Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.
In addition, I am going to buy a hula hoop and twirl and swirl my middle inches right away!
A blogger named Edrn came up with this fabulous idea and she’s gotten a few of us really psyched about this hula Hope challenge.
So, if you’d like to hula hoop with us and hope to loose inches around the middle, that would be super! Some of us will share results, others may be too shy, but either way, we will motivate and cheer each other on.
Oh, and with regards to the daily post challenge…. I know it won’t be easy, but it will be fun and inspiring. To help me with this challenge, I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similar goals – we’ll help each other along the way.
The goal of this daily post challenge is to become a better writer, and daily practice does help. So, even if it’s a little paragraph, or a long article, I’m going for it!
Happy New Year once again! Cheers to all!
I am not one to party on New Years Eve, and usually am in bed while the new year sneaks in. Tonight I’m cooking for my folks – it will be an early dinner – because they’re cooking tomorrow to celebrate the New Year.
I have enjoyed this holiday more than most. My two grown nieces came to town to visit, and we had a ball together – they are beautiful and talented young women, one is an artist, the other, a writer.
It’s been so nice to have this week off, too. The university I work for closes during the final week of December, and the employees are so grateful!
I wish I could say that I accomplished a lot over this past week, but I really didn’t do too much. Well, I did do a lot of writing on the blog, which I enjoy so much, and wish I could do more of. And, I did watch quite a few movies (thanks to Netflix streaming movies through my Wii player!). And, I did clean house. And I did shop. And I did visit with friends and family…. and, well, I guess I did accomplish a lot after all!
As far as resolutions… well, I am not very good at keeping New Year resolutions, are you? However, the older I get, the more my waist grows, and grows and grows… So, a diet is part of my game plan for the new year. I also want to do more photography, perhaps try to do a little free-lance photography work, too. I want to keep writing, of course, and want to start a new blog dedicated to Training and Development, which is the work I do for a living.
But, my main goals for 2011 are to write as much as possible, loose about 50 pounds, and loose myself in photography. If I can accomplish this, I will be happy!
Oh, and for fun, I’d like to go to London for the vacation my friend Kathy and I have planned to do for a couple of years now. It will be nice to take a real vacation! Also, for fun, I need to be kinder and gentler to myself…. in the mad rush of life, I oftentimes forget me. Do you do that too?
So, I propose that 2011 will be our year for great happiness and prosperity! Yeah, I think that’s a good plan!
I have enjoyed chatting with everyone who posts and reads on my blog. What a great bunch of folks you are! I wish you so much happiness, prosperity, and joy in 2011 and beyond.
Big hugs to you all!
The Casey Anthony Defense Team has filed a flurry of motions to challenge more of the discovery from entering into evidence at trial.
The defense is doing what it should be doing and challenging what it deems the most damaging pieces of discovery. At some point there will be a hearing where all the evidence is laid out and both the State and the Defense stipulate (concur) or argue about what discovery will be entered as evidence into the trial.
In the meantime, we will see a flurry of motions asking that the Judge not only throw out the kitchen sink, but also the kitchen!
Late Thursday evening, WFTV reported that over 100 pages of motions were delivered to the court by the defense.
Some of the items included in the motion to exclude evidence are:
- The tattoo “Bella Vita” (Italian for Beautiful Life) that Casey got while her daughter was “missing”.
- Traces of chloroform – discovered in the trunk of Casey’s car.
- A stain in the trunk of a car that is reportedly in the shape of a small child in a fetus-like pose.
- The MySpace content from Cindy Anthony’s page where she wrote: “My Caylee is Missing,” and talked about how jealously took her granddaughter from her.
- Casey wrote a post on MySpace that said, “Everyone lies, everyone dies….life is never easy.”
Those of us following this case know that there’s an avalanche of evidence, and the above is only the tip of the iceberg.
When it rains, it snows. It will take a gargantuan snow plow to hide all the damaging evidence in this case. (You can bet the State won’t be snowed!)
Source: WFTV Defense Wants Casey’s MySpace Postings Tossed Out
Hear ye, hear ye, here comes yet another hastily written and sloppy motion from Baez, and Company.
The latest in a long string of recent motions entered by the defense, concerns the jail video taping of Casey Anthony as she learned that the body of a child was found near her parents home, in the woods off of Suburban Drive.
This short motion appears hastily created. There is no case law cited, and rather than listing the Honorable Belvin Perry as Judge, it lists the Honorable Stan Strickland. Oops!
In short, the motion claims that the video taping of Casey’s reaction to the media coverage, violates her sixth amendment rights.
However, the Sixth Amendment is broad and covers a lot of ground pertaining to the rights of a person charged in criminal cases.
The wording of the Sixth Amendment is as follows:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. ~ Amendment VI, The Constitution of the United States of America
Let’s set the stage and look at what happened and then analyze this from the standpoint of a defendant.
On December 11, 2008, when Roy Kronk successfully alerted the authorities of seeing skeletal remains in the woods, and when Yuri Mellich, Lead Detective on the case for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, determined that the remains could be Caylee Anthony, it was decided to monitor Casey Anthony’s reaction to what was found.
