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. The perfect crime

    Here's the recipe: Move to Florida. Wait for 30 days to say that your child is missing. Air out the trunk of your car. Party like it's 1999. Get a tattoo. Accuse your parents of everything known to man. Party like a rock star. Lie to the police. Send the police on a wild goose chase. Blame the death on your own childhood. Sniffle on cue.

    Get found not guilty. Party hearty!

    July 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • anne

      You know, you are right about all of this. Isn;t it unbelievable that they found someone like this innocent?

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

      Anyone who is educated and has a good, rational, logical mind knows the truth. Casey did it. It was presented VERY clearly. It is so obvious that the jury did NOT watch and listen to the trial and the presentations closely (a comment made many many times by those present). Stop bashing the media for hype when it's not them at fault, it's the lack of education that is creating this kind of problem.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Grandpa

    WOW!!!
    I am trully amazed at some of these posts. I've served on two juries before and I for one would resent being called names if we, as a jury, did not come up with a verdict not of your liking. This IS our JUSTICE SYSTEM, this is how it WORKS!!! Many of you have had Casey GUILY before the trial was ever started not even knowing all of the facts. OH wait! Nancy Grace was giving you "THE FACTS". She too, as well as the rest of the media, had her guilty. To me this was one sided and opinionated coverage through and through. The prosecution DID NOT prove BEYOND a REASONABLE DOUBT that Casey committed this crime. Granted someone did and only those involved know what really happened. This jury was correct in their findings and I applaud them for their work. Well Done Jury.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • beth

      I've been on juries too and I agree with you. Our system requires that we treat the accused as innocent until proven guilty. The burden is always on the prosecution. The jury did not believe the prosecution proved its case here. It is incredibly upsetting to me that we live in a society that is increasingly devoted to following people like Nancy Grace and forgetting that they could be on trial at some point for a crime they did not commit. The self-righteous indignation on this site (and others) is nauseating.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexandra

      Well said. I agree wholeheartedly.

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

      Thank you for speaking the truth, I totally agree with you, these people wanted her to be guilty because she was a horrible mther and undoubtedly a liar, and maybe even guilty but the state failed to prove it with Compelling evidence.And in a death penalty case I personally would need compelling evidence

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

      Grandpa needs his medication again. This jury failied in the worst possible way. They let a murderer go free. Makes me sick

      July 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      So you're one of the morons who thinks O.J. is innocent too?
      Yeah right.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      Well said, I completely agree.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • cilla

      So who killed her? Ok lets say it wasnt her and some REAL person did take her and kill her....maybe if Casey would have called the cops..just maybe the baby wouldnt of been wrapped up in stuff from her home and dumped so close to her house...ohhh that couldnt happen could it? Mothers who lose a child in anyway shape or form DO NOT go party and get tatoos and hide from their family....I hope that her family rejects her after pulling them all under the bus with her...I hope that she suffers and is never at ease in her life....

      July 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • bkh333

      Finally someone who understands the laws and didn't condemn this person before the trial even started like the media did The Prosecution did not prove 1st degree murder they actually proved child neglect before they proved murder and all those that say how can she act the way she did look up the psychology of abuse and bipolar disorders see what the symptoms are they might surprise you all. The whole Family actually looked culpable.

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

      Unfortunately, unless you lived in Central Florida and were following this case from the get-go like many of us were, you didn't see the video of Casey shopping at Target – using a credit card she stole from a friend – or learn about the 100 checks she forged and used from her mother's checking account all during the 31 days her child was missing. No, because of our justice system, this evidence was not permitted to be admitted as evidence due to it being "unrelated" to her child's murder. In addition, had you been following this case from our local vantage point, you also would have seen her court appearances and noticed the smirk on her face as if to say, "Screw you people." No it is ashame that because of all of the t.v. shows that neatly wrap up a case in an hour and 9 times out of 10 have DNA evidence that proves the defendant guilty, jurors want to be handed the same "smoking gun" so they can find someone guilty with no reasonable doubt which, in turn, allows them to sleep at night. As Linda Drane Burdick said yesterday in her closing rebuttal, "use your common sense." There was enough evidence to convict, but no "smoking gun." How sad for Caylee.

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

      Roz,

      The point is that the jury can only judge by what is legally admissable.

      As for check charges and theft by credit card, while those are both unethical it is still a huge jump from those behaviors to murder. Had I been on the jury, you would have had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was guilty of this crime, not any other. I've been the chairperson of the jury on a capital trial and we convicted based on the evidence. You cannot convict on anything else.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott Peterson...

