CASEY ANTHONY, the Florida woman who was acquitted on Tuesday of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, lied so often and so prodigiously that seemingly no one could find the truth. Her lawyer, Jose Baez, blithely labeled her a habitual liar, and thereby sought to explain her bizarre behavior surrounding her daughter’s death. Usually, uncovering a suspect’s lie helps to reveal the truth; it draws attention to what he or she is trying to cover up. But Anthony’s lies only revealed more lies. It was a weird trial: Everyone knew what wasn’t true - that is, just about everything the 25-year-old Anthony told police - but no one could definitively say what really happened.
Asked by prosecutors to declare that Anthony no longer wanted to be tied down by motherhood and thus smothered her child with duct tape, the jurors demurred. They apparently felt the truth was more elusive.
This is not a legal travesty, as the O.J. Simpson verdict was. The evidence wasn’t as clear-cut. But the anger directed at Anthony is justified. She obstructed the investigation with a blizzard of lies so dense that it became impossible to determine her own level of culpability. If there’s anything encouraging to come out of this case, it’s that so many people refused to believe the worst of Casey Anthony, a faith in human nature that may say more about themselves than about the suspect.