General Question

YARNLADY's avatar

What can be done when new evidence proves a person who was acquitted actually committed the crime?

Asked by YARNLADY (39507 points ) November 26th, 2012

Many people believed Casey Anthony killed her daughter but she was acquitted. This overlooked evidence practically proves she did it.

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56 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Nothing in the USA. A person cannot be tried twice for the same offense.

Judi's avatar

The bio dad could file a civil suit.

josie's avatar

See US Constitution, Amendment V

flo's avatar

If nothing can be done it is an injustice. The law should be changed. Just like when DNA lets an innocent person go free, the guitly party should be retried if new evidence shows up. I hope that is what Amendment V says.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Amendment V.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

She can be tried in Civil court, but not again in Criminal Court.

Judi's avatar

I know it sucks some time but I am happy I live in a country where the prosecution only gets one shot at it.

Mariah's avatar

As @WestRiverrat said, you can’t go back and try again when new evidence arises. I don’t think this ought to be changed at all. Imagine being falsely accused of something and having to face trial after trial because the prosecution won’t let go and keeps finding more flimsy evidence to use.

Personally I don’t think the new evidence “proves” anything. God knows I’ve google searched some fucked up things in my time, mostly for the purposes of writing fiction. I think she probably did do it but there’s definitely reasonable doubt. That’s how I felt before this new evidence and that’s still how I feel now.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I think the police officers who did the original investigation should have some kind of consequence. From what I understand, this is not really new evidence, they have had this for some time.

As I understand it, this is all due to them checking one browser but not the others.

Everyone should be in trouble for being stupid. Casey for google searching that stuff from home and then not covering her tracks after she did, and the police for messing up the investigation so badly.

flo's avatar

”...without due process of law…” in @WestRiverrat‘s quotation, Of course not without due process of law that goes without saying.

Why is it if anyone else makes a mistake it gets corrected, but when it is the prosecution, not? The guilty person should not go free simply because the prosecution got it wrong the first time.

Judi's avatar

The founders put double jeopardy in the constitution for a reason. The saw what happened when the prosecution was allowed to prosecute over and over for the same crime. It’s one of the prices we pay for the freedom we enjoy.

flo's avatar

@poisonedantidote “I think the police officers who did the original investigation should have some kind of consequence.”
“Everyone should be in trouble for being stupid”
Yes but the guilty party is still out.

@Judi the founding fathers are not gods. Things can be improved upon.

Judi's avatar

Going back would NOT be an improvement. I stand by the wisdom of the jeopardy rule.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@flo the problem with that is, if a prosecutor had it out for someone he could keep hauling them into court until they didn’t have enough money left to buy a used tissue.

I forget which one of the founding fathers said it, ‘better for 1000 guilty men to go free than one innocent be convicted.’ I still find this to be a good standard.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It is called “sloppy cops” in neck of the woods.

josie's avatar

The Founders had given quite a bit of thought about what happens when political power becomes tyrannical, and they put their concerns about it into the Constitution. Their attempts to check the possibly inevitable decay of government into tyranny have been successful longer than many of them thought they would. The Fifth Amendment keeps the government from prosecuting you forever as a form of torment. It is one of the truly important innovations the Founders came up with. And yet, right here an Fluther, we see the beginnings a rejection of that really amazing leap of faith. The idea that occasionally the guilty may walk, so that the innocent need not suffer-unjustly. That’s just great. Up to this moment I had given this place the benefit of the doubt.
@flo Are you the future? Holy shit

flo's avatar

All I know is, it obviously needs improvement, big time. Impossible to argue with that.

PhiNotPi's avatar

The fifth amendment is there to protect innocent people from the prosecution. If a trial could be held over and over again, then innocent people could be trapped in the legal system forever, sometimes because of other people’s (and the government’s) malicious intent.

Can the justice system be improved? Without any doubt whatsoever; however, there are ways of improving it without removing the fifth amendment. In future cases, the prosecution should do a better job of finding evidence, do a better job of using evidence in a trial, and do a better job of not prosecuting before they have all of the evidence. If these three (and maybe more) things are accomplished as close to perfectly as possible, then there is no need to remove or modify the fifth amendment.

What I am trying to say is that whatever problems there are in our justice system, 99% of them can be solved in ways other than editing the fifth amendment.

jaytkay's avatar

As @Judi wrote, a civil suit could be filed by interested family members.

If you lose a civil case they can take your money and property, but they cannot imprison you.

However the standard of proof is lower for civil suits, requiring only “a preponderance of the evidence”.

A criminal case must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

So you just have to convince the jury that your side is more believable than the other.

OJ Simpson lost his civil suit after his criminal acquittal. The federal government has used civil suits where local prosecutors and juries allowed people to get away with murder.

