Is this a Florida thing?

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Florida recently revealed it never told prosecutors that someone did an Internet search about “foolproof suffocation” on Casey Anthony’s computer.

In case you’ve forgotten who Anthony is – and you’d be completely forgiven if you tried to blot this woman from your memory forever – she’s the one that was acquitted last year of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

Although there was a wealth of circumstantial evidence pointing to Anthony’s guilt, jurors weren’t convinced. They acquitted Anthony; whether they bought the tall tales Jose Baez weaved, we’ll never know.

Baez is Anthony’s defense attorney, and if the Casey Antony trial proved anything, it proved this: many lawyers lie for a living. And, in some cases, the more outrageous the lie, the more successful the lawyer.

Lies and lying figured prominently in Baez’s defense of Anthony. Unable to deny that his client had lied repeatedly to police, Baez basically told jurors this:

“My client is a compulsive liar, but you should believe her when she says that she didn’t kill her daughter.”

And Anthony was such a compulsive liar, Baez contended, because her father had sexually abused her as a child.

Did he offer any proof? Hey, we’re talking about a defense attorney speaking on behalf of a woman he admitted was basically a lying, dysfunctional excuse for a mother. Baez probably figured he didn’t need proof.

In his book about the Anthony case called “Presumed Guilty,” Baez pointed the finger at his client’s father again. It was HE that had done the Internet search about “foolproof suffocation,” Baez contended.

According to the Web site http://www.wptv.com, Baez was probably lying about that.

“Local 6’s investigators say the timeline suggests it was Casey (that made the search), based on newly released records.

“Her father was at work and no one else was home when ‘fool-proof suffication,’ ‘plastic bag over the head’ and other terms related to homicidal murder were searched under the password-protected account that Casey used.” (Casey Anthony is so pathetic she can’t even spell “suffocation” correctly.)

We have to give Baez credit for one thing: his defense team knew about the search; prosecutors didn’t. Those geniuses in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department knew about it, but never told prosecutors.

It boils down to incompetent police work, and we can’t blame race for this one. (Although I did have one student – white – who wrote a paper saying that if Casey Anthony were black, she’d be on Florida’s death row right now, not walking the streets.) Apparently, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office isn’t any more competent than the police department in Sanford, Fla., or the Jacksonville Police Department.

Cops in Sanford never tested George Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, for drugs or alcohol in his system.

Nor did those Keystone-Kop-wannabes bother to check Martin’s cell phone, get numbers from it to contact friends or relatives, or to see if he had made any calls prior to his encounter with Zimmerman.

Such things might be covered in a Police Work 101 course, but when it comes to law enforcement, cops in Sanford are still at the elementary school stage.

Twelve years ago Brenton Butler was only 15 years old when cops stopped him as he walked down a Jacksonville street. It was a Sunday morning.

A short time before Butler was stopped, a white couple was robbed at gunpoint. The bandit fatally shot the wife of a tourist, who gave police a description of the suspect: a black male.

Cops took one look at Butler walking down the street and said, “Hey, there’s a black male there.” So it was Butler that was arrested and charged with felony murder and robbery.

Through the diligence of two dedicated public defenders, Butler was eventually acquitted. And it was those public defenders, not Jacksonville police, who did the investigation that led to the real killer of the tourist.

If you’ve seen the documentary “Murder On A Sunday Morning,” which gives the details of Brenton Butler’s arrest and trial, you get to see that killer at the end of the film.

He and Butler were indeed both black males. And that’s about all they had in common.

There were major differences in the height, weight, hair (style, length and texture), age and skin complexion of the two, enough so that Jacksonville homicide detectives should never have made the boo boo of arresting and charging Butler.

But, as we have learned, making egregious boo boos isn’t exactly the exception for Florida law enforcement officers, is it?

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