If what was found there in the woods was indeed Caylee Anthony, Casey’s reaction would confirm it.
So, OCSO set about to have the jail assist, and both police and jail employees conspired to video tape Casey as she watched the media coverage.
Tammi Unser, jail employee, escorted Casey to the medical area of the jail where the televisions and cameras were set up. Casey Anthony, while waiting in the lobby area of the medical unit, was able to see the local Orlando coverage of the discovery of the remains (of Caylee Anthony).
Casey’s reaction to the news reports was dramatically vivid in that she doubled over, and began to cry. And what was striking in this regard, when news broke much earlier in the investigation, that bones were found in the Blanchard Park area, Casey did not flinch, or show concern in the least. Why? Casey knew Caylee was not dumped anywhere in the vicinity of Blanchard Park.
The OSCO got the reaction they wanted, and of course Casey’s reaction is damaging to defense, as such they seek to exclude the video from entering evidence in the trial.
The nature of the defense motion is the claim that Casey was denied the assistance of counsel, and since she evoked her right to counsel early on, they claim this was a violation of her Sixth Amendment rights.
It very well could be.
Frankly, what law enforcement did in this instance does appear to circumvent Casey’s rights. Law enforcement did set her up to obtain a reaction, which they got. Furthermore, Baez claims that during the time Casey was viewing the news coverage, he was at the jail waiting to see Casey, but was denied access to her right away.
If this indeed is true, and Baez was waiting to see her, then I concur that this certainly seems to be a blatant violation of her rights. On the other hand, if the State can prove that Baez was not at the jail at the time Casey was viewing the news, then the video recording or her reaction may be fair game.
I say this in light of the fact that witnesses who work in jails or prisons do testify, and snitches testify, too. Therefore, logic tends to justify this scenario as not violating Sixth Amendment rights, since jail employees, snitches, and cell mates testify all the time in criminal prosecutions.
But, here’s the rub: When did Baez arrive at the jail? Was he really waiting to see Casey during the time they were monitoring her reaction? If Baez was made to wait while this scenario played out inside the jail, I would cry foul, too.
If however, jail records prove that Baez was no where in the vicinity of the jail during the time, wouldn’t it be fair game to observe the actions of a defendant in the confines of jail?
Sounds logical, but there’s no telling until the Honorable Judge Perry hears arguments.
It’s a mad, mad, mad world for Casey Anthony’s defense team.
I think they’d like to believe in miracles. They would like to believe there IS a Santa Claus, and they’d love to believe in Casey’s innocence.
This, my friends, sums up the world of Jose Baez and friends:
If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn’t be, and what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see? ~ Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Illustration by Sir James Tenniel
A new motion filed by the defense team late Tuesday evening in the case against Casey Anthony, is requesting that the “phantom” outline/image of residue on duct tape, in the shape of a heart, not be entered into evidence.
You may recall, that a heart sticker (pictured) was found near Caylee Anthony’s remains. Also found in Casey Anthony’s home, were sheets of heart stickers resembling the sticker found at the crime scene.
In his police report, Yuri Mellich concluded that it appeared that the duct tape over Caylee’s mouth and nose area at one time held a heart sticker.
Unfortunately, after the FBI tested the duct tape, any heart sticker residue that was there, was lost during testing. Furthermore, the FBI failed to photograph the evidence.
A terrible mistake, but one would think enough people saw the duct tape residue in the shape of a heart and could testify to it’s existence. Additionally, the OCSO photographed the residue on the heart sticker.
However, Baez is stating that the evidence is now “phantom” or non-existent and therefore must not come in to evidence at trial:
Law enforcement has been instrumental in manufacturing a story where there clearly was none. ~Jose Baez
The motion, written by Jose Baez, also states:
The alleged existence of this phantom image was only seen for a fleeting moment by two fingerprint examiners who did nothing to preserve it or even photograph it so it could be seen by others.
Baez is stating that the way the heart sticker was characterized in the media had no basis in fact. He further asserts that the public believes there was actual residue of a heart sticker, when in fact there was not.
However, now that the proof of the residue in the form of a heart is no longer visible, does Casey Anthony have a right to argue that it is not evidence against her? It will be up to Judge Perry. A hearing on this matter will be scheduled.
Something is wrong here. Something is terribly wrong and no one is doing anything to stop it.
Have we forgotten that Casey Anthony has her nose pressing against the glass of the death chamber?
We spend so much time lambasting Jose Baez – making fun of his incompetent antics in the courtroom, that we forget there is a human being who, as a result of his incompetence, is likely to pay the ultimate price.
Death is looming large. It is getting more and more certain as each day unfolds unto the next. Days are falling off the calendar so swiftly. It will be 2011 in a few days and the start of the Casey Anthony trial is a mere five months away. This means that the certain pronouncement of death is coming like a train that will not be derailed.
As I sit here writing this, I know I am powerless to do anything. I am writing words that few will see and even fewer will really care about. As I sit here I am envisioning Jose Baez as conductor of the certain death sentence for Casey Anthony. He is stoking that death engine like a conductor who is blinded by the thrill of the train’s speed.