So there is a Plan B if someone believes justice was not served.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@jaytkay I don’t think Casey Anthony has the money to make a civil suit worthwhile.

JLeslie's avatar

I think if there is something else a person can be tried on then they could bring different charges that might pertain to the same crime, but not the same charges.

Basically what I think is people like this wind up committing some other crime and eventually do wind up in jail.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I just keep hoping that soon the news will report on her body, found in an alley, an apparent victim of suffocation…

YARNLADY's avatar

@WestRiverrat There is some talk about a book in the works, which would be a source of money. Probably a civil suit would be the best plan.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@YARNLADY then all you have to do is find an attorney that will take the case on contingency, and an injured party with a vested interest in the case.

zenvelo's avatar

The newly “found” evidence is just more circumstantial evidence.

@flo It does NOT need improvement, it works as intended and as wanted by the citizens of the United States. She was found not guilty based on the evidence presented to the jury. The cops don’t get a do over.

A civil complaint can only be filed by someone who was harmed or made less whole. There isn’t anyone with real standing to file a suit. The father is not known. And as an acquitted person, Casey Anthony can write any book she wishes.

Jeruba's avatar

Is anyone besides me a little bit shocked to learn how much browsing history, at what level of detail, is retrievable by the service provider after such a lapse of time? I keep wondering when there’ll be a backlash.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The Fifth Amendment does not actually say what a lot of people think it does, or at least it has not been held to say what a lot of people think it does. While the double jeopardy doctrine is strong, it is not absolute. The primary exception to it is found in the dual sovereignty doctrine. If prosecutors could make the case that Casey Anthony violated a federal law in the course of committing her crime or otherwise make the matter one of federal interest, then she could be tried again. Moreover, Anthony’s use of the internet to research how best to commit her (alleged) crime might be just the kind of thing a clever federal prosecutor might use to make such a case (assuming the site she accessed is hosted by a server outside of Florida). It’s a long shot, but it could theoretically work.

That said, the evidence itself is not irrefutable. The defense team was prepared for it, even if we might not find their response very convincing, so we shouldn’t go about assuming a new trial would end in conviction.

Shippy's avatar

I found this whole case strange, it was so obvious all along she did it.

ragingloli's avatar

@Shippy
“Obvious” in relation to knowing what is true is actually quite meaningless.
It was “obvious” that the sun orbited the earth. It was still wrong.

Shippy's avatar

@ragingloli Sure get technical but two eggs plus two eggs, doesn’t make a shit cake.

ragingloli's avatar

@Shippy
Actually, it does, since a cake needs a lot more than just four eggs.

zenvelo's avatar

@Shippy @YARNLADY The “new” evidence does not show that Casey Anthony “actually committed the crime.”

PhiNotPi's avatar

In this particular case, I have read several news articles that suggest that this evidence was actually available at the time of the trial, but it was overlooked by the prosecution. The Casey Anthony trial thus does not give a good reason to edit the fifth amendment, but it gives a good reason for prosecution to do a better job the first time around.

Shippy's avatar

@zenvelo She vanished from “view” for a month. Could not let her own grandmother speak to her child, did not report it? Then bought a shovel. Then after the death hardly looked sad. OK, can’t recall all the details, but you know come on give me a break. My child goes missing on day one I’m hysterical. I call every person I know, to help me find her. Right? Or no? Then I tell the people closest to me the child has gone? Yes or no? She also admitted to chloroforming the kid so she could go out and party. Chloroform could also be smelt in the car, with the dirt and stuff that was used to transport the child. Her car. Um which part is missing?

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

Thankfully here in Scotland they changed the double jeapordy rule so that now somebody who was found innocent of a crime can actually be retried if new evidence comes to light and from what I have read this is the kind of case that the changes were made for.

I find it amazing that when laws get made for the strangest of things that they cannot change it so that somebody can be tried again and I can only imagine what people such as the grandmother feel about it all.

Shippy's avatar

@TheProfoundPorcupine Well now, that is a Judicial system that makes sense.

JLeslie's avatar

We have trouble in the other direction also, once convicted the courts are generally loathe to hear new evidence to turnover the judgment. It can take years and years for a court to be willing to even consider DNA evidence that will prove someone’s innocence. It’s horrible.

@TheProfoundPorcupine The maternal grandmother is the alleged killer’s mother. Do you mean the paternal grandmother?

zenvelo's avatar

@Shippy The part that is “missing” is direct evidence to convince a jury that she committed murder.

I am not saying she is innocent, but all the evidence, including the “new’ evidence is circumstantial. And the police missed it. If the police didn’t think it was important to give the prosecutor, they don’t get a do-over. No mulligans for the police!

