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February 5, 2011

19

counting the counties

by Andrea O'Connell

Casey Anthony’s right to a fair trial includes her right to have a jury of her peer’s to sit in judgment of the crimes she is charged with.

I have always assumed that the phrase a jury of one’s peers was part of the Sixth Amendment “Right to a Fair Trial”.

Nope. Not there.

So, I then figured it must be in the Fifth Amendment, “Rights in Criminal Cases”.

Nope. Not there, either.

So, now I’m curious.  I went in search of answers.  A number of different sources proclaimed that the ideal of “a jury of one’s own peers” is from long ago, reaching back to the 12th century.

I did learn that it was not until 1967 that the Supreme Court decided that this right will be part of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Therefore, it is the Fourteenth Amendment that assures one the right to a jury of “peers and equals” without exclusion.

There is a website dedicated to the US Constitution that contains a page titled: “Things that are Not in the U.S. Constitution”, written by Steve Mount.

He writes:

Today, the American ideal dictates that we are all peers of one another, that regardless of gender, race, religion, social status, or any other division (except age), we are all equal. In this ideal, since we are all peers, a guarantee of a jury of ones peers would be redundant. While some argue with this ideal, it is the most democratic way to approach the subject. Juries need only be impartial, and not made up of one’s peers, else the jury system would be unworkable.

I must say, I very much like that logic and that ideal.  However, Judge Perry, one would think, would have to consider a jury of Casey’s peers, lest he be called out on an appellate issue after the fact.

So, with an ideal in mind of a jury of peers, let’s discuss where Casey’s jurors might come from.

The Case of the Mystery County

Out of pure curiosity, and a love of putting together puzzles, I decided to look at all of the  67 counties in Florida, in terms of demographics, to try and figure out what county would provide a jury of Casey’s peers for her trial.

I am attempting to put together some sort of reasoning around “Jury of One’s Own Peers” and see what I could come up with.   However, it’s anyone’s guess what criteria Judge Perry might be considering when he determines where the Jury for the Casey Anthony case will come from.  One can only assume that he would look at counties with similarities to Orange County demographics.

What similarities will Judge Perry measure?

Chances are he will look at how certain demographics match up.

It seems reasonable that population demographics would come into play. I decided to use district size.   And I will use the Census Bureau’s  demographic information about “Median household income,” and “White persons, non Hispanic” as standards to match and measure.

First, however, I matched counties that meet the district size of Orange County, which has 6 districts. Therefore, I looked at how many out of those 67 counties have at least 6 districts. There are six.

Orange County has 6 Districts

  • Broward has 9,
  • Duval has 14,
  • Hillsborough has 7,
  • Miami-Dade has 13,
  • Palm Beach has 7, and
  • Pinellas has 7.

Next I looked at Median Income from 2009 Census Bureau data (I also included the County seat so you’ll recognize each county).

Orange County’s Median household income is $50, 674

  • Broward County: $51,594 / County seat: Ft. Lauderdale
  • Duval: $50, 660 / County seat: Jacksonville
  • Hillsborough: $49,762 / County seat: Tampa
  • Miami-Dade: $43,921 / County seat: Miami
  • Palm Beach County: $52,807 / County seat: Palm Beach
  • Pinellas:  $45,899 / County seat: Clearwater

Next I looked at the percentages of “white persons, not Hispanic” from Census Bureau data.

Orange County’s White persons not Hispanic: 48.9%

  • Duval:  58.7%
  • Broward: 46.2%
  • Hillsborough: 56.0%
  • Miami-Dade: 17.6%
  • Palm Beach County: 62.1%
  • Pinellas:  77.8%

Based on these six counties, it appears that Broward County is the closest match, followed by Duval or Hillsborough.

Again, it’s not known what criteria that Hon. Judge Belvin Perry will use.

The truth, however, is exactly what Blogger Sherry said about finding a jury of Casey’s peers: “Well, that narrows it down to none – there is no “equal” to Casey that isn’t locked up!”

Oh, ain’t that the truth!

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19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 5 2011

    Well done!

