Casey Anthony prosecutor’s terribly misguided plea to Dwight Howard

It's hard to imagine any trial -- from the most benign of traffic offenses -- which would be appropriate for a prosecutor to attend while wearing a tie begging a potential NBA free agent to stay with the hometown team when his contract ends.

And though I've purposely stayed unaware of most of the details behind the Casey Anthony trial, just a quick read-through of what we've already learned is sad at best and completely and utterly depressing at worst. This trial is no time for levity, much less statements on a player who won't even be a free agent until 2012. And yet lead prosecutor Jeff Ashton, who is seeking the death penalty for Anthony, wore a "Stay Dwight" tie on Tuesday to the courtroom, with the implication being that he would like Dwight Howard to remain a member of the Orlando Magic beyond 2012.

And that's about as shocking a lapse in taste and tact as one can imagine. Holy cow, Jeff Ashton. Come on, man.

And holy cow, Because it wasn't as if Ashton just bought the tie from its website to wear to this trial without its knowledge.


According to the Orlando Sentinel, Ashton's son got in touch with Ryan Totka, the founder of the Stay Dwight campaign, and asked him to design a tie because his father enjoys wearing "unusual ties." Which wouldn't be a problem, if Jeff Ashton wasn't about to begin his work as prosecutor in one of the more prominent trials in the area's history. At the absolute least, nobody working this or any other trial should be serving as a sort of billboard for a player who is more concerned with this lame "planking" trend and making fun of LeBron James' receding hairline than he is thinking about where he'll go over a year from now as a free agent.

Totka has done well to align himself with Howard's charity, as he's raised funds through local businesses to contribute to that charity, but someone needed to be the voice of reason, here. And that voice never spoke up.

If you think this is an overreaction by myself and the person who first noticed this, Brian Schmitz at the Orlando Sentinel, then you're more than entitled to that take. But also consider what it must feel like, as a family member on either side of the trial, to see perhaps the person with the most influence in a life-changing murder trial such as this to be wearing something so flip, and needless.

(Photo courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel)