"O.J. and Casey Anthony were both found not guilty in court of law, but the court of public opinion is a lot harsher, and makes much different assumptions than court of law did -- and it's harder to overcome," ABC News Consultant Howard Bragman said.
In a year that Hollywood celebrities like Charlie Sheen, who had a very public meltdown when leaving his hit TV series, and Kim Kardashian, for whom a quick marriage and tabloid headlines can mean a career, a bad image is tolerable -- even profitable. Bragman argues redemption might even be possible for someone like Lindsay Lohan, who was in and out of jail and courtrooms throughout 2011 after violating her probation.
"We would love Lohan to succeed. But the one thing I have learned about celebrities and trouble -- we can't want it more than they want it," Bragman said.
Casey Anthony's image problem runs much deeper than flavor-of-the-month celebrities or stars that commit petty crimes, says Bragman.
"No matter what the court of law found, there are tens of millions of people that believe she murdered her daughter," he says. "I believe that someone could come forward and say 'I did it!' -- and they'd still hate her."
With reporting by ABC News' Kaitlyn Folmer and Christina Ng.