Prejudge. That is the root of Prejudism. Many of you have pre-judged Casey. Probably because of the sensational journalism from the start. Nancy grace put "tot-mom" in the electric chair before the trial started. Many of you agreed with her.

      I'm hearing alot of people say, "she killed her baby so she could go out partying." However I heard from witnesses that she was not drinking at all while "working" at the bar.

      I've heard moral judgements about hot body contests. If she was working trying to promote the bar, then that would be a good work ethic to continue your job.

      There were a lot of people swearing she must be guilty because it took 30 days to report it. But witnesses said she was a great mom. Her maturity level, perhaps a bit stunted, may account for indecision on how to handle an accidental death. How long did it take you to decide what car to buy?

      I'm not certain that she didn't do it. I would like to know exactly what happened to Caylee. Maybe now the investigation will continue in another direction. Maybe it was important that we didn't pin it on the first person looked at.

      I'm glad that in this country the burdon of proof is on the accuser. This type of system may let a few guilty men go free, but a far greater injustice is done when the innocent are condemned without the rule of law.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Linda

    Unbelieveable! So who do you think killed Casey? Zanny? Right! This is the worst case of unjustice I've ever seen. She will need to watch her back for a long time. A sad, sad day in our courts!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Juanita Hall

    It pays to be white young and so called attractive in these United States of America. You get away with killing your child and go on and make money when you write a book. But it ain't over. REMEMBER YOU REAP WHAT YOU SEW IN THIS WORLD.............

    July 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      White like OJ, you mean?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • huh

      @Luke, OJ had that other color of influence - green, as in money. No, he didn't bribe the jury but monied defendants have a history of getting off.

      And for those saying OJ was found innocent, you're incorrect. California had three possible verdicts, guilty, not guilty beyond a reseaonable doubt and innocent. OJ was found not quilty.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stephen Jerome

    Don't worry. You can expect the Fox News leaders to blame it on Obama anyway. That's all they know how to do.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bruce

    OJ can have a partner now in helping track down the real killers.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Thanks, Patrick, for that line.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Confused

    I'm not interested in any bickering but looking for some genuine, knowledgeable feedback on this question – if Anthony was charged with her daughter's care and failed to report Caylee missing, how can there be no charges of some sort of negligence? Nobody disputed that the child was under her care and that she neglected to inform authorities that Caylee was missing (obviously misled police as well)...are there really no legal charges to be brought for that?

    July 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle G.

      Yes, yes they can. Not sure if it was one of the 4 lesser-included crimes that were submitted to the jury – I don't know FL law – it would be a negligent manslaughter type of crime. Other parents have been convicted when their children drowned in a pool while under their care.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Because that's not what she was being tried for.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rusko

      The fact that she waited to tell anyone does not mean she did anything intentionally to neglect the child. As would be the case if Caylee died accidentally. Casey seemed immature enough to be very afraid of being accused of being a bad mom, and indecisive about who to tell. That would be enough doubt to prove negligence in my opinion.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rusko

      Correction: That would be enough doubt to vote not guilty on negligence in my opinion.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Confused

      Guest, we bring charges to initiate a trial, so 'why not include charges of negligence' was the root of the question.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Debby

    I think Nancy Grace is more scary than Casey Anthony. Boy this woman is like a rabid dog against this young girl. Obviously 12 people didn't think she murdered her daughter. 12 people of different lives and they all agreed she wasn't guilty. Get over it Nancy. I can see why you got disbarred. Do you believe in RESONABLE DOUBT????????

    July 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debora

      I bet they did believe she was guilty but didn't think the prosecution proved it beyond a reasonable doubt. You can't convict someone on belief, you have to have evidence to back it up.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      The jurors may not have believed that she was innocent of murder. They may have been compelled to come to their verdict based on lack of evidence...not the same thing. And I agree, Nancy Grace is scary!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle G.

      Nancy Grace was disbarred?! Love it!!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. beth

    such an uproar for caylee, you people act like this is something new, look up jonbenet ramsey and find out who killed her, oh yea they never figured it out

    July 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Vette2011

    I think it was proven that Casey was the only person with the child. No other person was pointed to by her other than the fake nanny. Therefore, why wouldn't this prove beyond a 'reasonable doubt' that the child was killed during her watch? Soo sad....

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Michael Rae

    Eat your heart out nancy grace. The writer of this article is correct . No time of death and no manner of murder you have to come back with a not guilty. Its still good to know that in america you can get a fair trial and some juries demand hard evidence to send someone to the penitentiary.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      I'm sure a lot of murderers will agree with you.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debora

      What do you say about the people that are convicted without anyone ever finding a body? Cause of death? Time of death? No? How did they convict someone of murder without that?

      July 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill N

    So... WHO KILLED THIS LITTLE GIRL??? Case is closed??? I cannot believe she got off!!! Well, she said she was a great liar. There was no lie detector of course. I have absolutely NO faith in the justice system, this trial was a total joke. Shame on the jurors!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle G.

      Lie detectors are inadmissible in court.

      Keep in mind that the jury determined the State failed to meet its burden of proof. That is why it is called not guilty in lieu of innocent.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. True Grit

    If the Mom admitted it was an acident then why not man slaughter. Wierd system...

    July 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    One word.., "Shock.." Mike in Montana

    July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lulu

    Who killed Caylee????? So this will turn into a Cold Case. She will have to meet her "Maker" He will be stongest Judge she ever had. He knows all. God works in mysterious ways!!! I wish the little Angel would give some help in wherever she is so
    proof to get the justice for herself. So she could rest in peace.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle G.

      Two things lulu – 1) perhaps Caylee was not killed; and 2) perhaps Casey is responsible. The jury determined the State did not prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt as required by law.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Spiderwoman4

    If it was a man accused of murdering his daughter, or a black woman, the results would have been different. Research has shown that pretty young white women are treated more favorably than other people. Research has borne that out time and time again.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Srsly pls

      No.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • LolaS

      I know. Look at OJ. Oh, wait. He was found not guilty.

      nice try.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • summer

      you are really ridiculous. beauty is in the eye of the beholder......what makes you think every juror decided that Casey was pretty so she was found not guilty. i hope you realize how silly you sound. I guess it really helped O.J. to be a handsome black man huh!!! and stop playing the race card....way too old now

      July 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
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