|Who’s smiling now?|
One of the highlights of Wednesday’s crazy day in the courtroom was the image of a pale Casey Anthony being helped out of the courtroom. She erupted in tears as Judge Belvin Perry read the details of the charges against her and the possibility of the death penalty to yet another group of prospective jurors. The second time it happened, her tears led to a bout of nausea and dizziness.
It seemed as if Casey Anthony didn’t believe this time would ever come. As if she fantasized for eighteen months that she would wriggle her way out of this situation just as she had done all of her life. I think she is stunned and dismayed to find herself sitting there while people are being selected to determine her fate–individuals who literally hold her life in their hands.
Makes me wonder how she is going to hold up when the state makes its opening statement. Will she keel over when a prosecutor points an accusatory finger at her and condemns her to the jury and the world and ask them to take her life?
Outside of the courtroom, Mark Lippman, George and Cindy Anthony’s attorney, fired a warning shot across the bow of the defense team. He insisted that George did not ever molest Casey and had nothing to do with the death of his grand-daughter Caylee. Lippman said if those charges were made in open court, he might be forced to take legal action. We knew there would be appeals filed if Casey received a guilty verdict but now there is a possibility that whatever the verdict, the courtroom high jinks will continue after the trial.
The third day of jury selection continued to offer new surprises. Jonathan Greene, an employee of Publix, Florida’s ubiquitous supermarket chain, was called for jury duty but did not want to serve. After receiving instructions from the judge to keep his mouth shut about the case, he sought out a producer with In Sessions and talked about the case. He told the judge that he did it on purpose to be excused from the jury but then said that he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong or illegal.
An angry Judge Perry asked him: “What, sir, did you not understand about what I told you?” He had no explanation for that and he didn’t offer an apology. Perry held him in contempt of court and fined him $450. Ominously, he added: “I will not imprison you this time.”
By the end of the court day, at 7 that night, Perry had gone through nearly two hundred people in the jury pool in three days. The litany of hardship rolled on. One woman who served as the caretaker for an elderly mother said that if she had to serve on the jury, she might have to put her parent in a nursing home. Perry sent her home. Another woman who’d been married for forty-two years was terrified at the prospect of spending the night away from her husband. Apparently she had never done since she wed. Perry kept her in the group. When the night was over only sixty-nine individuals remained.
Ideally, at this point, there would be 110 possible jurors to face the one at a time questioning about their exposure to the case, followed by being qualified for the death penalty. In response to the defense’s second request to dismiss the jury because it didn’t have a sufficiently diverse ethnic make-up, Perry suggested recruiting jurors from the nearby homeless shelter. That move would be unprecedented, but it doesn’t appear to be illegal.
If Thursday in the courtroom goes as planned, with one juror after another filing into the judge’s chambers, it promises to be a boring day for the trial. But then, with this case, when has anything, ever been predictable?
The only thing that is certain is that Caylee Anthony deserves justice.