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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Expert Alan Dershowitz: Anthony Prosecution Made ‘Dreadful Mistake’

Here & Now Guest:

  • Harvard Professor and defense attorney Alan Dershowitz

After more than two months of testimony, the prosecution in the case of mother Casey Anthony only managed to convince the jury that she had lied to police.

Anthony was accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, and after 11 hours of deliberations that ended Tuesday, the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murder, and not guilty of aggravated assault or manslaughter.

The prosecution portrayed the 25-year-old single mother from Orlando, Florida as a party girl, who saw her daughter as an obstacle to her lifestyle, and waited 31-days.

Anthony was seen smiling and appeared relieved when it was announced that she had been found not guilty of the most severe charges.

But legal experts are questioning the outcome of the case.

Harvard professor and famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz told Here and Now‘s Robin Young, ” there are lots of people in jail and on death row on less evidence.”

Dershowitz continued that while there was “enough evidence to convict” in the case, there was also enough doubt about the evidence to acquit.  That’s why, Dershowitz says, “We have juries not computers in America. We have a system that says better 10 guilty go free than one innocent be wrongly confined.”

Dershowitz said there may have been a different result if the prosecutor had chosen other charges.

“The prosecutor made the dreadful mistake of charging [Anthony] with first degree murder, essentially asking for the death penalty.” Dershowitz said that made the jury look very closely at the evidence for any conviction.

“We’ll never know as a result of this what happened,” Dershowitz concludes, “because a criminal trial is not a search for truth. It’s not a whodunit. In television there is always an outcome, we always know who did it. But in real life we often don’t know what happened.”


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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