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Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A chilling twist in the case of Caylee Anthony

Final Edition
Note subsequent to Final Edition: Caylee's skull has been found. The Prosecution can continue their case with the needed evidence now in hand. Ironically, they could have had it long before, had they followed up on the lead that eventually led to this discovery. . .

Casey Anthony has been indicted for murdering her daughter Caylee.
That's right, the charges against her include first degree murder.
Now, what's so unusual about that is that the authorities are not even sure that Caylee is dead. Traditionally, for a murder charge to stick, you basically have to have a dead body. Otherwise you end up with the bizarre possibility of being convicted of murdering someone who subsequently turns up alive. But apparently the testimony of a forensic specialists will be crucial to establishing the presence of a dead human--specifically Caylee--in Casey's car trunk. To do so they will have to introduce into evidence the results of DNA tests on the undigested intestinal contents of maggots presumed to have spent time in the aforementioned car trunk.
But fat maggots don't prove that anyone died. The only incontrovertible evidence of death is the discovery of a portion of someone's body too big to live without--although I would also accept chewed-on bones in the wreckage of a plane that flew into the side of a mountain, regardless of their size.

I for one find this new development chilling. Has Caylee even been declared legally dead? I doubt it, as the one being charged with killing her would be the very next of kin who is expected to request a legal declaration.

I find other aspects of this case confusing. Cindy Anthony, Casey's mother, is the one who originally called the police to report Caylee missing. This was reportedly after Casey had herself gone missing for a month, only to return without her daughter. There are all sorts of legal questions to untangle here. Did Cindy have the legal authority to declare missing a child over whom she apparently had no custody (despite the fact that they lived in the same house)? By the mere fact of having reached her 18th birthday, did Casey have the right to disappear from her parents' home for a month? What intrinsic feminine reproductive rights would allow Casey to terminate her unwanted pregnancy a couple-three years later than the Supreme Court currently allows? Should a single woman living with her parents be allowed to have custody of her child just by virtue of having attained a certain age? And how does this relate to Todd and Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol, who plans to give birth as a single woman living in their home?

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