Eyes were glued to computer and television screens Tuesday, awaiting the 2:15 p.m. announcement of a verdict in the Casey Anthony murder case.
Interest in the Florida case had gone national, even international.
It was tragic in all respects. A 2-year-old girl who had gone missing eventually turns up in a shallow grave not far from home.
A mother is put on trial, accused of doing the unthinkable.
Only a handful of cases a decade attract such interest.
In the end, Anthony was cleared of both murder and manslaughter charges.
A jury of 12 decided she was guilty only of lying to law enforcement authorities, a crime that carries perhaps a year in prison on each count.
The inevitable followed the verdict. As with most “cases of the decade,” a not guilty ruling brings criticism and second-guessing of the jury, of the judge, of the attorneys, of the U.S. legal system as a whole.
Defenders will say that our legal system is not perfect, but it has its strengths.
It demands proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
It demands a jury of peers.
And, thankfully, it demands transparency. For the most part it plays out in full public view.
Those demands might not make our legal system perfect, but they make it the best there is.