When it comes to all the gathered evidence, the forensics, the lab results, and the cadaver dog hits, none of it can hold a candle to pictures of Casey Anthony partying it up at Club Fusion in the days when, according to the 23-year-old mother, she was searching for her kidnapped toddler.
But Jose Baez, Anthony's defense attorney, told a local Florida news station that "She has a very compelling reason for her actions." It seems, according to Baez, that Anthony was suffering from a little-known syndrome called "Ugly Coping," a phrase coined by a Columbia University behaviorist in the 2002 case of Cynthia Sommer. Sommer, a military wife, ran off and got breast implants and started sleeping around following her husband's alleged murder. Her defense was able to argue that Sommer's unconventional behavior was her way of coping with her husband's sudden death. Ultimately, it was revealed that her husband had indeed died of natural causes.
Sommer's case appears to be somewhat of an anomaly, says Robin Sax, a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney. Moreover, she says that using "Ugly Coping" as a defense strategy is a stretch. "The defense has to come up with something and you can get any hired gun to find a
study that will say what you want." Sax is skeptical that "Ugly Coping" finds any real acceptance in the scientific community. According to Sax, phrases like "battered-wife syndrome," the quasi defense that explains why a woman might resort to murder, are basically made up. "Like all those Hallmark holidays," adds Sax.
Do you think "ugly coping" could be the reason for Anthony's lies?
|Robin Sax is a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney who specialized in prosecuting sex crimes against children. She is the author of six books, including "Predators and Child Molesters: What Every Parent Needs to Know To Keep Kids Safe." Robin lives with her husband and three children in Los Angeles, California.|