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Biggest crime stories of 2011

A series of high-profile legal cases captured our attention n 2001, from New York to Los Angeles and State College, Pa. to Perugia, Italy

On "The Early Show" Wednesday, CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford analyzed the results of some trials and offered insight on pending cases. Among them, those involving Kerry Sandusky, Casey Anthony, Amanda Knox, Dominique Strauss Kahn and Conrad Murray.

2011: Year in Review

Jerry Sandusky:

"Right now," Ford said, "the case has moved forward as much as it can before the next step, which is a trial. ... You can expect a couple of trials, because Jerry Sandusky will probably be ... tried separately. The two Penn State officials (also charged in the scandal) will be tried separately. But, you're talking about at least a year or so. Maybe even longer. They're complicated trials; it takes a long time to get them put together. In the meantime, I think you're probably also going to see a vast array of civil lawsuits coming out of this, and they'll take even longer to happen."

Casey Anthony

No one should have been surprised by the verdict. This was a matter of bad reporting and bad coverage.

It was very hard to prove her guilty of first degree murder. It is almost impossible without an established cause of death and manner of death. My takeaway is the jurors have been vilified in the media-- all because people did not understand this was a losing case.

Amanda Knox

Her case showed how different the legal systems are in Italy and the United States. If this had taken place in the U.S., she might still be behind bars. Here, onluy certain aspects of trials can be used in appeals. There, appeals consist of entirely new trials.

DSK

Something certainly seems to have happened in that hotel room. But the Duke University lacrosse team case reminds us to be slower in our condemnation. I don't presume to know what happened there. The complainant became a problematic witness. We will likely never know what happened.

Conrad Murray

He'll probably be freed in weeks or months, rather than the years he was sentenced to, due to prison crowding and some factors unique to California.