Casey Anthony seems oblivious to the chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chugging of Jose Baez’s incompetence.
On her young and pimply face, she wears a school-girls crush on Jose Baez. She sits in that courtroom, vacant, seemingly without awareness of the fate that awaits her. She sits there, dazed, looking out of eyes that do not see the train that’s coming. We see her smiling, too. She’s foolish, this we know, but I can’t stand to see her being bamboozled so badly that she smiles at death.
Who will protect Casey Anthony from herself? Baez is not even qualified to try a death penalty case, and yet he is doing so! Aren’t there protections in the system to ensure this doesn’t happen?
Why are the people of Orlando and the State of Florida allowing this to happen? Do they hate Casey Anthony so much they will allow an incompetent defense, and pay for it too?
She is facing death, and most likely a retrial, if Jose Baez is left to his own devices.
Death Penalty cases are thrown out all the time when it’s determined that the defendant had ineffective counsel. But, it’s always after the fact. It is always post trial that death cases are retried to the cost of thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Death is expensive. However, I am not writing about the money. I am writing about the final judgment of death and how wrong the system is that allows it to happen so easily.
Doesn’t the State of Florida have the power to stop Jose Baez from continuing to make a mess of this case and serve death to his client?
Can no one intervene? Where are the watchdogs?
Is this happening in other courtrooms across Florida? Are defendants being represented by attorneys that are incompetent? What about the truly innocent who are lead to their death? We know that happens, but that’s a different topic for another time. This is about Casey Anthony who is not innocent but is being lead to her death like a horse is led to water.
It is not a fair system when a defendant assists in assuring they receive a penalty of death.
Why are we allowing this to happen? Is it because we despise the act Casey Anthony has committed? We care about justice for Caylee, that goes without saying. But something is wrong with this kind of justice.
We know Casey Anthony is vapid, unfeeling and blank. But, she sits between people in a courtroom who care not for her but for the fame her crime delivers. This in itself is wrong.
Death is different. It is final and something is wrong with a system that allows a defendant to unwittingly walk themselves to the their own death as if suicide were an answer.
I have no answers here. I have no answers, only questions. I hate the death penalty, though it is just for the John Wayne Gacy’s of the world – and other monsters like him.
People who read this are likely to think I’m a worry-wart because I’m putting the cart before the horse here. And it’s true, but I see death coming in this case; I see it and hear it chugging along just as sure as I see the sun in the sky.
And I don’t like it. I don’t like what I see in that Orlando courtroom.
An ocean of motions (six in all), by the defense team in the case against Casey Anthony, were recently entered into public record and will be heard in Judge Belvin Perry’s Orlando courtroom, on January 3, 2011.
The six motions detailed by the defense are an attempt to block the direct tackle the defense will take should the testimony surrounding these motions be heard by a jury. One cannot blame the defense for wanting to block these items as they are highly damaging to their case.
The six motions are itemized below and include a link to a copy of the motion:
Motion 1: This motion requests that any details regarding Casey Anthony’s sexual encounters with Tony Lazzaro be stricken.
Motion 2: This motion asks to exclude Casey Anthony’s sexual encounters with Anthony Rosciano, claiming they are prejudicial and should be stricken. This motion also claims that Yuri Mellich improperly questioned this witness.
Motion 3: The table knife found in the car Casey Anthony was driving, the defense claims, would be prejudicial if brought into evidence since it has no bearing on the charges in this case – was not a murder weapon, so to speak.
Motion 4: Lying or Stealing. The defense names George Anthony and other extended family members and requests that any mention of lying or stealing be stricken.
Motion 5: The defense wants all mention of the map that Casey was about to point to (at the request of her father) be stricken due to relevance.
Motion 6: The testimony of Brian Burner and any discussion of the shovel that Casey borrowed, the defense wants stricken.
Granted, it is a hefty task to go through and read all these motions. So I’ll save you the trouble and attempt to break them all down for you. Plus, I will provide my own lay-person opinion on why I believe most of these motions by the defense will be denied.
In this motion, the defense attacks Corporal Eric Edward’s questioning of Anthony (Tony) Lazzaro’s sexual encounters with Casey Anthony. The defense calls the line of questioning by Edwards: “scandalous and incompetent” and wants it stricken. The motion states that the sexual relationship between Casey Anthony and Tony Lazzarro is “utterly irrelevant to the case at hand.” Secondly, the defense argues that “any probative value is substantially outweighed by its potential prejudicial effect on the jury.”
Translation: This testimony, says the defense, does little to prove Casey Anthony killed her daughter, and such testimony could be a character assassination of Casey Anthony.
That is the defense’s argument. However, the relationship with Tony Lazzaro, sexual or otherwise, is relevant to the case as far as what Casey Anthony was doing during the 31 days her daughter was “missing.”
Like motion one, this motion seeks to exclude any information of a sexual nature of Anthony Rosciano’s relationship with Casey Anthony. The defense calls the questioning of the witness, Anthony Rosciano, by Detective Yuri Mellich and Sargent John Allen, “scandalous and incompetent and should not be allowed in any aspect of this case.”