    Is wondering why he didn't try to get his case moved to Florida! All you people saying that there was a lack of proof in Casey's case should be protesting that Scott Peterson was found guilty!!!

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

    I will forever believe she is guilty – could've been some type of accident, but she is guilty nontheless in my opinion. The defense did a good job highlighting the fact the prosecution did not provide cause of death and/or time (date) of death – ' no smoking gun'. This case appeared to me much like the Scott Peterson case, but I must remind myself that each group of twelve jurors is very different. I also will keep reminding myself that we humans are not the ultimate jurors.. she will answer to God.

    I do hope that the investigation into ittle Caylee's death will continue.... she must never be forgotten.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      There's nothing to investigate. The murderer got away with it, just like O.J. did.
      Karma will bite her on the ass some day.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • beesley

      There is NO GOD for her to answer to....If there was a GOD would he allow this to happen??????? Think about THAT!!!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • mia

      @richard,,, that is so true,,, there is no high justice than god,,,

      July 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Well, throughout all of the postings, not one person has stopped to reflect upon the loss of the little child. Go back and take a look at those photos. Out of all who had been involved, she certainly didn't deserve to be thrown into a field, buried in a laundry bag.

    That's what wrong with this world today, You're all caught up in the reality show and drama. The fact that a little girl, much like one that many of you might have, likely suffered a horrible death and certainly no evidence of respect afterwards.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gail

    I am not surprised that thing Casey was acquitted. It is sad that a life was taken so tragically and suddenly, while the mother celebrated and thought only of herself. What a sad excuse for a mother!

    I feel very sorry for George and Cindy. Granted there be a disfunctional family, but how can they move on with their lives, when their pathetic so called daughter dragged them down to the gutter with the accusations of abuse. Their son, is also pathetic! Maybe George and Cindy are not the poster parents, but I for one, would be proud if not to have them as parents, then friends.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nezereth

    Guilty, guilty, guilty.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Absolutely NO doubt. That jury should be brought up on charges of "dereliction of duty".

      July 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    You're all disgusting.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Maybe so, but Casey is a murderer.... and she's disgusting excuse for a human being..

      July 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tammy

      Who? Why?

      July 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. phoebesfriend

    Joshua asked what would have happened if she weren't white, and you posters are jumping on him because this case wasn't about race. But it may have been about the death penalty, and that's frequently about race. Heavy-duty punishments have a tendency to make juries more reluctant to find the defendant guilty. What if the defendant is a pretty white girl of 25? A guilty verdict might have meant a grisly deathwatch - you better be really sure! What if she is a poor black girl - be as sure as you can be, maybe. Poor black defendants are far more likely than whites to get the death penalty for comparable crimes. Jurors don't have to be prejudiced in any classic sense.- just more squeamish about waiting out the deathwatch. The Supremes, in their wisdom, have refused to regard this as a reason to outlaw the death penalty. But it may be a reason for a smart prosecutor to think twice about charging a girl like Caycee with 1st degree.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • LT

      Very true that there was not sufficient evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. Very true that if she were of a different ethnicity she would likely have been convicted. As a sociology student I can provide statistic after statistic. True that Caylee is at peace. And true that this broad will be walking the streets soon. Hope she has a plan for some plastic surgery and a ticket out of the U.S. Justice will be served. Ask OJ.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rob

    the state did prove the 2 elements required for manslaughter(1) caylee is dead (2) casey's acts or series of acts although unintentional caused the death of caylee

    July 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Honey

    What happened to the charges of neglect/abuse? Child missing 30+ days, caregiver not reporting and child turns up dead!! Does anyone really think they would not be charged with something?

    July 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mia

    all i got to say is thats sum for real B.S,, and you all know it,, regardless the race,,, its a child,,,i hope all the jurors etc have kids n there life they love,, but yourself in those shoes...if we dont protect our kids now society now is going to destroy them,,,look around now,, its the youth u always seeing doing the drama..

    July 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ang

    I think there was too much "reasonable doubt" raised for the jury to bring back the not guilty verdict. I just don't understand how they didn't convict her. The web of lies says it all. Why did she have to lie if she truly didn't have anything to do with the beautiful little girls death? She was covering her tracks. It is just too obvious.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jack1292

    I am a naturalized citizen, and have severed as juror twice. My limited experience is that in this US judiciary system: it is not too difficult that a guilty person getting off the hook and at the same it is also very hard to convict a truly innocent person.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Thunder

    For real is this our system? where does child nelegent/ abuse fall under? I mean if it was any other of us that not in mediia eye sure they be punsihed!

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