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Hannity

'CSI Effect' to Blame for Casey Anthony Verdict?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 6, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: It is a recent and somewhat disturbing phenomenon in today's courtroom. It's known as the "CSI Effect." It's raising the standard and burden of proof for prosecutors and the acquittal rate for likely guilty defendants all over America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "HANNITY" SEPT. 26, 2010)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many potential jurors expect real life crime scenes to be portrayed just the way they always seem to be on TV, with cops arriving at a murder scene, finding the victim and immediately starting to gather a treasure trove of evidence. They think detectives should be able to find the DNA and the finger prints of the guilty party.

TAMARA HOLDER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's not how the real world works. And in lots of courtrooms where, for example, DNA doesn't appear, the prosecution doesn't come up with that magic little bit of forensic evidence, jurors say wow, then the guy must be not guilty or at least we have reasonable doubt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: So is the so-called "CSI Effect" to blame for the jury's shocking conclusion of reasonable doubt in the Casey Anthony trial?

Joining me now with reaction are forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter and Fox News legal analyst Bob Massi is back with us. Guys, good to see you. Thank you.

Well, let me ask you, this is your business. You are a forensic pathologist. Do you think this is having an impact on juries? Are they expecting the DNA must be there or else they are not going to find guilt in a case?

DR. MICHAEL HUNTER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: I think being on a jury is extraordinarily difficult. That jury has a very tough decision to make. So they are going to expect the DNA or the bullet or the knife mark. They want to see something that is substantial, because they do look at CSI. They see these things coming about.

HANNITY: Fair enough. Let's tie it to this case. We don't know the cause of death. We don't know how she died. We don't know how she got there. We don't know who did it. I know that the mother lied, acted bizarre, partying, 31 days not reporting it, total negligence on her part.

Bob Massi, tell me where you tie that to murder, as charged?

BOB MASSI, FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: When you introduce experts, Sean, in forensics, as the prosecutor did, once you bring those experts to that courtroom, it is their job to tie the nexus to cause of death. You cannot -- if experts on behalf of the district attorney cannot create the nexus on the elements you just said, you cannot go to that jury and say, you now become our expert.

And that's essentially why they had a problem. They looked to experts. They need to say, doctor, based upon a reasonable medical probability, what was the cause of death? We don't know. You can't then go to the jury and say, you become our expert. That is too much of a standard for 12 people to be asked to do. That's why it failed.

HANNITY: I think that is an extraordinary -- extraordinarily well said.

Michael, when the coroner cannot give a cause of death, it now opens it up to speculation. When you cannot put Casey anywhere near that scene or anywhere near any of the materials found around the scene, and it raise -- and you also have your own experts contradicting it. And you are using a whole new area of forensic science that the state of Florida has never used before, isn't it -- why aren't people seeing this as the stretch that it is?

HUNTER: I think there's some issues that are a stretch. I mean, the chloroform, a stretch. The tape, saying that's that the instrument of the homicide, somewhat of a stretch. This is a medical examiner case. I look at this as really dependent on the medal examiner looking at that jury and telling that jury what the cause of death is and what the manner of death is.

Keep in mind that this medical examiner, the one for the prosecution, never actually went to the degree that the prosecution wanted. They wanted to go with premeditation. They wanted to go with obstruction of the airway, because of the placement of the tape.

Now, she wasn't going to go there. She built I think a very strong argument for homicide. But, as far as the other issues, the issues of premeditation that the jury would want to see, the medical examiner is not even going there.

HANNITY: Bob, one of the things -- and it is funny, because I'm reading very thoughtful e-mails. I'm not getting mean e-mails from people, very thoughtful. People are trying give me that five percent that I keep asking for. Because after the lie about the nanny Zanny, after the lie about working at Universal, after the lie about the rich boyfriend, after the 31 days, you know, no DNA on the duct tape, no cause of death, nothing to tie her to this. The timeline on the smell in the car was so bad for the prosecution, because literally, they're giving us people smelling it five days before a whole list of people that didn't smell it.

MASSI: You know, Sean -- I'm sorry --

HANNITY: Yeah.

MASSI: You know what impressed me with Baez on his closing? I have always been of the belief -- I do the civil side of law, but a picture is worth 1,000 words. When he put those posters up there and he had the people about who smelled and who didn't. He just took them off, one at a time. Then you had six other photos of some law enforcement that said they didn't smell it.

Let me tell you what he did that I thought was interesting. Everybody was wondering, why did he leave George Anthony's picture up there? Because he didn't want the jury to forget that George Anthony, whether it be true or not, was a player. It was a brilliant tactical demonstrative evidence. If you look at the D.A.'s closing, they didn't use a lot of demonstrative evidence. They did not. They brought out the blanket.

HANNITY: But Bob, the prosecutors had the last word. After that -- they even got the benefit of having an entire night to respond to the close of Baez and the other attorney. Here's the point. You are right. They laid it out and they just -- it was perfect. Then they went up there the next day and said, we don't need posters. Yeah, you do.

MASSI: May I say one more thing real quick? I thought it took a lot of guts. I've tried civil cases. It took a lot of guts, knowing the judge was going to come down on him, Baez to say to that guy, "and that laughing guy over there." That was a great -- I'm going to tell you why, because now you got 12 people sitting in the jury box, and they see a smirk on this D.A.'s face, sometimes people think, hey buddy, don't take us for granted. Get that smirk off your face. No disrespect.

HANNITY: But he also did it very cleverly, I think, in case they needed an appeal, in all likelihood, a judge wouldn't be watching the tape. He needed that on the record, which was brilliant.

MASSI: Absolutely.

HANNITY: I still think we may find out one day she is responsible. That would be heartbreaking. But I think our rule of law and our Constitution and that integrity -- I keep saying this -- is far more important, even if we get it wrong occasionally. Guys, good to see you.

MASSI: That's right.

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