Here I believe the defense may have a valid claim as the sexual relationship between Casey Anthony and Rosciano does not necessarily have any probative value as to the main charges. However, there are text messages between Rosciano and Casey that may have relevance. The text messages or emails may show how Casey Anthony handled Caylee’s care while she was dating. I seem to recall that the discussion with Rosciano as to what Casey would do with Caylee (while she is with Rosciano), could be indicative of a mother who had no regard of the welfare of her child.
I find it very interesting that the defense should ask to have the table knife found in Casey Anthony’s car excluded. Is there more evidence than we know about this knife? The defense notes in the motion that forensic testing found no link between the duct tape and the knife, and no DNA found on the knife. Apparently the State has not found a connection between the knife and the duct tape. The State released photos of the table knife and duct tape. See photos of knife / tape. Could the State still be testing this item?
To be honest, the request to exclude this item from the evidence in the case has me baffled. I would not be surprised if the State agrees and leaves the table knife out of evidence.
In this motion, the defense specifically names George Anthony and requests that any mention of lying or stealing be stricken. However, there are too many instances of lying and stealing during the 31 days that Caylee was “missing” and the defense is only asking that George Anthony and “other family members” discussions of lying and stealing be stricken.
This is a very vague motion that lacks specifics. There are an ocean of lies told by Casey Anthony, and revealed by her friends, family, and acquaintances. This motion, to be relevant, would need to be more specific, in my humble opinion. Therefore, the motion itself is a non-motion.
This motion is asking that any references to Casey Anthony nearly pointing on a map to indicate where she dumped Caylee, be stricken. You may recall that Texas EquuSearch president and founder, Tim Miller, was present when George Anthony nearly got Casey to indicate on a map where the body could be found but Cindy Anthony forcibly intervened and stopped the discussion. How the defense is characterizing this incident boils down to the following statement in the defense motion:
Based on Discovery Materials provided by the State, it is alleged that the Defendant was being questioned at home about Caylee and presented with a map. She was asked to mark where body would be found. She did not respond.
I tend to think that the State will have to have a good reason for bringing this testimony in. It could be unnecessarily prejudicial since there is no indication that Casey would have pointed to the area where Caylee was ultimately found. Granted, it is supposed that she would have pointed to the area had she not been prevented from doing so by Cindy Anthony. As such, I believe this scenario could be kept out of the trial, though the state likely has grounds to keep the testimony in.
This motion concerns the testimony of Brian Burner, the neighbor on Hope Spring Drive that Casey borrowed a shovel from. Like the other motions, the defense is arguing that this testimony has no bearing on the manner of the crime in this case and is therefore not relevant.
The defense puts its best foot forward in writing this motion and cites quite a bit of case law to support its argument.
The defense contends that there is no evidence linking the shovel to the crime and any connection made by the State to this effect would be prejudicial. In short, the motion boils down to this claim in the motion:
Similarly, whether or not Ms. Anthony borrowed a shovel from Mr. Burner does not in any way make the charged offenses more or less probable. There is no evidence that Ms. Anthony used or intended to use the borrowed shovel to facilitate the commission of the charged crimes, nor is there any assertion of such.
I tend to think the shovel will come in. The State will merely have to prove the fact that Casey Anthony was not living in the home at the time, and her excuse of “digging up a root” was merely a story to cover up the fact that she intended to bury Caylee’s body in the back yard. This testimony will hinge on whether the cadaver dogs will be used to show that a body was placed in the backyard of the Anthony home.
In truth, as I am writing this, I can see that the defense is simply doing their job and testing the admissibility of some of the most damaging evidence and testimony against Casey Anthony. The fact is, should the defense prevail with these motions, it will not matter to the case in chief. There is a great deal more evidence against Casey Anthony than is written in these six motions.
The State has a virtual plethora of circumstantial evidence which, taken in whole, is more than damning.
- No motion can disprove the fact that Caylee Anthony’s own mother never reported her missing. It was Casey Anthony’s mother, after 31 days, who reported the child missing.
- No motion can disprove the fact that Casey Anthony showed no alarm or concern about her missing child when she met with Law Enforcement, instead she lied about virtually everything having to do with the child’s whereabouts.
- No motion can disprove the pictures of Casey Anthony dancing and partying at Fusion while her child is missing.
- No motion can disprove that Casey Anthony got tattoo-ed with “the good life” blazoned on her back while her child is missing.
- No motion can disprove that the smell of decomposition was found in Casey Anthony’s car.
Finally, no motion can disprove the fact that Casey Anthony is ultimately the perpetrator of the murder of her own child.
Roy Kronk, a hero to so many for finding the whereabouts of Caylee Anthony’s final resting place, may be let off the hook – not pursued by the Casey Anthony Defense team as a patsy to create reasonable doubt. However, the much maligned defense attorney, Jose Baez, is saying, ‘whoa, not so fast‘ – as if he’s not done cooking Kronk like a turkey.
Jose Baez had until this week to file a motion regarding his intent to use Roy Kronk’s supposed “prior bad acts” to create reasonable doubt in the case against Casey Anthony. But, as of Christmas eve, there has been no sign of any motion suggesting Kronk will be treated as a red herring in this case. However, according to Channel 6 News, a local Orlando news station, Jose Baez is asserting that the defense is still focusing on Kronk, and any reports that they have given up on Kronk are false.
