Local Experts Weigh In On Casey Anthony Murder Trial

By John W. Davis

June 30, 2011 Updated Jun 30, 2011 at 10:56 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The Casey Anthony Trial is the most watched since the O.J. Simpson trial.

But the dynamics have changed.

Social media like Twitter and Facebook have exponentially reshaped the way capital punishment landscape.

IPFW Journalism Professor Barbara Smith said pre-trial media coverage, which detailed Caylee's mysterious disappearance, and a possible cover up with changing alibis, have eyes glued and fingers tweeting.

Smith said live updates on Twitter and Facebook have changed the way people keep up with national trials because everyone has access to real time information.

Smith said traditional news coverage is one thing but she points out that it is difficult for reporters to recap an entire day in court, in two minutes.

However, because people already know a lot about the case, yet still yearn for the latest, cable networks and Orlando tv stations, have seen near record viewership.

"I think the jury is more likely to find her guilty than not guilty. Depending on how they look at the evidence because of popular tv shows like CSI, and NCIS. Jury now tend to want solid DNA evidence. But that is not realistic at most crime scenes," said IPFW Assistant Journalism Professor Barbara Smith.

"Although tv packages it in such a way that the jury believes they should have everything laid out for them so that they can make a decision," continued Smith.

"Couldn't even explain how you would not only be fighting the state's case, you're fighting public opinion across the country," said Fort Wayne Defense Attorney William Lebrato.

"It seems that anyone you talk to has already made up their mind that Casey Anthony is guilty and deserves the death penalty," continued Lebrato.

Lebrato talked strategy with Indiana's NewsCenter Thursday night.

Lebrato said Defense Attorney Jose Biaz has done a pretty good job poking holes in a circumstantial case.

"The case is very circumstantial and so the jury will be looking at the circumstances and trying to determine if the prosecutor proved beyond a reasonable doubt that she was guilty of this murder," explained Smith.

Lebrato said if he was Anthony's lawyer, he too would focus on the lack of physical evidence and also key in on the new theory that Caylee's death was an accident, not murder.

Meanwhile, both experts had varying opinions on if cameras in the courtroom were a good thing.

Smith said all states should allow cameras, so the public can decide for themselves.

However, Lebrato said cameras allow for a lot of scrutiny, which could put more pressure on lawyers.




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