Here in Florida, as the hot weather gives way to really hot weather, most people are oblivious because they’re all indoors watching the Casey Anthony trial. At a dinner party over the weekend, it was all anyone talked about.
You may have heard of Casey Anthony. She’s the young mom accused of killing her young daughter in 2008 and then becoming ensnared in her own web of lies. The case has captured imaginations around here because all of the characters are white, middle-class and good-looking, and because the motive in the case appears to be nothing more complicated than pure evil. The TV coverage is live, and it’s gavel-to-gavel. You can even stream it on the Internet.
But like a lot of TV shows, this one is an acquired taste. When you first tune in, it seems a lot like every city council meeting you’ve ever seen, with guys in suits constantly interrupting each other or getting up to rummage through a box. Spend a couple of hours with the Anthony trial, and you realize that American justice is quite a bit less streamlined than it is made to appear in scripted courtroom dramas. My initial hope of seeing a tearful Anthony blurt out a full confession on the stand – well, apparently that kind of thing almost never happens.
Despite the glacial pace, It’s still interesting TV. For me, it’s instructive to compare this sensational trial to the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995. In both, attractive people are accused of horrific crimes, but elsewhere the contrast is startling.
For example, the judge in the Anthony case, Belvin Perry Jr., is everything Lance Ito was not: Decisive, brusque and surpassingly well-versed in the pertinent law. As slow as this trial seems to move, I hate to imagine how much worse it might be in Ito’s hands. During the Simpson trial, Ito seemed hypnotized by the limelight and let Johnny Cochran put on a musical with everything but the Rockettes. The result was a verdict that turned solely on race and remains a great joke at the expense of justice. Perry sees foolishness coming from a great distance, and shuts it down pronto. I’m not sure why he feels it’s necessary to run his own blog during the trial, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that.
Meantime, when in Florida … I’ll be tuning into to the live coverage from time to time, and rendering a verdict of my own. I have to say, at this point it’s not looking real good for Casey.