Jose Baez, Casey Anthony’s attorney, has been a bit more forthcoming with how he plans to mount a defense for his client this past week. He told WESH-Channel 2 that his defense was going to have to focus on all the unknowns in the case. He also said that Casey Anthony’s actions following Caylee Anthony’s disappearance were easily explained as “ugly coping.”
For those not familiar with the term “ugly coping,” it is a manner of psychological coping with a traumatic incident that is inconsistent with socially acceptable situational behavior. With regard to Casey Anthony, the behavior in question was her boisterous partying and her silence with regard to her daughter’s absence. This copiously documented, through many photos, “ugly coping” that Jose Baez speaks of will be a major problem for his defense. It will be used to show a callous, uncaring, negligent, and excessively narcissistic mother. To counter, therefore, the behaviors become “ugly coping” for the defense.
“She has a very compelling reason for her actions,” Baez told WESH, but it is a line he has used many times before in reference to Casey Anthony. His elaboration that Casey Anthony was only coping with the dilemma of her missing child (remember: Caylee Anthony was missing, not killed or murdered, according to Casey Anthony) showed a stretch beyond the usual for Baez.
Jose Baez went on to point toward an example of “ugly coping,” the Cynthia Sommer case. Cynthia Sommer was arrested for involvement in the death of her husband because she coped with his death by being promiscuous, buying breast implants, and doing an inordinate amount of partying. Sommer’s attorney described her actions as “going off the deep end.”
Baez’ office was quick to issue a statement that the Cynthia Sommer case was “not an accurate representation of the defense strategy.”
Perhaps not. Still, it is a plausible explanation for Casey Anthony’s seeming indifference to the fact that “Zanny the nanny” had disappeared with her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. And if Baez can tie it into more and more of the many unknowns in the case, the defense could actually walk away with an acquittal.
But plausibility may not be enough. Parallels with the Cynthia Sommer case begin and end with the inappropriate behavior. According to FreeCynthia.com, Sommer’s husband died of either a problem with his heart or arsenic poisoning in February 2002. There was no one-month delay in Cynthia Sommer notifying the proper authorities (or anyone, for that matter) that her husband was dead. Cynthia Sommer willingly cooperated (or seemed to do so) and her behavior regarding testimony and evidence is relatively consistent with her story, which was that her husband had suddenly died. It was in the findings of an NCIS investigation that there were abnormal levels of arsenic in Todd Sommer’s liver and kidneys — but strangely in no other organs, nor his urinary tract — that led to Cynthia Sommer being charged with the murder of her husband. And those charges subsequently led to investigators finding out about her “ugly coping.”
Charges against Cynthia Sommer were “dismissed without prejudice,” which allows for Sommer to be prosecuted at a later date if evidence surfaces that might warrant such action.
As for Casey Anthony’s “ugly coping,” Jose Baez will have to contend with the added emotional factor of there being a child involved. A supposed missing child. A seeming missing maternal instinct.
And if Casey Anthony’s behavior after her child was supposedly abducted was “ugly coping,” exactly what would one call her behavior, which was reportedly much the same, before Caylee Anthony’s disappearance?