A cause of death that cannot be determined by the State’s medical examiner, but can be asserted on the stand by an anthropologist who has never done an autopsy. The morphing of a projected child’s photo into a picture of her skull. The description of a colorless decompositional fluid (which is typically black). Air samples that contain "the smell of death." A phantom image of heart sticker that “disappeared” before the examiner could return to photograph it.
These are some of the worst examples of “evidence” that the State has used to make its case against Casey Anthony. Most of these forensic techniques have never been allowed in any trial in the U.S. Prior courts deemed them inadmissible because questionable scientific analyses should not be presented to laymen jurors (especially when a death penalty sentence is on the line). The average juror does not have the expertise to differentiate between “good science” and “junk science”, so the court must help them by excluding dubious evidence.
For example, the “lie detector” or polygraph machine has been around for over 70 years. Despite being regularly featured in crime shows and suspense movies, it is still generally inadmissible in our justice system. This is because the machine is too unreliable and jurors will make more of polygraph results than can be scientifically substantiated.
Chief Judge Belvin Perry is a very experienced legal mind. He made his name as a prosecutor and actually brought the first woman to death row in Florida in nearly 150 years ( Judy Buenoano). In fact, he attended the execution, so Judge Perry knows what the stakes are in capital murder cases. This is why I have been so surprised by some of his rulings.
Casey Anthony very likely had something to do with her child's death. However, I believe this case may well be overturned on appeal based on the reckless use of overreaching evidence.
Despite this, the alternative possibility is even more disturbing. Once a technique has been admitted as evidence (especially in a case as high profile as Casey Anthony’s trial), it has a much greater chance of being allowed in other trials. If this happens, the ramifications of this trial will span far beyond the salacious intrigue that has captured the nation.
Blogger: Matt McCusker