With flashy editing and ominous music, the very show-bizzy “48 Hours Mystery” last weekend recounted the story of Casey Anthony three weeks before jury selection in her trial begins, says the Orlando Sentinel’s Hal Boedeker. The program offered little new information. Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee. In the most controversial segment, “48 Hours Mystery” commissioned a focus group — or mock jury — to weigh Anthony's guilt.
CBS News had defense consultant Richard Gabriel run the group, which undermines the whole point of an egregious exercise, Boedeker says. The majority said they would acquit Anthony of first-degree murder, but most also said they would convict her of involuntary manslaughter. The columnist asks, “Why is a news organization trying a case? Or doing something that suggests it is helping one side in a murder case?” The focus-group outcome, however, heartened former defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden: “That makes me hopeful that maybe the people of Orlando are not being led around as much as I thought by the local news media.”