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Casey Anthony's Next Moves?
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Dr. Frank Farley  --  Psychologist Dr. Frank Farley -- Psychologist
Philadelphia , PA
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

 
                                                                           Frank Farley, Ph.D

She's out of jail, ending the trial and captivity that captivated the nation. The Constitutional presumption of innocence has not been so severely tested in the public mind in a long time, and the Constitution seems to have lost. Many if not most Americans, and the media they follow, believe she killed her daughter, the most heinous of crimes. And some profess hatred of and some apparently have threatened death to, Casey. Some of the public even profess hatred of the jurors, apparently.

No American trial in this young century has so stirred the public's passion. Given the level of anger, and Casey's visibility, what might her future look like? As a psychologist who studies crime, emotion, motivation and success in life, I am going to SPECULATE about that question, laying out seven possible scenarios or issues among the MANY that might be considered.

1. Safety is paramount at this stage. Over time the anger of most people will diminish, it always does. One radical option is for her to disappear. Changing one's name, appearance and location, something well-known to deep-cover professionals, would be harder to accomplish today than ever in the past in our 24/7 snooping world of Internet, media (e.g.,TMZ), public camera surveillance and the Orwellian watchfulness of our times. She would need income, and her identity would be required in any lawsuits that are likely to arise. Probably an attempt to lie low for the short-term is recommended. The idea of Puerto Rico residency might be on the table, given that her attorney Jose Baez may well be a star there. She could pursue financial options, a book, perhaps higher education online, etc., until ready for any further moves.

2. Book or books. A book written by her with her attorneys about the trial and everything surrounding it, including the jail years and the back stories of these remarkable attorneys, would sell well. Her lead lawyers, especially Baez, are fascinating characters, strong figures in this case, with a story to tell. If she wrote one on her own, or with the likely help of a ghost-writer, she might inadvertently trip herself up, as liars often do where there are so many lies piled upon lies over periods of time, and that would be of interest and perhaps cast more light on this case.

3. TV and other interviews. These might encounter problems such as boycotts of the shows or the advertisers. Such serious long-term developments are unlikely. She will be interviewed, of course, if she elects to. She will receive various financial offers, despite the distaste many might have over them.

4. Family. I would predict some limited degree of rapprochement, perhaps more likely with her mother, and possibly brother. But of course it's unclear which members would want it and who would initiate it. A good family therapist could help.

5. Friendships. i know of no reason she wouldn't make new friends or re-connect with some old ones. People who sympathize with her and believe her to be innocent may connect with her online or in other ways, so that she develops new friendships. Supportive websites may develop.

6. Intimacy and close relationships. She will I'm confident be approached for dating or a close relationship. She apparently has already had an offer of marriage!  Even those who have been adjudicated guilty and imprisoned for life are sometimes recipients of marriage proposals, sometimes resulting in betrothal!

7. A normal life? Casey might be able to attain something resembling a normal life over time I believe. Other media trials and other issues will engage Americans, and the spotlight will dim. She will need a lot of self-management and possibly a psychologist to ensure that she doesn't derail, as happened with O.J.'s post-trial life, leading to his present incarceration. Casey Anthony is young, seemingly resilient in the face of this case, the court-room and her incarceration for three years without trial. Her attorneys have noted her strength. She has much less history to overcome than O.J. and less baggage coming from his long and storied career. The likely strong bond developed with her legal team will help her if they stay in the picture and in her life for advice and friendship.

Frank Farley,Ph.D., is L.H.Carnell Professor, Temple University, Philadelphia, and former President of the American Psychological Association. He can be reached at frank.farley@comcast.net or (215)668-7581.
 
Dr. Frank Farley
Psychologist
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
215-204-6024