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. Bernadette

    I believe that her lawyers didn't make a motion to get her out today because she needs to find a place to live first. I can't imagine she will be welcome at her parents house.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elaine Snead

      MY GUESS IS THEY KNOW THE RADICALS IN THE STREET WOULD LIKE TO KILL HER, SO STAYING IN JAIL IS FOR HER SAFETY. I CAN'T IMAGINE HER PARENTS WANTING HER TO LIVE WITH THEM, BUT THEN AGAIN THEY DID COVER FOR HER FOR YEARS BEFORE ALL THIS HAPPENED.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MrDLoomis

    Ok...she is not guilty, period. End of trial. Move on. That's how our judicial system works. At least we have the system. Try going to other countries and see how their's works (or doesn't work, actually). In some countries, you could be imprisoned for simply writing a comment that didn't agree with the court. Be glad you live in a country where you can.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott Taylor

      What does it matter if it's flawed? So a bad justice system is better than none at all? I dont see the difference!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Elaine Snead

    YES A MURDERER IS GOING FREE DUE TO LACK OF SCIENCE. THERE WAS A DAY WHEN THE LAST PERSON TO SEE SOMEONE ALIVE WHO LIED OVER AND OVER WOULD BE FOUND GUILTY! I WILL SAY THIS, MISS ANTHONY WILL HAVE NO LIFE. SHE WILL BE LIKE CAIN IN THE BIBLE. SHE WILL ALWAYS BE KNOWN AS THE WOMAN WHO MURDERED HER CHILD AND GOT AWAY WITH IT!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DBM

      Hit your caps lock key and a bong load. Christ, you religious nut jobs need to eradicate yourselves from the planet, thus solving all of the world's problems.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott Taylor

      She may have escaped trial here, but one day she will have to answer!

      July 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. xmik

    I am a white woman who now will NEVER trust the American justice system again. How many people have been wrongly convicited by a jury? How many people who are guilty have gone free? These jurists should be ashamed of themselves!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      No, not the jury.
      The prosecution blew it as bad as Marsha Clarke effed up the OJ Trial.
      She got away with murder.
      No justice for that beautiful little girl.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElleDeau

      What does your being a white woman have to do with anything?

      July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Igal

    this is nothing but a sheer travesty. It means, simply, that if you wish to commit capital offense, you just have to make sure no DNA evidence is left behind or at least ensure that mother nature would degrade most DNA evidence. It means that jurors can easily be fooled and they are more than likely to leave their common sense at the court's front doors.
    It appears that nothing short of a DVD showing the jury the murder or ironclad DNA evidence would have made them find her guilty. If anything, this case only proves why we should take verdicts out of the hands of idiots and let professional judges handle such trials.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Shahi Hafez

    I don't think she's guilty. However, she needs to stay in jail for a while, for her own safety. Or she can change her name and leave the country.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      You are scary.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat Roach

      Why don't you let the murderer live with you????? She did not report her daughter missing for 31 DAYS – that is child abuse any way you look at it!! Another FLORIDUH bunch of asses. It was mentioned daily that the jury did not take any notes. Evidently they had photographic memories and remembered 6 weeks of testimony.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eduardo K.

    Sadly, high profile court cases are fast becoming void of "justice" and "fairness." The prosecution team had too many "vapor" arguments wrapped in hype and hyperbole. The US justice system is broken as evidenced by the overcrowded jails and prisons (huge cost) for a "developed" and "leading" nation ... this is a bad sign and true leadership is needed. Nobody should trust our current system.

    The arguments and lack of evidence did point to Casie's acquittal ... I could see this coming.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Karl

    She can marry OJ!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brian, NJ

    The jury doesn't even have the guts to speak with the media. Think they got their cellphones back and all of the family and friends are asking them what the hell they were thinking?? If you find her not guilty then you HAVE to believe she drowned and the father hid the body, because that is what Casee said happened. I would like to know if the jury unanimoulsy believes she drowned.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • MattR

      That is not how the legal system works. Being found not guilty only means that the jury did not believe that the prosection proved that Casey killed her daughter. It does not mean that they believed Casey's story

      July 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      I am thinking the Judge told the jury members not to talk with the press until after sentencing which is to be done on Thursday. I could be wrong.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reese

      I second what MattR said...given the info and proof they had, the jury really had no choice – especially when you are looking at things from a "beyond a shadow of doubt" perspective. The judge made this very clear when he gave the jury their instructions. It's not the job of the jury to figure out what happened, it's their job to make a decision based upon the evidence they are presented. I wish there would not have been so much speculation and uncertainty around what "may" have happened...too many questions and unknowns...Casey is obviously responsible in one way or another for little Caylee's death...so sad that there will be no justice now. There is only one person alive who knows what really happened and she's a professional liar. She will be free by the end of the week and cannot be tried again!

      July 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hmmm

    Not that I'm saying that she's innocent... but just because she was found not guilty doesn't mean the jurors are incompetent. You didn't sit there for the 200 hours of testimony. Everyone should wait to hear why they acquitted before they judge. All 12 of them agreed. Something didn't add up and it will be interesting to hear why.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Logic

    What? Baez doesn't have a spare room for the person who made his career?

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scott Taylor

    High powered lawyer = free pass for murderer. Come on America! It's Michael Jackson and OJ all over again!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geesh

      She didnt have a 'high powered lawyer' This guy didnt even start to practice until 2005. He had no experience to speak of. Thats all the media talked about for 3 years. Now you are claiming he is a high powered attorney?? You are as bad as Nancy Grace. Trying people in the media with lies and assumptions.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott Taylor

      Geesh: How did you get out of the jury room so fast? You must have been part of the 12 people in the United States who thinks she's innocent? You must be using your phone...

      July 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nancy G

    My haphazard following of this case clearly qualifies me to question the verdict of a jury which sat through 200 hours of testimony. The verdict was wrong. Furthermore, this single anecdote demonstrates the need for a complete overhaul of the American criminal justice system.

    I propose the following: Nancy Grace holds an hour long discussion on her show. She is a former prosecutor and we all know that they never withhold evidence, overcharge, or appeal to emotion rather than reason. Then, at the end of the hour, viewers vote on guilt or innocence. This way my bloodlust will be satiated.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith B

      + 1

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

      Nancy, who could put up with Nancy Grace for an hour?

      July 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Debra

    Seems like the Jury had a pre-conceived idea of what they were going to do. Doesn't seem like they had much of a desire to go over any details of the case in the deliberation room, and that they basically new what they were going to do. I don't think there was enough EVIDENCE presented by the state to convict her, unfortunately you only get 1 shot at it folks. So sad for little Caylee, she never got a chance to have her justice, so now what? we forget her? So sad!

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Christina

    This is a victory for the judicial system of the USA. The state DIDN'T prove that she did it BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT! The verdict is horrible for those affected by the murder, don't get me wrong. There will be justice; just maybe not lawful. But to those of us who followed the trial and were not emotionally affected by it, this really was the only outcome that made sense IN THE EYES OF THE LAW. In the end the law did exactly what it was supposed to do.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
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