It must be noted that given Judge Perry’s insistence to hold fast to deadlines in this case, it is doubtful the Judge will entertain a hearing on the issue of Roy Kronk now that the deadline has passed. Though stranger things have happened, the Judge did seem resigned and did firmly insist that if Jose Baez wanted the Kronk matter heard, he had better file the motion for a hearing prior to December 23rd.
Given the fact that Jose Baez has troubles of his own as a result of the State of Florida requesting sanctions, it seems unlikely the defense will get its act together and persuade Judge Perry to hear a motion on this matter.
Furthermore, the defense recently filed several motions requesting to exclude witness testimony, but failed to make mention of Roy Kronk.
The recent motions filed by the Casey Anthony defense team request that the following topics be stricken from the case:
- Brian Burner’s testimony about Casey borrowing a shovel. (This will come in – no way will this be excluded.)
- A table knife found in Casey Anthony’s car. (Though a knife does not play a part in this case, its presence in Casey’s car may have significance.)
- Testimony in which Casey was asked to point to an area on a map as to where Caylee’s body may be found. (This should come into the case.)
- Any mention by the Anthony family that Casey has a history of lying. (This will come in, so will her stealing since she’s now a convicted felon.)
- Sexual relationships with Tony Lazzaro and Anthony Rusciano. (Casey’s history with Tony Lazzaro should definitely come in.)
The motions to exclude the above can be found at this link.
With all these items to discuss, it looks as if the month of January is going to be quite interesting indeed.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday, January 3, 2011. Should be a big day!
Oh, I was waiting for this to happen! As you may recall, in response to the second court order in the case against Casey Anthony, the defense recently released their version of discovery with regards to their expert witnesses.
As I mentioned previously in A Sophomoric Summary post, the defense answered the motion to provide expert witness testimony with a churlish, laughable and utterly contemptuous litany of what amounted to non-answers to the state.
And now, well Christmas has come early for Casey Anthony – though she may not realize it – because Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton is calling for sanctions and possible contempt charges against the defense for failing to follow the courts order and provide details of their expert witnesses!
I do not have the copy of the motion for sanctions written by Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton. My source for information is the Orlando Sentinel story released last evening. (I have been so busy with my family, I missed this story last night!)
The motion boils down to this, from Jeff Ashton:
in deliberate non-compliance with the court’s order as to certain of their listed experts and that sanctions to address the non-compliance are necessary.
Not only does Jeff Ashton call for sanctions, but he also uses a wonderfully harsh and professorial tone. Here he calls the defense’s response laughable:
The excuse provided is laughable and indicative of the deliberate attempt to flaunt the rules and intent of discovery and this court’s order.
It would do Jose Baez good to be thrown in jail for contempt charges. For Pete’s sakes, the court throws regular people in jail for refusing to follow court orders, I think it’s time for Baez to spend a night or two in the slammer, maybe then he’ll have some empathy for his damn clients?
I am sick of the blowhard Baez flaunting his cock-sure ego around the court like a rooster on steroids. He has a client facing the DEATH PENALTY and he plays games!
There should be laws against these kinds of attorneys who do whatever it takes to sleaze their way around the rules of criminal procedure in an effort to hide the fact that they have NO CASE!
Any fool can see what he’s doing. Baez has no case, he has no money, and instead of doing his best to defend his client, he plays with the media and issues innocent proclamations in an attempt to make news and taint any potential jurors that may hear this case.
Oh I am mad. I am fed up with this nonsense. And thank God, Jeff Ashton (who by the way, is my new hero) is fed up too.
So, what do these sanctions mean for the defense? Well, a hearing will be held on the matter and Judge Perry will decide whether to issue sanctions. You see, a court case follows strict rules and deadlines and when one side does not comply with the orders from the court, the other side can request they be punished. The punishment hurts the other side’s ability to present its case – something Baez does not need. The sanctions are determined by the Judge in the case, but are based on recommendations from the other side. Jeff Ashton is suggesting the following:
Ashton noted that Florida rules of criminal procedure allow the court to prevent parties from calling witnesses or introducing certain evidence if they fail to follow discovery rules. He also cites rules stating an attorney can be subject to “contempt proceedings” and costs by violating discovery rules. ~ Anthony Colarossi, Orlando Sentinel
As mentioned earlier, contempt proceedings would do a world of good here.
Better yet, how about appointing a Public Defender? The way Jose Baez has been performing lately in this case, he’s asking to be kicked to the curb.
Wear your pointed boots to this hearing, Judge Perry, please.
I wish you so much love and happiness this holiday season, and always. Happy New Year, too! Let’s dream BIG in 2011!
Very recently the Casey Anthony defense filed a motion requesting its list of penalty phase witness names be sealed. The reason for this request is simply the fear that these witnesses have of reprisal, stalking, harassment, etc., should their names be made public.
