“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” - Shakespeare, “Henry VI”
The intensely negative public reaction to the Casey Anthony verdict stands in stark counter-point to the actual jurors’ deliberations.
As we are finding out in their grudging and fearful post-verdict interviews, the men and women who weighed the evidence, rather than the emotion, made short shrift of the prosecution’s case, voting 10-2 for acquittal on the first vote.
As Nancy Grace and her lynch mob – I mean her echo chamber – fixated on the photos of Casey shaking it in the “hot body contest,” those jurors were asking themselves simple questions like: Where would Casey get chloroform? Did she brew it in her parents’ kitchen, stinking up the little house on Hope Spring Drive?
If so, where did she buy the chemical precursors for the compound? Isn’t every drug store now equipped with surveillance cameras? Were there really 84 computer searches for chloroform or just one lasting three minutes probably related to some club craze?
And Why would she need chloroform to knock little Caylee Marie unconscious, anyway? Don’t toddlers sleep 10-12 hours a day? Why would she opt to be the first parent in American history to savagely use duct tape to suffocate a child? Why not use a pillow like so many thousands of child killing moms and dads have done in the past?
Even as they cheered on the prosecution, the Grace-groupies belittled and demeaned every suggestion by the defense that something other than the prosecution's theory was possible.
Drowning? Preposterous! Family dysfunction? A cop out.
As jurors come forward now to explain how their nearly instantaneous unanimous verdict came down, perhaps the armchair Perry Masons will go easier on Casey’s defense team. It is deeply unsettling how so many are lumping the lawyers with the bad news.
"The jury made the right call, period. Anyone who took the time to review the evidence would have made the same decision," José Baez told me in an exclusive interview Wednesday night.
Enduring the severe backlash cascading from the shocking Casey Anthony acquittal, the 42-year old New York-born Puerto Rican attorney is in the midst of the second toughest fight of his life – he is fighting to be judged fairly on the basis of his extraordinary judicial feat.
Even as much of the mainstream media continue to focus on fake allegations from disappointed cops and prosecutors of witness tampering, and so forth, they are obsessed with Casey’s post-release plans.
She’s pregnant?! No, but she’s going to have more babies. No, but she’s going to become a blonde, presumably because they have more sick fun.
The morbid fascination with the deeply unpopular, yet acquitted, 25-year old mother is understandable. She has much to atone for, not the least of which is the hideously inappropriate way she reacted after her child died, whether by her own hand or by drowning accident.
But there is also scorn and rage directed at everyone seen as contributing to the injustice, especially her lawyers – particularly her lead counsel, scrappy underdog José Baez.
“It's a shame that a person can be acquitted of a crime and be shunned by society” he told me, expressing frustration and fear over how his client will be treated when she walks free Sunday. “That's not the purpose of the criminal justice system; that's not the purpose of the Constitution.”
“How they're reacting to your client is one thing,” I responded, adding, “How they're reacting to you is another.”
The thoughtful lawyer answered firmly.
“Put aside how they're reacting to me or Casey. How they're reacting to the jury is much worse," he said. "It's a threat to our entire system of justice and freedom. At great personal sacrifice, those jurors were the ones who made a sound legal decision based on all of the reliable, relevant evidence.
"These attacks are outrageous," he continued. "Why would anyone want to serve on a jury?"
Then we watched a local Fox 5 TV News item citing a Chicago Sun Times newspaper report alleging that, upon release, Casey Anthony will be:
A) Changing her hair color
B) Changing her general appearance, or even more drastically
C) Or having plastic surgery
Baez's response to this was simple.
“All false," he said. "And we don’t know anybody in Chicago.”
Geraldo Rivera is Senior Columnist for Fox News Latino.