    You know Sherry is right – he will be hard pressed to find Anthony equals and as much as Cindy and Casey would like that to be a compliment – trust me, it isn’t

    Reply
  2. Molly
    Feb 5 2011

    kim – 😆

    andrea – great work there! too bad, doesn’t look like miami/dade comes in even close to that criteria. boo hoo baez.
    but JP is also watching media coverage in these areas too.
    I have complete faith in JP finding an area for jurors. not everyone follows the case like we do & probably heard about it 2 years ago when it was all over the news. but it’s probably faded from memory. as long as they can say they can remain unbiased until hearing the evidence in court, they’re a potential juror. JP is right, the biggest hurdle is the 6-8 weeks sequesting of the jurors.

    Reply
    • Feb 5 2011

      Hey Molly, Yes, I completely agree with you in every sense. I agree that JP will have to take into account the media saturation. I know that Palm Beach covers the case every now and then, when something big happens. And maybe in a blue moon the Broward papers will have a blurb, but rarely, if ever, on the TV news now. And, like you mention, it’s bound to have faded from memory.
      I live in Broward county and would be interested if any press shows up… I’d like to watch jury selection…. would be really interesting!

      Reply
  3. Feb 5 2011

    It is as JP stated though – a juror doesn’t need to be completely ignorant of the case but I think, personally, that the entire reason for Baez to have fought a gag order as well as passed on her right to speedy trial was so he could corrupt as many jury pools as possible.

    That and give him as many opportunities to get his ugly mug on TV as possible

    Reply
    • Feb 5 2011

      Absolutely, Kim! I swear that is his strategy…get his mug on TV, in papers, everywhere to infiltrate the minds of as many potential jurors as possible.
      I keep thinking about that movie based on a Turow book (I think) where the defense got a hold of all the jury info and tracked them down… That’s just Hollywood, but I think that Baez would try any dirty trick to get his girl off. I think, at this point, he will even put his license on the line for her.

      Reply
  4. Sherry
    Feb 5 2011

    heehee~

    Miami-Dade looks like the least likely county-hope Baez can handle that! I think he wants a jury of HIS peers, not of Casey’s.

    Reply
  5. Feb 5 2011

    Will we get to see jury selection?!! That would be so cool!

    Reply
    • Feb 5 2011

      Nah, it won’t be aired because of privacy issues. But, if its in Broward, I would really like to try to attend. I think jury selection is open for the public to view, though I highly doubt it would be public as in on camera…

      Reply
  6. Feb 5 2011

    😦

    Reply
  7. Feb 5 2011

    I just realized that I left out a figure for Broward County in the category of “White Persons Not Hispanic!” That number is: 46.2%
    I just added it to the article…
    Sorry!

    Reply
  8. Molly
    Feb 5 2011

    I do remember perry saying that they will not release names of potential jurors & will refer to them as juror 1,2,3 etc. I hope they keep the names private so no underhanded tactics will happen. JP also wants to keep the media away from them. if there are any “leaks” as to where they are going or who is picked, we’ll know where that came from!

    Reply
  9. Feb 6 2011

    what an ass bozo marie is.he just cant stop talking when he is supposed to.this case is a unique case he says but it also has to be treated differant again so he says.she is a killer period put a cap on that and move on.your 15 minutes of fame is over was over long time agao.killing your kids to be free does not make you a good mother.maybe when she gets out if she does she can only work for some escort service since she has been with so many men she is used to having differant men one foe everyday and 7 for the week.wonder how much they will pay her for that.no one will hire her because of all this mess.good luck jury hope you find her guilty.

    Reply
  10. CptKD
    Feb 7 2011

    I gotta tell you, Andrea – You have outdone yourself on this one!

    You’ve done a fantastic job compiling all this data, and short of a few laws and/or legalities that HHJP must follow, I think you’ve pretty much nailed, the process of how this is going to take place, right on the head.

    I have no doubt, that this jury’s selection will take place within one of the above-listed Counties, and I’m pretty confidant that “MIAMI-DADE” is NOT going to be one of the ‘chosen’ ones!

    I’m sure Baez will have his bottom lip out on that one, but that’s the way the ball bounces and that’s the way the game is played – You win some / You lose some = You can’t always get what you want!

