Murder 1 or a Lesser Included Offense?

Discussion in 'Caylee Anthony 2 years old' started by LolaMoon08, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. LolaMoon08

    LolaMoon08 Active Member

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    Bumping this thread:

    I didn't know where else to put this, but a comment left by Richard Hornsby that was made in the Ask a Lawyer thread, has got me thinking. Could Casey Anthony be found guilty of a lesser charge?

    I copied Beach's post over there (thanks Beach)

    FL Statute 782.07(3) - aggravated manslaughter of a child

    (3) A person who causes the death of any person under the age of 18 by culpable negligence commits aggravated manslaughter of a child, a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084

    Per FL sentencing guidelines, I believe that would carry a sentence of 30 years.

    (Also, per RH's comment posted on April 12, 2010 @ 12:15p)
    http://blog.richardhornsby.com/2010/04/of-rats-and-women/comment-page-2/#comments)


    I need someone to explain to me how in the world Casey could only be found guilty of Aggravated Murder of a Child? How in the world, with all the evidence that there is against her, can they prove that Caylee's death was simply because of neglect on Casey's part?

    Where does the duct tape come in? Will a jury just some how think that Casey didn't intentionally put the duct tape around Caylee's face? That she didn't think that it would cause Caylee's death?

    What about Casey's own statements? Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez kidnapped Caylee and that is the last time she seen Caylee? That she has no idea where Caylee is? That there was no accident?

    What about the computer searches, that imo, show premeditation on Casey's part? Not just with the murder of Caylee, but what is in my opinion, to also kill her parents? What about her completely erasing Caylee from her life (internet life, but life none the less).

    What about Casey's behavior during not only the "31 days", but her behavior since July 15th, 2008? She has not shown one ounce of remorse, even if she did not intentionally kill Caylee. "All they care about is Caylee. They just want Caylee back" were her own words!! She laughed, viciously if you ask me, when she seen her own mother crying and in unspeakable pain (jail house visit) and asks "Why's she crying?" Oh, Casey, I don't know? Maybe because she knows her precious granddaughter is missing? Maybe because she is begging you for answers... any answers that would lead her to Caylee? I could go on and on and on... about Casey's behavior.

    I personally think the State has ample evidence that suggests, without a doubt, that Caylee was not only murdered intentionally, but that it was planned in advance.

    The defense is going to have to tell a jury that Casey is responsible for Caylee's death if they want to get an Aggravated Murder charge, right? You would think? If they are not going to admit that Casey killed Caylee, by some horrible accident (neglect, etc...) and continue to try and prove someone else killed Caylee... would this play in a jury's decision to convict her of First Degree Murder?

    HELP me understand this? I just don't understand how a jury can find Casey only guilty of manslaughter and she gets only 30 years?
     
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  3. beach

    beach Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    In short, if convicted of aggravated manslaughter of a child, that would mean the jury believed it was possibly an accident.

    I have always believed that was the defense's best shot - to go with an accidental drowning theory, Casey panicked and tried to set it up to look as a kidnapping.

    I am not saying that many WSers would ever buy it, but I do believe it would've been the defense's best shot at creating reasonable doubt in the mind of less informed jurors.

    That said, I think HHJP's recent rulings to allow ALL of Casey's statements in - those to LE AND those to the Anthonys - have even hurt this strategy significantly.
     
  4. LolaMoon08

    LolaMoon08 Active Member

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    But they would have to admit that there was an accident for this to even work, correct?

    I agree 100% that Casey's statements that are going to be heard by a jury, will foil this attempt, even if they do attempt an accidental death defense, because Casey can not even seem to show any remorse, to this very day, that suggests that Caylee died of any kind of accident.
     
  5. beach

    beach Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    BBM

    They wouldn't have had to admit it was an accident, but they would've needed to convince the jury that is was a possibility (reasonable doubt).

    I have never said this publicly, but before the rulings released Friday, I believed that was a distinct possibility. If jurors had not been able to hear Casey's own flat-affect, non-caring, non-remorseful voice, then I worried greatly that the defense had a good shot creating reasonable doubt using that scenario. IIRC, YM and JA pleaded with her... even suggesting it may have been an accident and gave her the opportunity to admit it was an accident. She denied it. (I can't recall exactly...that may have been at Universal, if not it was shortly after when she was first brought in the headquarters for questioning.)

