Facebook Reactions to the Casey Anthony Verdict

posted Jul 6, 2011, 7:55 AM by Calan McConkey
As everyone by now surely knows, Casey Anthony was acquitted yesterday of 1st degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse charges. Immediate reactions to the verdict were overwhelmingly negative. To me, it was very reminiscent of the O.J. Simpson trial in regards to public opinion. After hearing the verdict myself, I decided to head to Facebook to see how people were reacting. And, as expected, they didn't disappoint. One interesting thing I did notice, however, was the difference between the way some of my "friends" (in the Facebook sense) were reacting. Due to my attendance of law school and involvement in the legal community, I have a good amount of "legal friends" (i.e., lawyers or law students) but I also have just as many, if not more, "non-legal friends" that, for the sake of this survey, are presumed to have only an average legal background/understanding that would be expected of a normal, non-legal person. As I'm sure you will notice, there was quite a discrepancy in the statuses and comments between legal and non-legal folk.

I decided to research and write this post for both educational and entertainment purposes. I will refrain from voicing my opinion on the issue as this post isn't about arguing what is right or wrong, or whether or not my particular line of employment is complete garbage. Go ahead and read the Facebook statuses and comments below and see if you can figure out if it is coming from a person with legal training or a non-legal person. Identities have been removed for the sake of privacy. Answers are available at the bottom of the post, along with my opinion on any potential discrepancy. And here we go!

[Side note: In unrelated news, I watched the HBO documentary last night "Hot Coffee" and I was very impressed. I highly recommend it to everyone.]


(a) "Really can't believe tot mom got charged not guilty!!!! This Casey Anthony stuff is B.S. Plaxico Burress got more time for shooting himself...

(b) "Some women shouldn't have children, and some people shouldn't be jurors"

(c) "0-1.5 years left...are they insane?!?!? SOOO guilty!"

(d) "In complete shock at the outcome of the Casey Anthony case. Justice was NOT served today. So disappointed in the legal system."

(e) "Is already sick of hearing about Casey Anthony trial and how the system sucks. It is not Casey Anthony's fault the prosecution did not prove BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT she was guilty. I am sure if you were ever accused, falsely or not, you would want that protection."

(f) "Our justice system is a crock, obviously"

(g) "Beyond a reasonable doubt..."

(h) "I have been watching this trial everyday for the past month and cannot believe the verdict. This makes me sick!!!!"

(i) "Truly sad by the fact that justice was not found and that money rules the government, business and our judicial system. Big disappointment in the people of that jury and the morals of our country!!"

(j) "CASEY ANTHONY NOT GUILTY!!!!! WHAT THE HECK?!?!??$?! THIS IS BULL CRAP! SHE BETTER WATCH HER BACK WHEN SHE GETS FREE!!!

(k) "No (reasonable) motive. No murder weapon. No credible physical evidence. No cause of death, no time of death. Casey Anthony was charged with first-degree murder, meaning she purposefully, with 'malice aforethought' killed her daughter. Nothing about the prosecution's case supported a guilty verdict for that charge."

(l) "But I watched all of yesterday's news coverage, which is practically the same as sitting through 3 months of testimony and gives me an equal opinion to that of a juror who was there."

(m) "She'll never get a job or be able to party at the clubs she loved so much. Her life outside of prison may be worse than her life inside. Homegirl killed her daughter though. No doubt."

(n) "I'm not going to debate the ignorance of jurors. The prosecutor's job is to prove guilt BRD. If they couldn't do that on a murder 1 charge, then charge something else. The defense's job is to plant doubt. If the D's do better than the P's, then so be it. It's better than putting innocents on death row."

(o) "People are really going nutz over the Casey Anthony case. How much do we really know of what happened? The media is full of gossip anyways. Who knows?"

(p) "Not a problem. The Anthony jury just gave Charles Bronson a chance to enforce the only real kind of justice: vigilante justice."

(q) "Why is everyone so surprised? The state didn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. I'm shocked the jury didn't convict her based on evidence of her bad character, but that's not how our justice system is supposed to work. She may very well be guilty, but they didn't prove it. Hats off to Jose Baez."

(r) "WHAT!!! 2 years of following this story and I never saw this coming...She's as guilty as OJ Simpson...Rule #1, evidence is EVERYTHING. PS - Jose Baez you're a D-Bag."

(s) "It makes me sick!! That babies death must not be important to those worthless people called a jury!"

(t) "Obviously none of these jurors have children. How can you look in your own child's eyes after knowing you let a woman walk free that could slaughter her own?"

(u) "To me, trials are a wonderful thing and exist to answer questions in cases such as this one. There was no smoking gun that would have resulted in an early plea deal and there were issues that the defense successfully called into question. It was a well tried case on both sides, at least from my safe view behind the television set. But, the only 12 people in the world who were shielded from the media and admonished to be fair and impartial felt that there wasn't proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I think their job is the hardest, especially in a case like this where the victim is a beautiful little girl who should have had a much different experience. My bleeding heart is still very much a believer in our justice system."

(v) "Dexter Morgan will take care of this...you'll see."


Answers: (a) law; (b) non-law; (c) non-law; (d) law; (e) law; (f) non-law; (g) law; (h) non-law; (i) non-law; (j) non-law; (k) law; (l) non-law; (m) non-law; (n) law; (o) non-law; (p) law; (q) law; (r) non-law; (s) non-law; (t) non-law; (u) law; (v) non-law

So how'd you do?

Here is one potential explanation for the discrepancy in most responses: legal people are biased toward their own profession or have more faith in the justice system. Or they know more about the legal system and understand the rules and are better at being objective and, therefore, they produce a less emotional reaction.
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