Getting to the truth about Caylee Anthony's death
by Andrew Vachss
Why doesn't the State of Florida appoint a law guardian to represent the estate of Caylee Anthony?
That leaves only the State to fill the role. As the authority entitled to appoint counsel for a child, the State can appoint a lawyer for Caylee Anthony's estate, and that lawyer can bring suit on behalf of the estate.
In a wrongful-death suit Casey Anthony can be compelled to testify, which was not possible in her criminal trial. She no longer can assert a Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent, because, having been acquitted, she is immune from further criminal prosecution, even if she were to go on national TV tomorrow to admit the homicide.
Of course, Florida doesn't have law guardians for children in abuse and neglect cases. Saves them a lot of money in the short run, which is the only run any politician cares about. The Florida Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has performed poorly over the years. Maybe that's because they aren't sufficiently funded to provide the trained staff necessary to do the job. And, of course, there's no pesky law guardian for the child to hold DCFS to any standard.
If Caylee Anthony is to leave any legacy aside from floral tributes and notes, Florida must do for her now what it did not do during her life: appoint a law guardian to protect her interests. That lawyer should immediately sue Casey Anthony and her parents, who aided and abetted her. If the suit is successful, the resulting recovery would not go to any of Caylee Anthony's relatives, because, as defendants in the suit, they cannot benefit from the estate. Without any "beneficiaries," the recovery would "escheat," or return to the state of Florida. And the State could use the money to hire and train more child protective workers. It could institute a law-guardian system that would save money in the long haul ... and start saving the lives of Florida's children almost immediately.
Update: Had Anthony been prosecuted on the same grounds as Zinah Jennings, she'd be in prison today.
© 2011 Andrew Vachss. All rights reserved.
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