Did You Know that Casey Anthony CAN be Tried in Court AGAIN?

Miley Legal Group

Did you know that Casey Anthony could possibly still face a civil courtroom? While I can’t speak to Florida’s laws, I can say that in West Virginia, a court appointed representative of Caylee Anthony can initiate a civil action in court to pursue a civil claim against Casey Anthony hoping that a verdict will be returned against her.  Such a verdict would prevent Ms. Anthony from ever profiting for what many believe to be her intentional and illegal activities, as well as, forever holding her accountable for the death of her daughter, Caylee.

You may wonder how Casey Anthony can be tried in a civil proceeding given her acquittal in a criminal proceeding.  In a criminal proceeding, someone’s guilt must be proven ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’.  In a civil proceeding, someone’s liability must be proven ‘by a preponderance’ of the evidence.  In other words, the burden of proving your case is lower in a civil case than it is in a criminal case.  Given that someone’s liberty (and sometimes life) hangs in the balance in a criminal proceeding, it certainly makes sense to have a higher standard before potentially putting someone in jail, or to death, for their actions.

To help explain the differences and the burdens of proof, think of a scale of 1 to 100.  Hypothetically, imagine that the burden of proving a case “beyond a reasonable doubt” must get to the 75 % threshold or above in order for there to be a criminal conviction.  Now, also think of a civil “preponderance” burden of only having to be above the 50% threshold.  While our legal system doesn’t actually have scales and % thresholds, you can see from the imagery created that there would be almost 25% ‘room’ to be able to present your case and have a jury return a verdict against Casey Anthony in a civil proceeding even though a jury did not return a verdict against her in a criminal proceeding.

While it may be difficult to understand, that is exactly what happened in the case of O.J. Simpson.  The prosecution was not able to reach the 75% threshold in the criminal proceeding, but the attorneys for the Goldman and Brown families were able to meet at least the 50+% threshold in a civil proceeding.

It’s also important to note that once someone has been acquitted in a criminal proceeding, they are not permitted to assert their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination in a civil proceeding.  In other words, once a person has been acquitted in criminal court, they are required to testify in a deposition and in open court in a later civil proceeding.  The failure of the defendant to testify in a civil proceeding after they have already been acquitted in a criminal proceeding can and will result in a default judgment being entered against them which means they automatically lose the case.  At that point, the only action that remains to be taken against such person would be to present evidence of the harm caused by that person.  In this case, the harm allegedly caused by Casey Anthony toward her daughter, Caylee, is death and therefore would most likely be measured in the millions of dollars.

While nothing can ever bring Caylee back and there will forever be the fear that Casey Anthony may have gotten away with the murder of her child, at least filing a civil lawsuit on behalf of Caylee would, hopefully forever prevent Casey Anthony from gaining financially from her actions.  Ms. Anthony has achieved infamy but a civil action pursued on behalf of her deceased daughter may at least prevent her from continuing to live the ‘Bella Vita.’

Note: the reference to ‘Bella Vita’ is due to the tattoo Casey Anthony got approximately two weeks after her daughter’s death.  ‘Bella Vita’ are Italian words meaning ‘Beautiful Life’ or the ‘Good Life.’