    I literally cried tears of joy when Judge Perry allowed EVERYTHING - ALL of Casey's statements in, because I KNEW how vitally important it was for the jurors to hear her own voice. I wanted the jurors to be able to make their decision on how it ALL really went down. IMO, that ruling was as important as anything ever will be in this case, except for the jury's verdict.
     
  6. ynotdivein

    ynotdivein Retired WS Staff

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    She put it on after death to simulate a kidnapping scenario based on what she had seen in movies.

    Ugly coping/fear of Cindy?

    Fear of Cindy/ugly coping?

    Ugly coping again. (And IMO this is where she's most thoroughly sunk.)

    I personally agree... but the defense is still going to grasp at straws right until that last moment, when the jury foreperson stands and says, "We the jury find the defendant, Casey Anthony, GUILTY..."

    It's going to come down to jury selection IMO. If the defense can sneak one sleeper in out of the what, 12 jurors and 8 alternates, then there is a chance. Horrible to contemplate but there it is--knowing that this is the only remaining hope for the DT helps a little... and knowing that ALL her emotionless, heartless statements/activities are coming in adds some hope.
     
  7. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    I think the elements of manslaughter are there, as well as aggravated child abuse. I think she could be convicted on those 2 charges as opposed to Murder 1. Culpable negligence is more than just an accident. the definition is below.

    I have never thought there was enough evidence to convict on Murder 1, but did think they could convict on these other 2 charges.

    But with that said, I have not followed any of the latest information and do not know if I would see a murder 1 conviction more clearly now. But I am only trying to answer your question as to how she could be convicted on lesser charges. I think they can easily prove the elements below beyond reasonbale doubt.

    .7 MANSLAUGHTER [section] 782.07, Fla. Stat.

    To prove the crime of Manslaughter, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

    1. (Victim) is dead.

    Give 2a, 2b, or 2c depending upon allegations and proof.

    2. a. (Defendant) intentionally knowingly or consciously committed an act that caused the death of (victim).

    b. (Defendant) intentionally knowingly or consciously procured an act that resulted in the death of (victim).

    c. The death of (victim) was caused by the culpable negligence of (defendant).

    In order to convict of manslaughter by intentional act, it is not necessary for the State to prove that the defendant had a premeditated intent to cause death.

    Culpable Negligence - culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others. In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing careless disregard for the safety and welfare of another person or persons.

    AND
    Aggravated Manslaughter

    (3) A person who causes the death of any person under the age of 18 by culpable negligence under s. 827.03(3) commits aggravated manslaughter of a child, a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

    http://www.flsenate.gov/Statutes/ind...3ESection%2007

    Aggravated Child Abuse:

    2) "Aggravated child abuse" occurs when a person:

    (a) Commits aggravated battery on a child;

    (b) Willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child; or

    (c) Knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.

    A person who commits aggravated child abuse commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
     
  8. Just Jayla

    Just Jayla New Member

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    My perspective is this (not arguing against your point, sort of adding to it): This experienced state's attorney's office has thought there was enough to convict on first degree murder since October 2008. They have felt that there was enough for the death penalty to be sought soon thereafter.

    They are elected officials, at the mercy of the populace-if they abuse their office, if they spend outrageous amounts of money in economically hard times for no supported purpose other than to just be "aggressive"...and if they do so in such a blatant manner as to abuse their authority in a case the whole country is watching-they will surely feel the repercussions.

    See Duke Lacrosse Case.

    To bring a first degree murder case to a jury when that charge has no merit could not only be political suicide, it assumes malevolent prosecutory practices, on some level.

    I am not going to make the leap that RH is of the position that there is not merit at all-I think he simply sees a legal angle to prevent it from being proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    As much as RH thinks she will not be convicted of murder, Jeff Ashton thinks she will. We are free to agree with either one of them. I happen to agree with Jeff Ashton/the state. And fortunately, this case will not be decided by these attorneys-It will be decided by a jury made up of people just like you and me...okay, well not you or me if we don't live there...anyway...

    Bringing back around to the topic at hand-She'll be found guilty of murder and receive the DP...er, maybe LWOP. Dang I sure wish we could haul her tail up here to Virginia...
     
