RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The Casey Anthony verdict came after nearly six weeks of courtroom drama and months of preparation for both the defense and prosecution. But here in Virginia, would it have played out differently?
Our legal analyst says it's difficult to say if the verdict would've been different, but we're told there are a number of things that would have been different had Casey Anthony's murder trial happened here in the Commonwealth. Almost everyone has an opinion after hearing Casey Anthony's not guilty verdict. As the case played out in Florida, people we spoke with here in Richmond felt the case might have turned out a bit differently if they were on the jury.
"Oh I would have said guilty!" said Elena Docef.
"Why is that?" asked NBC 12's Evrod Cassimy.
"Because I just don't believe any of her stories!" added Docef.
"I would say guilty," said Bridgett Clark. "I'm a mother you know? My heart goes out to her family."
Our legal analyst, Steve Benjamin, explained how death penalty cases work in Florida compared to Virginia.
"Virginia procedure permits quite frankly, trial by ambush," said Benjamin. "The accused doesn't even get to know necessarily the identities of the witnesses he'll have to confront in trial."
Deposing the witnesses is what took so long in the Anthony case. Not necessarily knowing who the prosecution will call to testify could have hurt Casey's defense. Benjamin believes more witnesses should be deposed in Virginia cases.
"Information always helps and it helps both sides," said Benjamin. "The more information we have, the better we're able to obtain the right and correct result."
Another major difference is the use of cameras in the courtroom.
"Very few trials in Virginia are televised and I think that's a shame," said Benjamin.
Still, he doesn't necessarily believe these major differences would have affected the outcome of the case. Benjamin believes televising a case allows people to have trust in the criminal justice system. It also helps them understand the process as we were able to see in Casey Anthony's murder trial.