In today’s status hearing, the Orlando Sentinel argued before Judge Belvin Perry for release of the Casey Anthony Penalty Phase witness list. Basically, the Orlando Sentinel is asserting that the rights of the people to know (who the defense will call in penalty phase), trumps the rights of the Defendant in this case.
The Judge reserved ruling on this matter today. It is not known when Judge Perry will issue his ruling as he is out of the courtroom next week. Presumably he will release his ruling sometime this week.
The primary issue at stake here is the fact that the death penalty is the death penalty – it is different because of the presence of death as the final outcome. Therefore, the Judge has the power (I believe) to grant the defense motion.
The people who would testify to save Casey Anthony’s life would be her family. However, WFTV is reporting that the out of town relatives are not anxious to get involved, not anxious to be before the cameras. They are stating that if Casey is found guilty of murdering Caylee, they don’t want to be in front of the media.
I don’t understand their reasoning and I don’t want to stand in judgment of their decision, certainly, but I am perplexed by it. I would hope the relatives will, after all is said and done, change their minds and agree to do whatever it takes to save Casey from the ultimate penalty.
The specter of death in this case looms large. If Casey is found guilty, and I believe she will be, the penalty phase will commence. In this phase, the defense will have to argue against the five (5) aggravating factors that the State of Florida is charging.
The defense will have to find mitigating (justification) factors that would help to explain why Casey killed Caylee while attempting to engender sympathy for Casey.
I believe it is safe to assume that the defense will want to use people from Casey’s past who despite everything, still support her. Perhaps they will call people from her past that are against the death penalty, or people who are sympathetic to the family, and so on. The difficult aspect here, however, is the question of how the defense will posit George and Cindy Anthony.
Will the family’s dysfunction be part of the picture in the penalty phase? Will the defense want to expose these dysfunctional familial elements given the fact that George and Cindy would be testifying to save Casey? That would be a tough call.
Perhaps a safer alternative for the defense is to approach Casey’s history from the standpoint of mental illness. There are all kinds of discovery topics that chronicle Casey’s need for professional help. There are instances when friends urged Casey to get help, and Casey herself reportedly sought help, but she was allegedly dissuaded from doing so by her mother, Cindy.
When the death penalty is charged, there are also aggravating factors that pinpoint the specifics of the death penalty charge. The list below provides the five (5) aggravating factors that Casey Anthony is charged with.
Florida Statute 921.141(5) D, H I, L, and M.
D) The capital felony was committed while the defendant was engaged, or was an accomplice, in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any: robbery; sexual battery; aggravated child abuse; abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; arson; burglary; kidnapping; aircraft piracy; or unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.
H) The capital felony was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.
I) The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.
L) The victim of the capital felony was a person less than 12 years of age.
M) The victim of the capital felony was particularly vulnerable due to advanced age or disability, or because the defendant stood in a position of familial or custodial authority over the victim.
So, what’s in a name in this case? Merely the ability to save a life.
Although the meaning of hearsay seems, at first blush, simple enough, it is really quite confusing. There are exceptions to hearsay, making it a confounding concept in criminal cases. Anytime there are exceptions to a rule, confusion is bound to occur. Believe me, the hearsay exceptions are confusing! I would attempt to break the exceptions down for you, but it’s ultra confusing and mired in details that end up looking like a tangled web of words, words, words.
So… Let’s not go there!
But, because the Casey Anthony case is moving along to its finish line, this is a good time to try to define hearsay. Especially in lieu of all the discovery we have been privy to in the Casey Anthony case. By the way, it’s called “discovery” for a reason. All the material we have been privy to (thanks to the Floria Sunshine Law), is not evidence, rather it’s information that LE and the State have gathered to form the backbone and foundation of their theory about the case.
The information we have read and heard may never see the light of day, depending on its hearsay classification come trial time. (A good amount of the discovery will never see the light of day in the trial as a result of hearsay rules.)
Law enforcement collects hearsay as a matter of course. LE learns a great deal about a case via hearsay when they are building their concept of what happened. It helps them put the pieces of the puzzle together, and they are able to separate hearsay from evidence, though before trial it is all categorized as discovery in Florida.
For instance, the LE interview sessions with individuals in the Casey Anthony case are chock full of hearsay and information that is not usable because of hearsay laws. And when the State Attorney’s Office has the case, they have to comb through these interviews and other facts of the case from LE to find what is evidence versus what is hearsay.
By the same token, because Florida rules of discovery say that everything produced via work on a case is discoverable (a product of a case), it is thus required to be released to the public.
By the way, not every trial in Florida is under the lens of public scrutiny like the Casey Anthony case. Because this case, from day one, fascinated the public, the media outlets fought for the right of release of information via the Florida Sunshine Laws. Hence, we have the Casey Anthony case under the looking glass 24/7.
So. let’s start with a definition of hearsay, then we’ll look at a definition of the hearsay rule. Finally, I will try to define the hearsay rules through the lens of the Anthony case – the operative word here is “try”. If there are any lawyers out there who would care to correct me, I’d surely welcome the input!
