Weeks after it ended with a "not guilty" verdict, the Casey Anthony trial in Orlando, Florida remains a hot topic of conversation.
Most of the continuing interest is due to the strong feeling by many that the jury got it all wrong. But there's something else about the trial that isn't being discussed much; something important--and downright scary.
Most folks are aware of the fact that had the 12 jurors found Casey Anthony guilty of first-degree murder, they would then have had to make the choice between recommending a death sentence, or recommending life imprisonment.
Initially, the jury was split 6-6 over a verdict of manslaughter; before ultimately deciding "not guilty", and setting Casey Anthony free.
But what if the jury had voted to convict her of first-degree murder? Which way then would the vote have gone--a recommendation for the death penalty, or a recommendation for life imprisonment?
This is where the scary part comes in. Florida, which is a different animal in many respects, is the one state where only six out of the twelve jurors have to vote for the death penalty for that to be the recommendation. The person convicted can have half the jury favoring leniency, and still face death by lethal injection.
The Florida Legislature could correct what is an obvious injustice in the legal system, but prefers, instead, to retain the status quo, so as to be seen as tough on crime.
Nationwide, there were 46 executions in 2010, and capital punishment continues to be one of our more contentious social issues. A Gallup poll last year showed 64 percent of Americans favoring the death penalty.