Furious over the acquittal of Casey Anthony on murder charges, some people have started a petition drive to have her charged with federal civil rights violations in connection with the death of her daughter, Caylee, an effort that one legal analyst deemed certain to fail.
“Casey Anthony violated her daughters (sic) basic civil right to emergency services and life saving techniques,” one petition reads in part. Meanwhile, the defendant was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday and fined $1,000 for each of four counts of lying to investigators, The New York Times reported.
But Anne Bremner, a Seattle lawyer and frequent analyst for media organizations, said civil rights charges are impossible in this case. “You can only violate someone’s civil rights if you’re acting on behalf of the government,” Bremner explained in an interview with The Huffington Post. “The violation would have to have been committed by law enforcement, the state or some other government agency.”
Since she has been jailed for nearly three years while awaiting trial, Anthony may be released soon, given time off for good behavior. Indeed, the Associated Press reported that she is to be released on Wednesday.
The verdict has stunned and infuriated many people in central Florida, as The Orlando Sentinel reported. They cannot accept the defense’s story that Casey Anthony, a single mother, panicked after her daughter drowned in the family swimming, and that she and her father then decided to put the body in a patch of woods to make the death look like a murder committed by someone else.
Those angered by the verdict are apparently unwilling to accept remarks by lawyers and others who followed the trial that an acquittal does not necessarily mean that jurors found Anthony “innocent,” but rather may mean that prosecutors did not prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, as a report in The Times, which credited ABC News, made clear.
“At least one juror, Jennifer Ford, a 32-year-old nursing student, has said that while the panel was not convinced that Ms. Anthony was innocent, there simply was not enough evidence to convict her. ‘I did not say she was innocent,’ Ms. Ford told ABC News. ‘I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be.’”