90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
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.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/shouldersr Robin Shoulders

    I didn’t follow this case very much at all but I was very glad at the outcome. I grew tired of the the U.S. media using this for their ratings. This was a Nancy Grace made media event. If all children that were and are being murdered received this much attention from the media and the publict there more might be done to slow down the murder rate in the U.S. To the rest of the developed world the murder rate and prison incarcerations are appalling. 

  • Mariaalisa

    I think the media coverage was appalling too, but I’m not “glad” of the outcome. It’s appalling. 

  • Anonymous

     i know what the most plausible senario is for the death of caylee anthony.     casey was a woman who loved her child,had no money, did not get along well with her mother and wanted to party drink etc. ok,    i know how this kind of woman operates, i know how cough syrup is used for sedation.      casey used chloroform for a babysitter(thus the search),  then something went very wrong.  maybe she came home after partying,would she be sober? likely not.   she freaked out maybe the baby wouldn’t move. she didn’t know what to do ,maybe she thought she was dead ,or horribly damaged from the fumes. she was scared her mother would get crazy. she did something impetuous,she wanted to hide the body.  but wait,maybe she is just mostly dead and could suffer,(the duct tape) to prevent any possible suffering if she came to.   she put the body in the trunk, not knowing how quickly a body would rot in this kind of heat, she thought bury it.  (the shovel)then changing to dump in the swamp.   

Robin and Jeremy

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

August 21 21 Comments

The Challenges Of Recruiting An All-Volunteer Army

The Army is meeting its targets, but the man who runs recruiting says finding qualified candidates in the 17 to 24 age group can be difficult.

August 21 Comment

Syrian Clarinetist Finds A Home For His Music

"Does the clarinet stop a bullet or does it feed a child or does it rebuild a destroyed home?" Kinan Azmeh asks. "Of course it doesn't. But... it can inspire."

August 20 Comment

James Foley Remembered For His ‘Extraordinary Courage’

U.S. officials have confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of the American journalist.

August 20 7 Comments

L.A. Moves To Arrest Fewer Misbehaving Students

The change in the school district's policy is the culmination of a long fight by judges, government officials, advocates and attorneys.