  9. Capri

    Capri New Member

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    Agreeing with Jj above, remember ICA was charged with first degree murder even before the body was found. Now that the body has been found there'e even more cause for murder 1. Hornsby is just looking at all possible charges, I'm assuming, and he has nothing to lose by guessing (no disrespect to RH), but I'm going with the prosecution has more than enough to convict on murder 1.
     
  10. faefrost

    faefrost New Member

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    Someone please straighten me out on this, because I have never been completely sure of this, and my memory is not what it used to be.

    I thought that in Florida one of the situations for the Death Penalty is Felony Murder (which would cover either of what we elsewhere think of as 1st or 2nd degree murder) with the aggravating factor of the victim being the minor child of the defendant? I didn't think that premeditation was an absolute requirement in this case? It would be nice to have, and it is something that the jury will look at, but I didn't think that it was an absolute? The child died by a deliberate and violent act at the mothers hands, not one of negligence, then it can be a DP case. Whereas manslaughter is more of a negligent act. I think the main arguments will be cause of death and not premeditation.

    Or am I completely wrong or confused about this as usual?:waitasec::waitasec:
     
  11. Just Jayla

    Just Jayla New Member

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    An educated guess, no doubt-He knows jury trends as far as what kind of weightiness a jury needs to have, he sees avenues of "escape" for the defense, he knows jury instruction like the back of his hand, etc.
    But there is another extremely talented, charming, confident and well-dressed (the red coat is to die for!) attorney here who has given us every indication that this case can be prosecuted successfully. (You owe me $5 for that plug, AZ...)
    And to tie back to the thread topic once again....life or death-remember that (fantastic!) hearing where JA made KC sit through the real weight of the state's accusations for the first time? The "Make it Stop" hearing? As JA so eloquently reminded us-It is not the state that wishes to impose anything, the state simply feels that there is enough evidence that a jury of KC's peers should be afforded the decision whether to impose life or death for KC.

    Since RH surely knows this, he must be indicating that he thinks a jury will disregard the merits of a first degree murder charge. If Websleuths or any one of the many other forums, bloggers, water cooler congregations, news outlets, etc. are indicative of what a group of people conclude about what happened to Caylee-KC is going be convicted of murdering Caylee.
     
  12. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    I don't think this is a situation where there is no merit or any implied prosecutorial misconduct.
    A murder 1 charge is certainly worth going for and the state may have plenty of evidence. Nothing negligent about charging her with that.

    But the wildcard is the jury. Will they be convinced that this was premeditated murder? or will they feel better about convicting on a lesser charge without direct evidence? Will all the elements be there to convince a jury that this was murder 1? Maybe and maybe not. I have seen many juries unable to convict on murder 1, but were thankful they had other options from which to choose. Juries are unpredictable.

    On the flip side of that, I followed an interesting case lately. The prosecutor charged the defendant with 2nd degree murder. But he did NOT include any lesser charges. In other words the jury had to convict him of 2nd degree murder or acquit.

    Considering this was a drunk driving death I think this was brilliant. IMO, if the jury had been given the choice of 2nd degree murder and manslaughter they would have opted for manslaughter. The DA did not want manslaughter, he wanted murder for the drunk driver killing 3 people in a crash.(I think in most states it would have been a manslaughter charge anyway)
    So, the DA took a chance and made it all or nothing.
    They convicted him of 2nd degree murder.
     
  13. Just Jayla

    Just Jayla New Member

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    Thanks for moving, that was getting awkward to stay on topic....:)

    ETA-And brilliant point!

    A jury is indeed a wild card. we thought for sure that the jury here in Alexandria, Va., would have sent Zacarias Moussaoui to his death-Uh, helllloooo??? Remember 9/11 people?

    Not only did they not give him the DP, the judge let him off the hook a few times because the dim wit tried to represent himself.

    Some things that we think are a given are not. That's life...or death, or neither? Need some coffee, I think...
     
  14. JBean

    JBean Retired WS Administrator

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    I made a new thread. lolamoon bumped the other thread specifically to ask a question about this topic, because all the other threads on this issue are closed.
    But that thread was getting confusing so I just pulled them apart.
     
  15. Just Jayla

    Just Jayla New Member

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    Thanks again, just saw that and edited my post....I'm a hot mess tonight-emphasis on "hot"...
     
  16. BChand

    BChand New Member

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    I found this response from the prosecution:

    Under state law, there are 15 so-called aggravating circumstances. At least one of them must be proven for a defendant to receive the death penalty.

