As push for 'Caylee's Law' begins, consultant says social media shaped Anthony defense

By Kimberly Atkins

The Daily Record Newswire

On the heels of the verdict heard round the world, an effort has begun to urge Congress to pass a law making the failure of a parent to notify law enforcement of a child's disappearance a federal felony.

According to online petition organization Change.org, tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling on Washington lawmakers to pass legislation in response to the verdict rendered yesterday in the Casey Anthony case.

A Florida jury found Anthony not guilty on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and manslaughter in connection with the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

Prosecutors had focused on, among other things, the fact that Anthony did not notify police of her daughter's disappearance.

''When I saw that Casey Anthony had been found not guilty in the murder of little Caylee, and that she was only being convicted of lying to the police about her disappearance, I was sickened; I could not believe she was not being charged with child neglect or endangerment, or even obstruction of justice," Michelle Crowder, the Oklahoma woman who started the "Caylee's Law" petition, said in a statement issued by Change.org.

Meanwhile, Amy Singer, the chief trial consultant for Anthony's defense team, told Lawyers USA that monitoring public opinion on social websites was crucial for Anthony's defense strategy.

"Social media was the difference between winning and losing," said Singer, whose consulting team monitored 40,000 blogs, chat rooms and Facebook pages to find out what people were thinking about the nationally-televised trial.

That provided a window into the minds of jurors in terms of what questions they may have had, she said.

"Then the defense lawyers were able to answer those questions [in front of the real jury]," she said.

"It was like having a free shadow jury. You would not believe the kinds of things people were saying, and a lot of it was counterintuitive."

Published: Thu, Jul 14, 2011

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