Secondhand information that a witness only heard about from someone else and did not see or hear himself. Hearsay is not admitted in court because it’s not trustworthy, as well as because of various constitutional principles such as the right to confront one’s accusers, however, there are so many exceptions that often times hearsay is admitted more than excluded. Source: Lectlaw.com
Hearsay Rule Definition:
Definition – Noun
A rule barring the admission of hearsay as evidence. The hearsay rule is stated in Rule 802 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Hearsay is inadmissible as evidence because of the unavailability of cross-examination to test the accuracy of the statement. There are numerous exceptions to the rule, however, mainly for statements made under circumstances that assure reliability. Statements made spontaneously, for example, or as part of a business or medical record are inherently trustworthy and thus excepted from the rule. A statement need not be made orally for purposes of the hearsay rule. Written statements, gestures, and even motion pictures are included. Source: Lawyers.com
A declarant is a person who makes a statement. A “statement” is:
- An oral or written assertion; or
- Nonverbal conduct of a person if it is intended by the person as an assertion.
Hearsay is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Source: law.onecle.com
Testimony from a witness during a trial would not be hearsay unless the witness repeats something that someone else said (or wrote). Also, if a witness makes a statement that is introduced in trial to prove something other than the truth of something, it is not considered to be hearsay. According to Lectlaw.com, testimony can be given to illustrate the state of mind of the speaker of something. For example, if Cindy and Casey were fighting and Cindy called Casey “a murderess” and if I overheard Cindy making the statement, I could not testify to the “truth” of Casey being a murderess, but I could repeat the statement because it would illustrate Cindy’s anger, or state of mind, at the time she made the statement – to show that she was angry at Casey. This type of testimony will be especially helpful to the State of Florida since George and Cindy Anthony made so many contradicting statements. The State has a plethora of conflicting statements to use against the Anthony’s should they try to dissemble on the stand at trial.
Are you confused? Don’t worry, so am I!
Here’s another example:
If a witness makes a statement out of court, it could be presented at trial if it contradicts what he is saying in the trial when the out of court statement is used to create doubt on the witness’s credibility (rather than proving the truth of the matter at hand). So, let’s say Dr. Lee is testifying that it’s wrong to use one pair of gloves to collect different blood samples – that the collector of the blood should frequently change his or her gloves. Well, if Dr. Lee said just the opposite in another trial, and if it were pointed out to the jury, it would lower Dr. Lee’s credibility.
There are quite a number of exceptions to the hearsay rule, and I’ve not even scratched the surface here! But, I do hope this will help us in the future as the hearings happen with greater frequency, and the start of the trial commences.
First, I wanted to share with you a very telling segment from the Orlando Sheriff’s Office’s interview with River Cruz. (Video segment below.)
In this segment, River discusses the dynamics of Cindy and George’s relationship. She also discusses an argument about the $20,000 payment from Good Morning America that Cindy Anthony was supposed to get in advance of appearing on the show.
There is a very difficult and touching moment in this clip where River nearly breaks down and struggles to tell Detective Eric Edwards, and John Allen how George Anthony, crying, tells her that Caylee’s death was “an accident that snow-balled out of control.”
On other clips, River mentions that the Anthony’s never spoke about the case, or the search for Caylee in their home as they felt that Law Enforcement had their home bugged – wired for sound. As such, River and George never talked at the Anthony home.
It seems that George used River’s home as a refuge away from Cindy, who, according to River, often appeared sedated.
Regardless, I find that the Anthony’s were worried about LE “Bugs” completely shocking! Personally, I never wanted to believe that George or Cindy were really that ruthless or cunning or despicable.
If my niece were missing and if we were lucky enough to have the FBI helping our family to find the person culpable, God forbid, I can’t imagine being afraid of law enforcement during such a time! They would be allies and friends and we would look to them with reverence for caring about our child. I mean, that’s how anyone in this position would feel. Right?
But, not the Anthony’s. No, not the Anthony’s. From the time they realized they’d lost Caylee and they put the reality together in their broken minds that Casey was the one responsible, their actions became: Protect Casey. And then, the more the Anthony’s began to dissemble, it became: Protect us (Cindy and George) from culpability.
And George and Cindy, instead of going into seclusion to grieve, what do they do? They begin to blame LE for not working hard enough to find Caylee, who they know is deceased! They send the FBI and LE all over the country looking for Caylee when they knew she was gone. If that is not heartless, I do not know what is.
I have to tell you, I think the men and women in the Orlando Sheriff’s Office are incredible people. They are dedicated, passionate professionals who never, to this day, have lost sight of what is really important here: Justice for Caylee. I have listened to Eric Edwards, Yuri Mellich, John Allen, Appie Wells, and other fine investigators whose names I cannot recall, and I feel as if I know them. I think they are all wonderful men and women and I look forward to the day when justice is served and these fine people can go on to work on other missing children cases. God knows there are enough of these terrible cases out there.
On a separate note, there was an article in today’s Orlando Sentinel about the Orlando Public Defender’s Office’s clothing drive to assist indigent defendants. It appears that not only does Orlando have a fantastic State Attorney’s Office, but they have great people at their Public Defender’s Office, too.
