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May 12, 2010

Gender bias attack on the death penalty rejected in Casey Anthony case

I have not been closely following the seemingly-all-too-high-profile criminal case against Casey Anthony in Florida, but this news storyconcerning recent developments in the case seemed blog-worthy.  The CBS News piece is headlined "Casey Anthony Can Face Death Penalty, Judge Rules," and here are excerpts:

The judge in the Casey Anthony murder trial has rejected arguments from her attorneys that the death penalty should be taken off the table.  Chief Judge Belvin Perry made his ruling against Anthony, who is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, at a hearing Tuesday in Orlando, Fla.

Anthony's attorneys argued that the prosecutors had a gender bias in seeking the death penalty and put on an expert witness who testified that a mother who is perceived as "deviant" by a jury faces a difficult time in defending herself against criminal charges.

Anthony's attorneys also argued that "Societal biases against women provide the state with a way of deflecting attention away from the insufficiency of the evidence in Miss Anthony's case," according to the defense motion.  These arguments did not convince Judge Perry, who said that defense attorneys had failed to prove a gender bias in regard to the death penalty in this case.

I am torn between wondering whether Casey Anthony's lawyers merit some praise for giving this intriguing gender-bias argument a shot and wondering why lawyers for men changed with capital offenses do not make a habit of making gender-bias arguments.  In this context, consider this recent Huffington Post commentary, which is titled the "Quirky Gender Bias in the Death Penalty," which (sort of) laments the fact that gender bias against men "riddles the death penalty as much as racial and class bias."

May 12, 2010 at 01:16 PM | Permalink


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That is a silly argument. ABC News reports on Most Infamous Alleged Mommy Murderers in History.

"But more than 200 women a year kill their children in the United States, according to the American Anthropological Association."

That is about 4 times the number of "stereotypical kidnappings" of children per year, and those about 50 per year include many that did not include a sexual motive or death of the child.

Yet, the majority of our resources go to the prevention of these outlier "stranger danger" cases. Indeed, sexual abuse is about 7-10% of all child abuse. S. Clause could argue the criminal cult enterprise should be held responsible for the neglect of the other 90% of abused children. See ABC's related story: Freud Was Right: Mean Mothers Scar for Life. Of course, it's not only moms.

All of this is incorporated in the brutalization effect. Which invites consideration of the People's comments to the first linked story. Very brutal.

The U.S. is caught in a dwindling spiral of who can be most brutal, which is what "the toughest law in the country" could amount to. It's kind of a self fulfilling prophecy.

Norway has a better and more effective idea which has to be in good part why its recidivism rate is about 1/3 of ours.

Posted by: Someone | May 12, 2010 4:05:43 PM

A remedy is applied in a biased way. Isn't the answer to apply it to the favored group more often and not to end it for the disfavored group? Say, a statute prohibits murder. Every time a black man commits it, he is arrested and punished for it. Every time a lawyer led member of the KKK commits an extra-judicial execution, to seize the assets of the productive black victim, he is immunized by the prosecutor and by the judge who share in the booty. Should the law against murder be repealed due to a race bias or should the prosecutor be forced by a writ to start doing his job more completely?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 13, 2010 7:46:43 AM

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