Case Study: State of Florida v. Casey Anthony

Defendant Casey Marie Anthony was charged, tried, and acquitted of the death penalty in the murder of her daughter, Caylee. Rockefeller (2016) states that her background before the trial is objectively consistent with the hypothesis of the mother killing the child since the woman led a riotous lifestyle. The lead prosecutor in the case was Assistant State General Linda Drane Burdick. Assistants of the State Attorney Frank George and Jeff Ashton joined the prosecution team. Jose Baez was the lead attorney for the defense, and attorneys J. Cheney Mason, Dorothy Clay Sims, and Ann Finnell acted as co-counsel. An equally significant figure, in this case, was the plaintiff Roy Kronk, who led the investigators to the body of Caylee.

On June 16, 2008 Casey Anthony, with two-year-old Caylee, left their home, ostensibly to work in Tampa. A month later, in mid-July, Casey’s parents, George and Cindy, received a notice that their car, which Casey had left in, was in the parking lot. After picking up the car, in which there was a strong and unpleasant smell, Casey Anthony’s parents met with their daughter, who said that a month ago, Caylee had been abducted by the nanny Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez. Cindy reported the missing child to the police.

On July 16, 2008, Casey was arrested and charged with neglect of children, lying to investigators, and interfering with a criminal inquiry. On October 4, 2008, when the investigation had amassed a sufficient evidence base, Casey Anthony was charged with aggravated manslaughter and four counts of providing false information to law enforcement agencies. In December 2008, the girl’s body was found less than half a mile from Anthonys’ home. Caylee’s death was ruled murder in an unspecified manner, despite the girl’s mouth sealed with duct tape.

Anthony’s trial began on May 24, 2011, in Orlando and was covered live on national TV channels. Ashton (2012) notes that four hundred pieces of evidence were presented during the proceedings. Among them were a lock of Caylee’s hair in the trunk of Casey’s car and air samples in the trunk contained chemical compounds characteristic of the body’s decomposition. Neighbor Anthony told investigators that on June 18, 2008, Casey borrowed a shovel from him. Moreover, the woman’s diary had an entry dated June 21, according to which Casey does not regret anything. Thus, the prosecution’s strategy was to provide as much evidence as possible on the charges brought against Casey.

In turn, the defense argued that the child drowned in the pool on the territory of the parental plot. It is noteworthy that Casey’s lawyers tried to blame the father of the defendant George Anthony at a particular stage. Allegedly, he pulled the drowned granddaughter out of the pool and, in fright, decided to hide her in the nearby forest belt. The defense explained that the mother did not report the missing child to the police for a long time as her depressed state of mind. On July 5, 2011, all charges were dropped except four counts of perjury, for which Casey was sentenced to four years in prison and a $ 4,000 fine. However, the prison sentence was canceled for three years already spent behind bars and for good behavior. July 7, 2011, Casey was released from prison.

The prosecution made a severe mistake in turning this case into a death penalty case. Goode (2014) asserts that in death penalty cases when it comes to such irreversible punishment, the jury requires a higher standard of proof. Thus, the prosecution failed to scientifically prove the facts presented, based on which the jury made the appropriate conclusions. In this case, it should be noted the brilliant work of the defense, which managed to explain most of the physical evidence and all the strange behavior of Anthony during the investigation. If the case were duly charged, there could be a discussion of the plea and the possibility of pleading guilty to a lesser but still severe crime. When accused of capital murder, the chances of a confession were reduced to a minimum.


Ashton, J. (2012). Imperfect justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony. William Morrow.

Goode, E. (2014). Drugs in American society (9th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

Rockefeller, J. (2016). The Casey Anthony murder trial. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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1. LawBirdie. "Case Study: State of Florida v. Casey Anthony." March 23, 2023.


LawBirdie. "Case Study: State of Florida v. Casey Anthony." March 23, 2023.