It is a shame that Casey did not get a public defender to try her case. I know from personal experience that most public defenders are excellent attorney’s and they are guided and trained by dedicated attorneys in the Public Defender’s Office ranks. I know this because my brother was a public defender for a few years before he started his own criminal practice. Casey Anthony would not be in the mess she’s in now had a public defender been issued this case. Casey Anthony would not be staring at the death penalty through the barrel of a gun as she is now.
Every person, regardless of who they are – white, black; Hindu, Baptist, rich or poor – deserve to be innocent until proven guilty. So does Casey Anthony. Unfortunately, thanks to her hapless attorney who fans the flames of the Angel-Casey as if he were on a mountaintop blowing smoke signals that spell I-N-N-O-C-E-N-T, when we all know otherwise, is truly troubling. Attorney Baez, like the Anthony’s, needs to stop talking. He is making it worse for his client. His client is looking down the barrel of a gun that god forbid, is fired due to his ineptitude.
God help Casey Anthony and God Bless the fine women and men in public service in Orlando.
WARNING River uses harsh language when quoting George Anthony.
Today’s document release in the case against Casey Anthony included more video and audio than documents.
There were quite a number of new details regarding what River Cruz had to share with regards to George Anthony.
To say that today’s release of information was rather dramatic, is putting it mildly. A great deal of damning information was revealed. So much so that George Anthony’s attorney released the following statement with regards to the allegations of his affair with River Cruz:
1. At no time did George Anthony request $20,000 from Holloway/Cruz.
2. At no time did George Anthony become “more than friends” with Holloway/Cruz.
3. At no time did George Anthony attack his daughter during the time that she was released from jail on bond.
4. At no time did George Anthony grab Casey Anthony around the neck or throw her against a wall.
5. At no time did George Anthony confide any of his opinions or thoughts to Holloway/Cruz regarding this case.
Given what River had to say about the dynamics within the Anthony clan, it is fairly safe to assume that Law Enforcement (LE) may be focusing on George Anthony’s actions in this case.
Of course I have no way of knowing this, but one could safely glean from the tenor of the LE interviews, there is clear interest in what George Anthony said and did in the early days of the case. For instance, in the early days of the case, George was quite cooperative with LE. Then, after the bond hearing, he began to seriously dissemble and reneged on everything he’d claimed in the early days. You may recall that in his early discussions with LE and the FBI, he discussed the smell of decomposition in the Pontiac Sunfire driven by Casey, as well as his doubt that Casey was being truthful, and his initial skepticism about the existence of Zanny the Nanny, and more.
Now, of course, George is riding a horse of a different color and, is playing two sides against the middle. George was publicly supporting his daughter, but according to River he was also hiding a great deal about what he thought or knew about what happened to Caylee.
First of all, George’s motivations for covering for Casey boils down to her statement to LE: “He’s lost one girl (Caylee), and he doesn’t want to loose another (Casey). Is this his motivation to do or say what ever it takes to protect Casey?
River stated that George clearly believed that whatever happened to Caylee was an accident. According to River, he (George) said the baby’s death was an accident that spun out of control – that snowballed out of control.
George Anthony inferred to River that the death was an accident that Casey tried to cover it up until it got too big.
In the two River Cruz interviews with John Allen, Eric Edwards, and Yuri Mellich, the detectives are intent on finding out how George knew it was an “accident” and at one point River says she thought that maybe Casey confessed to George about “the accident”, but she’s clearly not sure.
Some of the topics that River discussed, and that I found particularly interesting, are:
- River began slowly to see that the Anthony’s were using people and that their search for Caylee was never in earnest.
- George never searched, the times he claimed he was searching or looking for work, he spent with River.
- George Anthony was a media hound. River describes having some of the local news reporters on his speed dial and would constantly call the media.
- The Anthony’s were motivated by money. During a Good Morning America interview in which they were going to earn $20,000, George allegedly called Cindy, furiously yelling at her for not getting the money upfront for the appearance on Good Morning America. “I told you to get the F*cking money first, ” River said she heard George exclaim over the phone.
- George led River to believe that he was destitute for money and needed help putting food on the table.
- George Anthony grabbed Casey around the neck, shook her, threw her against the wall. Cindy had to intervene and get George off of Casey.
- George once told River the home was paid off, but later claimed he was loosing his home and asked for $20,000 from River.
- Cindy was sedated a lot, and was not doing well. River would bring her flowers constantly.
- River gave George, in total, about $4,000, she says.
- During the search for Caylee, River would, on a daily basis, put $20 into the donation canister to help support the search for Caylee until she realized it was going to Kid Finders. After hearing this, she began to give the money directly to George.
- George told River that Casey made up Juliette Lewis.
- George told River he loved her. Text messages stated he needed her in his life.
- River believes that both Cindy and George used, in their depositions in the civil case, a description of River to describe Zanny the Nanny. (Curly hair that is straightened, perfect teeth, a tattoo down her arm, good build, a perfect 10, matches River.)
Needless to say, River Cruz’s remarks to LE paint a very sordid picture of George Anthony. It paints him, frankly, as lacking scruples, as desperate, and willing to say or do anything to deceive and save Casey.
Oh George! No wonder you’ve been hiding lately.