Not guilty.

These two words were on the minds of Americans everywhere.

The vigorous trial finally came to an end in a Florida courtroom on Tuesday afternoon, bringing shock and dismay to many.

However you may feel about the innocence (or lack thereof) of Casey Anthony, I can’t help but be reminded of why our judicial system is organized the way it is.

Scales of justice

krishnan /

You can’t just call someone a murderer because they seem to be a despicable person. If so, there are many people who would have been put behind bars a while ago. If that were the case, the nation would be chasing after the memories of the “witch hunt” days in Salem.  If you could convict the accused just based on character flaws, our nation would turn into an Orwellian dystopia and “facecrimes” where you could be in trouble for merely having a suspicious look on your face could put you into prison.

We progress forward — not backwards — as a society for a reason.

If the jurors had decided that she was guilty based on gut instinct or what their consciences/souls were telling them to do, they wouldn’t have been upholding their duty to the court system of the United States. The jurors on this case were told to decide whether or not Casey Anthony had killed her daughter “beyond a reasonable doubt.” They weren’t asked to decide if she was inherently evil. They were just told to make a decision from the cold, hard facts.

The facts did not give a strong enough case for the jury to rule against Casey. The prosecution straight up failed — or maybe just didn’t get on the defense team’s level. They spent too much time tearing her character apart piece by piece. Did Casey Anthony deserve that? I ‘ll let you decide, but there was just not enough evidence to prove she did what she accused of.

Maybe Caylee did actually drown. Was it absolutely insane the way Casey reacted if that’s what really happened? Absolutely. But a drowning is different from first-degree murder.

Will we ever really know what happened to Caylee? Probably not. But this case should give us all a refresher on what the job of a jury is and how our legal system operates.

Is our legal system flawed? Definitely. Mistakes are made every day.

The most we can hope for is that the mistakes are outweighed by the truth.

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