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

@JLeslie yeah I do

@zenvelo There was a case in Scotland whereby a guy was found guilty of murdering his wife and disposing of her body and the entire case was built on circumstancial evidence because it got to a tipping point where they had so many pieces of the jigsaw that the picture that they were trying to put together became so obvious it could not be ignored. Since then the guy has appealed, had a retrial, and the same conclusion was reached by a new jury and a new judge as they all agreed that he had murdered his wife.

Sometimes there are just so many clues available that it just cannot be anything else.

Lightlyseared's avatar

So if people can’t be tried for same offence twice how come the officers in the Rodney King case were?

Shippy's avatar

@JLeslie I watched a 2 day interview with the “alleged” victims mother and father. Both were suspicious of her guilt during the interview. Particularly the father. The killers mother, the grandmother, was very confused for an entire month, as to why she could not greet the child by phone or see her in anyway. Casey, made up stories to cover up the fact that , the child was not around. Like saying she is with her nanny (to this day proof of a nanny even existing was never found). If a mother was concerned about her missing child, would she cover it up?

When Casey lived with her parents, she lied continuously for extended periods about important things. She said she had a job, she went there every day. But in fact she didn’t have a job. She also stole from them. These are all indicators of a sociopath. Or sociopathic behavior. I saw her recently on a You Tube video chatting about , how nice it was the trial was over, she is enjoying her new home, etc., If that were me, I would be ranting as to WHO killed my daughter? I would never rest until I found the person.

here are some photos of Casey, during the period her daughter was missing.

cheebdragon's avatar

Legally they can’t do anything for now, but if she commits any other crimes, she will most likely be railroaded like OJ was in nevada and given the maximum sentence for that crime.

JLeslie's avatar

@Shippy You don’t have to convince me, I have always leaned towards believing she was guilty, and definitely believe the girl is a sociopath.

Shippy's avatar

@JLeslie I know, I just needed to type all that loll

Shippy's avatar

@JLeslie “Get it off me chest all that

Brian1946's avatar

@SavoirFaire

If prosecutors could make the case that Casey Anthony violated a federal law in the course of committing her crime or otherwise make the matter one of federal interest, then she could be tried again.

I was thinking the same thing.

As some might remember, that’s what happened in the case of Rodney King:

“In the aftermath of the riots, pressure mounted for a retrial of the officers, and federal charges of civil rights violations were brought against them.”

Although she can’t be retried for that murder by the state, according to Wiki, apparently she could be tried by the Feds for depriving Caylee of her right to life:

“Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical and mental integrity, life and safety….”

disquisitive's avatar

Usually nothing. Sometimes charges in another system (Federal vs State) can be brought, but likely the SOL will have run.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Lightlyseared See my previous post about the dual sovereignty doctrine, which @Brian1946 correctly notes is what happened in the Rodney King case.

@Brian1946 Excellent point. That might be an even more promising way of literally making a federal case of it than the one I suggested (or perhaps the two together might work).

@disquisitive There is no statute of limitations for murder in the United States.

flo's avatar

“they don’t get a do-over. No mulligans for the police!”
It is not about giving or not giving the police mulligans. It is about the victims and potential victims.
By the way,
“but all the evidence, including the “new’ evidence is circumstantial”
“The newly “found” evidence is just more circumstantial evidence.”
So, all you need is for the evidence to be airtight right @zenvelo?

I love Scotland.

flo's avatar

@SavoirFaire
@Shippy
@TheProfoundPorcupine
Thank you for bringing the lovely info into light.

zenvelo's avatar

@flo The evidence wasn’t enough to convince a jury. Do you think anyone who gets arrested is guilty and the prosecutor should just keep trying until a jury is found that says guilty? Why did the DA not use the evidence? Why didn’t the police not give it to them to use? Perhaps the police did not find it convincing!

As i said before, I have never said Casey Anthony is innocent. But the DA in this case completely botched the prosecution.

flo's avatar

@zenvelo Just in general, if the evidence is airtight, then no problem?

flo's avatar

If the jurors keep giving a “not guilty” verdict no matter how airtight the evidence is, doesn’t that mean something is wrong with the jury system?

Judi's avatar

@flo , you might be happier living in Kuwait or Afghanistan or somewhere that a judge or a group of elders decide someones fate. I prefer a guilty person go free over leaving my fate in the hands of a few corruptible people. Mankind has been there, done that, and I think what we have is the best that the world has produced so far.
Now there was that movie where they could tell if you were GOING to commit a murder and put you in jail preemptively.

flo's avatar

@Judi Is Scotland on it’s way to becoming the countries you mentioned?

Judi's avatar

I don’t know anything about Scotland’s legal system.

flo's avatar

@Judi that was a rhetorical question.
”...what we have is the best that the world has produced so far.”
Now, make it better.

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