|Topics:||👨🏻⚖️ Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, 🔪 Crime, 🦹🏻 Criminal Psychology|
Rationale choice theory is a criminology theory which applies to the case of Casey Anthony. This is because Casey acted in her self-interest and made her own decisions to commit crime regardless of being aware she would eventually be caught and punished. As early as Casey was in high school, she had already learnt to lie to her parents. Casey’s criminal behavior is behavior she intentionally chose to undertake (she was not forced or compelled to commit the crime). According to Kubrin et al. (2009), the reason why people commit crimes intentionally is because they believe the crimes will be less costly and more rewarding for them than non-criminal behavior. In this case, Casey getting rid of the child could have been rewarding to her because in the first place she never acknowledged she was pregnant. After a lot of pressure from her parents, Casey lied about the father of the child, and this led to her mother, Cindy, questioning her sustainability as a mother (Bio and the Bio, 2017).
Because of some extraordinary motivations, Casey was compelled to commit crime. Her personality seems no different from other criminals because she was socialized into a criminal belief. Casey once wanted to give up her child, but her mother discouraged her (Tauber, 2016). However, it is clear when Caylee dies, Casey was never interested in raising the child. Her lies escalated, and she even lied having a nanny who took care of the child. Nonetheless, on one hand, Casey’s case seems to have been largely influenced by her parents, because they never went to oppose her decisions despite knowing that she was a big liar. For instance, in 2008, when her mother questioned her sustainability as a mother, a major argument resulted Casey to leave. However, her parents did nothing to prevent Casey from going with the child. Casey could have considered the cost and benefits of committing the crime as well as those of not committing the crime, and rather, chose to commit the crime.
According to rationale choice theory, people have sufficient rational to engage in some information collection, and they weigh and consider the outcomes of their actions even before deciding which action to take. People may be poor decision makers (just like Casey), but nonetheless, they are decision makers (she decided to leave with Caylee). According to Paternoster et al. (1983), the benefits and costs are not objective but subjective. For instance, in the case of Casey Anthony, the costs associated with murder are being arrested. There is a chance or a certain objective likelihood that Casey could be arrested for murder and lying once the body of Caylee was discovered. For instance, in the area where Casey committed murder (if she actually did) there had been more murder cases, but only few, if any had been actually jailed for murder. So, this is a very low risk of conviction objectively speaking. Nonetheless, chances are Casey could not know anything about the existing arrests, but she was aware of the outcome of her actions.
Hence, Casey could have felt from a younger age that lying had more benefits than telling the truth. As rationale choice theory states, an offender is rationale enough to compute benefits of conventional and criminal behavior eventually selecting the behavior with highest utility. Despite Casey turning out to be a professional liar, she was eventually found not guilty yet every extent of the evidence found her guilty. Casey could have killed her child to avoid the parental obligation which she was facing, but still, her parents were there offering full support to her. Her behavior is hard to explain, but it could all have been triggered by lying which she had become used to.
- Bio and Bio (207). Casey Anthony Biography. Retrieved from http://www.biography.com/people/casey-anthony-20660183#synopsis
- Kubrin, C. E., Stucky, T. D., & Krohn, M. D. (2009). Researching theories of crime and deviance. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Paternoster, R., Saltzman, L. E., Waldo, G. P., & Chiricos, T. G. (1983). Perceived risk and social control: Do sanctions really deter? Law & Society Review, 17, 457–480.
- Tauber, M (2016). Why Casey Anthony Was Acquitted. People Crime. Retrieved from http://people.com/crime/casey-anthony-trial-why-she-was-acquitted/