UPDATE: Casey Anthony was released from prison on June 17, 2011, exactly 366 days (three years plus one day) she was arrested for the murder of her daughter Caylee Anthony. Her controversial acquittal has spawned protests outside the Orange County Jail. People with signs, protestors and just plain gawkers were there to witness her release and yell obscenities.
She wore a pink shirt and a pair of sweatpants as she walked out of the jailhouse at 12:08 am.
Some of the protestors held signs that ranged from "Casey Will You Marry Me?" to "She Killed Her. Get Over It."
Police on horseback as well as on foot held the crowd back and kept them in check. Casey was not injured or attacked by anyone in the crowd.
Will Casey Anthony need Federal protection? She has received numerous death threats and her fame and notoriety has made her one of the most famous people in America. She can't go anywhere without sticking out like a sore thumb. Will an angry mother or father attempt to bring their own vigilante justice for Caylee by harming Casey? Time will tell. Until then, Casey Anthony is now free to roam the streets, much like OJ Simpson was 16 years ago. And we see where that got him...
How The Casey Anthony Trial is Just Like the OJ Trial...But Worse:
With the news today that Casey Anthony was found not guilty on all major charges of first-degree murder and manslaughter, (she was found guilty of four misdemeanors of lying to police officers) it reminds us of another major criminal trial from the early 90s: The OJ Simpson trial.
In both trials the evidence seemed overwhelming to everyone who wasn't on the jury. OJ had blood and DNA of the victims in his truck, Casey had duct tape, photos of her partying and getting a tattoo of "La Bella Vita" or, "The Good Life" while her daughter was missing.
And in both trials the question still remains unanswered: Who killed the victims?
The Casey Anthony jury deliberated for 11 hours, while the OJ Simpson jury deliberated for only four hours.
And now high-paid attorneys and legal technicalities have won out over common sense.
The main difference between these two trials was that OJ "The Juice" Simpson was one of the greatest college football and pro athletes of all time. He was a hero, which made his fall that much more intriguing to everyone who watched. Now, 16 years later, we are even more enthralled by a woman no one had ever heard of before this trial started. And yet, she seems to have garnered at least as much attention (if not more) as OJ did those many years ago.
But the fascination with OJ made sense. He was a wealthy star athlete and a movie star. People who didn't know him from sports or movies probably knew him from commercials. And the fact that it was so obvious that he was guilty made his trial a statement on the state of race relations in America, as well as class warfare of the rich vs poor (rich people can get off because they can hire the right attorney. Poor people cannot, so they go to jail.) The social complexities of his trial were hard to untangle.
There was a political and social undercurrent to the OJ trial. Not so with Casey.
But now we've elevated Casey Anthony to superstardom. Partly because we can't believe how someone could go out and party while their child is missing. But we are elevating her more out of horrific fascination. The OJ trial stirred debate amongst strangers. What role does race play in our legal system. What role does money play? There is no discourse on Casey Anthony. The only things people say to each other are "How could she do that?"
The Casey Anthony verdict isn't an indictment on some of the larger issues in our society. Our interest in it is an indictment of ourselves and what we choose to deem important. We aren't learning about the flaws and weaknesses of our legal system, or of the long way we have to come to get equality. We're just watching out of the sheer grotesqueness of the situation. Like rubbernecking at a car accident. Does she deserve the countless hours of TV coverage? No.
But we have more important issues to deal with. Instead of spending so much energy dissecting this trial, the 24-hour news networks would make the world a much better place if they put their resources towards investigative reports on political corruption, global warming and fixing our economy.
As a side note, OJ later wrote a book called "If I Did It" where he wrote how exactly the murder went down...if he did it. Which, apparently he did because there's no other reason for him to write that book. Should we expect a similar book from Casey next year?
For more on the Casey Anthony trial, click here.
And for a look back at the OJ Simpson trial, click here.