    In his response, state prosecutor Jeff Ashton said nine of the 15 circumstances clearly do not apply to Casey. He then went on to point out four that he said clearly apply to the case.

    They are, as written in state law:

    •The capital felony involved aggravated child abuse
    •It was premeditated
    •The victim was under the age of 12
    •The defendant was the victim's parent

    There are two other aggravating circumstances the state may or may not try to prove. One of them is that the defendant benefited financially from the victim's death. The other is that the alleged slaying was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.

    http://www.wesh.com/r/23488034/detail.html
     
  17. Just Jayla

    Just Jayla New Member

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    You are correct! You can receive the DP in Florida when a child dies during aggravated child abuse.

    You can also receive the DP for drug trafficking, which I found to be very intriguing..

    ETA-Wait, wait wait!! This may not be correct, please refer to the legal thread to ask-This may simply be an aggravating factor, do not know if this charge would be eligible for the death penalty if it stood alone...though I was pretty sure it would and that AZlawyer agreed at one point...
     
  18. LolaMoon08

    LolaMoon08 Active Member

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    You are the best, JBean!!

    1) The capital felony involved aggravated child abuse

    I think this is without question a solid aggravating factor in this case. I think it is self explanatory.

    2) It was premeditated

    I don't know if they will be able to prove it was premeditated or not? Casey's computer searches suggest that she had murder on her mind. I think some of her searches and her telling Amy and Tony L. that she was going to be getting the Hopespring Drive home shows that she at one point had plans to murder her parents. Some of the searches point more towards her murdering Caylee? I'm torn on this one? I think a jury could go either way? Either they feel the searches are enough evidence to show that she planned and carried out Caylee's murder, or it just isn't enough because some of the searches suggest another crime Casey had on her mind?

    3) The victim was under the age of 12

    Self-explanatory

    4) The defendant was the victims parent

    Self-explanatory

    As for the other two that they have no decided on yet?

    1) The defendant benefited financially from the victim's death

    I don't think Casey knew going into her crime that she would benefit financially. Caylee did not have a life insurance policy (we would know if she did, right?). I don't think money was ever a factor in Casey murdering Caylee.

    2) The slaying was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel

    I think this depends on how a jury interprets the use of the duct tape? Was the duct tape the murder weapon or was it applied after death to cover up whatever happened prior?

    If they believe that the duct tape was the murder weapon, then I believe you can not get more atrocious than that... especially if Caylee was not drugged and knocked out when the tape was applied (JA suggested this in one of the hearings). It would be a slow, agonizing death. A death that I can not even think an adult suffering, let alone a two-year-old baby. It's even more sickening when you see Casey fiddling with her hands the way she does. It's like she is trying to cover up the hands that held that poor baby down when she was struggling to breathe.

    If they believe the duct tape was placed on Caylee after death as a cover up then they would have to ask themselves what Casey was covering up? Was it an accident? Did Casey drug Caylee and leave her in the trunk of the car when she went off to Tony's house? Would that even constitute as an accident in a jury's mind? Or did Casey know full well that it would result in the death of her child?

    I don't know?? I just can not wait for this trial to get under way. Will they pan over to the jury at all during trial? Or are they not allowed to be taped or photographed during the trial?
     
  19. ynotdivein

    ynotdivein Retired WS Staff

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    AFAIK, juries are not shown on television even during cases/in states that allow cameras in the courtroom or broadcast real-time trials. Will bring this Q to the lawyer thread for a more informed opinion, but methinks juror identities are pretty solidly protected everywhere.
     
  20. strach304

    strach304 New Member

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    If it was an accident and then staged to look like a kidnapping it sure looks like Casey doesn't feel guilty or responsible. Apparently she can live with it.
     
  21. Melanie

    Melanie Inactive

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    Back in the days after Caylee was found, I did ponder that it was an accidental killing. My reasoning? Because there was the heart shaped sticker on the duct tape. As if ICA tried to make it look like a kidnapping, but OTOH felt so bad about it that she put the heart there to make herself "feel better".

    The heart has since bothered me, as I can't figure out the meaning or understanding behind it. That's my only reasoning to apply an accident/coverup.

    However, I think it's too late for the defense to backtrack and go with this theory now. What is their theory anyway! ;)

    MOO

    Mel
     

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