In watching as much of the Casey Anthony trial as I have it is becoming apparent that her defense case has some non-substantive problems. By non-substantive problems I mean issues that are unrelated to the substantive evidence being proffered by her defense team. The sort of problems I am talking about are what I always refer to as jury-likability factors. In my experience, having tried a number of cases over the years, if a jury likes your client, they will forgive most anything the client has done and support a verdict in favor of the client. If a jury does not like the client, as an attorney, you can forget about a verdict in favor of your client, no matter how good the case is. These issues extend also to the lead attorney's in the case. Recall Marsha Clark from the Simpson trial, her likability quotient was virtually non-existent and they lost a case against an obviously guilty O.J. Simpson.
I will list what I consider the four most important non-substantive problems with the defense case in the Anthony trial. These issues are presented in an order that to me belays their importance as to impact on the outcome of the case:
- Perma-Frown: Casey Anthony wears a permanent frown during virtually every moment of this trial and she seems completely disinterested in and irritated by what is happening around her. To a jury this is interpreted as a lack of care in the outcome of the case on her part; make no mistake, if the jury concludes that Casey Anthony does not care what result they reach, this jury will convict her with the same lack of care. Anthony's defense team is making a huge mistake by not forcing her to show more emotion and interest in these proceedings.
- Appearance: Casey Anthony's hair is pulled tightly behind her head and tied up making her look almost male-like. Males on trial are given much less sympathy from a jury than a female on trial; this is just a simple fact of our judicial system. Here Casey Anthony wears pants, she has her hair pulled back, she has no make up on making her look tired and disinterested. Anthony's defense counsel needs to make her look more feminine by having her wear dresses, have her hair down or at least fixed up to make her look more feminine. The way Casey Anthony looks and is dressed she appears cold and heartless; not a look that she would want to portray in a case like this.
- Disinterested Counsel: Jose Baez has been repeatedly caught texting and looking at his phone during phases of this trial; further, he has been slow to respond to objections or other occurrences in the courtroom as if almost startled by what was happening. When Baez is at the counsel podium he is slouching over on his elbows and this just sends the wrong message to the jury. Juries see EVERYTHING in trial and you can be sure that they have picked up on Baez's lack of interest in this case. If the Jury concludes that Baez does not care, they will not care enough to acquit his client.
- Fumbling Counsel: Jose Baez has struggled with delivering clear cogent questions to witnesses; he often starts, stops, refocuses and asks questions in a form that makes it very difficult to determine what he is really trying to ask. As a lawyer you want to get into a flow with a witness and engage in an almost a conversational tone; by doing this you are in essence telling a story to the jury and they can easily follow along. When a lawyer fumbles during questioning, juries quickly lose interest and get lost.
It is unthinkable to me, in a high profile case such as this, that the defense team does not have a jury consultant working with them on these very issues. You can be sure that the points I have made here are impacting this jury in a negative manner.