    Besides – It was THEY who wanted the change of venue to begin with…
    No changing that at this point –

    So now, even if his ‘duh’-fence team files a motion in objection to the chosen County – Even if he cries, throws himself on the court’s floor with arms and legs a’flailing, I’m sure we can all pretty much, rest assured, that it still IS NOT going to be “MIAMI-DADE” that the jury is selected from.
    It simply will have to be another County, that I have no doubt, JP will have already set on the back burner to select from… Easy as 1, 2 , 3 –

    Anyways, and once again, I thank you for all the work put into this post!

    You’ve drummed up alot of information, and without even knowing, may have possibly deciphered the method in how the Casey Marie Anthony Jury Pool will be gathered for further questioning/analysis and choosing.

    You ARE good, Woman!

    And so DO keep up the good work – Please! LOL!

    Happy Regards,
    CptKD

    Reply
    • Feb 7 2011

      Thanks so much! It will be interesting to see what criteria he uses. I heard Judge Perry discuss demographics when he was talking about it last Friday, so I thought it would be an interesting exercise to look into it….. , I didn’t research the media saturation, though. He is going to look at those numbers for each county. Maybe I’ll check that, too and see what comes up. 🙂

      There’s one thing about the demographics, however, that I wonder about. There are many counties in Florida that have 5 districts, but I didn’t consider them, I wanted to look at the counties that had similar and/or above the number of districts to Orange County. I thought that it would be best to compare the higher number, versus the lower number of districts.

      I think that Broward is a very good choice – and I’m trying not to be too partial since I live in that county – but, our courthouse is not as big as Orange County. If the media catches on and descends on the courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale, it will be a mad house!

      Yes, I agree that Miami-Dade is not going to be a choice to pick a venue. the demographics are really not a good match, in my humble opinion. And, another very important factor, Jose is very, very familiar with Miami and could certainly rile up the media, UNLESS he’s given a gag order (fat chance he’d abide by it!)

      But, on the plus side for Miami is it’s track record for high profile cases. I can’t remember what case it was – I think it was the Lundsford case, (will have to check), the venue was moved out of its north florida county to Miami, and it was handled with not a lot of hoopla.

      Miami has it’s own troubles and its own set of notorious cases going on all the time… I don’t remember a time when a single case or trial made huge headlines for a sustained period of time. So in terms of a county that could handle it, Miami Dade could.

      Reply
  11. jon
    Feb 8 2011

    Baez will probably hope for a bunch of younger men on the jury so that Casey can bat her eyes at them and try to influence them. I’m hoping the majority of the jurors will be mothers or grandmothers to whom the idea of murdering a child is absolutely not acceptable regardless of the circumstances! I think women will be less likely to be sympathetic to her, especially hard working women who have had to struggle to raise their children and to whom the idea of partying as a way of life is abhorrent. I don’t think it will matter where they come from; mothers are mothers no matter where they reside.

    Reply
    • Feb 8 2011

      Very true, Jon, that any mother on the jury will be hard-pressed to accept the story of the 31 days that Caylee was missing. I bet Baez will try hard to avoid having mothers on the jury – they will be his worst nightmare.

      I also agree with you that he’d want young men. But that’s okay, most people who have a few brain cells will never accept the stories that the defense will try to advance.

      It just occurred to me – there is so much evidence for the State to use, we’re talking a mountain here; and I wonder if the State will try to use it ALL?! Will they overwhelm the jury if they do? I wonder….

      Reply
      • Sherry
        Feb 8 2011

        Your last question is a good one! The only thing I’ve heard that has worn down a jury is the technique called obsfucation which Baez is probably good at.

      • Feb 8 2011

        Hey Sherry… I think that is how Baez operates period! So, the State will have to work hard to keep things as simple as possible, I would think…. LOL! It’s my bed time – to late to think clearly! 🙂

      • jon
        Feb 9 2011

        I think the state will probably stick to what’s relevant and what they believe will get a guilty decision. I can’t imagine them pulling out all of the crap related to this case. Baez will do that as a mechanism to distract the jury from the real facts. Also, I’d say this is one case where the defense will be hard pressed to drag out any character witnesses; Jessie, Amy, Tony, et al are hardly likely candidates for that role!

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