excited utterances and such
Not too much has happened in the Casey Anthony case of late.
Well, on second thought….there have been rulings and depositions; The defense was denied their motion to seal jail visitor logs; Casey took a bad elevator spill; the Defense is bringing the constitutionality of the death penalty up for argument again; and the State is arguing the admissibility of the Cindy and Casey Anthony 911 tapes.
Let’s break it down.
Sealing of the Jail Records
As predicted by most, the Anthony defense team was denied this motion. On June 8th, 2010, the court ruled that it would not allow the sealing of jail visitor logs. And rightly so. There is a separation of powers at stake and had the Judge ruled in favor of the defense, it would set precedence, allowing a trial judge to order another arm of government it has not control over to comply with its wishes.
The Florida Constitution insists that each branch of government not infringe on powers of another, hence the court could not legally go into those waters.
This, I believe, was the only ruling left still pending. The others were decided the same day as the most recent hearing. I wrote about those rulings earlier in the month, here.
The Constitutionality of the Death Penalty
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the defense is bringing up the Constitutionality of the death penalty in this case. In particular, they will argue three aspects of the aggravating circumstances used by the state as being invalid and unconstitutional.
In short, the defense will argue that there was no “capital felony” committed in connection with the murder. The state’s argument is that the murder was committed in conjunction with aggravated child abuse, a felony. If child abuse was committed with the murder, it weighs heavier toward the death penalty being more applicable.
The Defense calls this arbitrary and allows for a “capricious application of the death penalty.”
The second aggravating circumstance the state has highlighted is that the murder was especially heinous in that it was committed by a person charged with the care of a minor. The defense is arguing that this aggravator, taken on its face, is too narrow and vague for a jury to consider.
And thirdly, the defense is arguing the state should not be permitted to to include the “cold, calculated and premeditated” aggravator. The reasoning behind this argument for the defense (I believe) is the fact that a cause of death cannot be determined. The state will rest this argument on the duct tape as being the cruel and calculated weapon of murder in this case.
The 911 Tapes – Will They be Allowed In?
The state needs to use the three 911 calls made by Cindy Anthony on the day that she “found” Casey, July 15, 2008, and found Casey’s white Pontiac Sunfire, at Johnson’s Wrecker. (Caylee, as we know, was last seen by anyone on the 16th of June, 2008.)
The three calls made in succession, on July 15, are very critical to the case as they set up the background and the story surrounding the disappearance of Caylee. In addition, they highlight the many falsehoods sewn by Casey, and most importantly, they set up the existence of decomposition that Cindy smelled and spoke about on one of the calls:
I told you my daughter has been missing for a month. I just found her today but I can’t find my granddaughter. And she just admitted to me that she’s been trying to find her herself. There’s something wrong. I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.
Notice the phrase “…there’s been a dead body in the damn car.” That is when Cindy probably knew that Caylee was likely no longer alive. This is what the state will argue is an “excited utterance,” which means that in a moment of hyped-up adrenaline – during stressful moments – we will say things that we may not ordinarily say, but nonetheless are very much aligned with truth, in the moment.
Usually “excited utterances” are attributed to the defendant. However in this case the excited utterance is applied to Cindy, who is also the person closest to the defendant. When she (Cindy) is first made aware of the unthinkable, it is in that frame of mind that she speaks what she fears most: that there’s been a dead body in the car.
Casey Anthony speaks on the 911 call, too. But, Casey is calm and cool and very collected. She in no way resembles a person who has lost their only daughter. What Casey does not say is just as important as what she does say – if not more so.
The defense will argue the 911 calls are hearsay and should not come in. But, in this case, they are critical to set up the time-line – the series of events that lead up to the calls. Plus, the calls include the defendant, CaseyAnthony, as she can be clearly heard in the background and is heard speaking with one of the 911 dispatchers.
These tapes will come in – that’s my prediction.
Cindy and George on GMA Tommorow, Tuesday, June 15th
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the Anthony’s will be on GMA tomorrow.
Oh, a bad move. A very bad move. I cannot understand why they continue to put themselves out in the public. They are not sympathetic people anymore and, in my opinion, they hurt Casey each time they speak.
But, that’s just me.
Don’t forget to watch the hearing tomorrow!
Correction: A hearing is not scheduled today (6/15/10). Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.