Last week the Casey Anthony case brought a stunning exchange of emails between the State of Florida’s Assistant State Attorney, Jeff Aston, and Jose Baez. The subject of those emails had to do with the defense’s refusal to release information about their defense expert witnesses (which the court previously requested be released via discovery).
The court made it clear in an oral order from the bench to respond with the discovery. Baez did not follow the order. Jose Baez’s argument, as you may recall, was “just call me and I’ll give you the information (about his expert witnesses). When that didn’t work, he furnished Ashton via email, a paltry list of the names, addresses and phone numbers of the defense expert witnesses.
Of course this is beyond insufficient, and is a mockery of the court’s orders. And when Ashton advised Baez that his response does not follow the court’s order, Baez, ever the rogue, responded again via an email, this time listing the specialty of the witness, i.e. “botanist” along with a condescending statement to Ashton “This you know” or, “You know this” or, “Tell me you knew this.”
Jeffery Ashton knows this, of course. And he knows Baez was being recalcitrant in his actions before the court. So, last week, Ashton filed a motion asking the court for clarification. This motion resulted in yesterday’s hearing.
The result of yesterday’s hearing, you ask? Well, the court directed Jose Baez to furnish the expert witness details to the State, post haste! The hearing lasted all but fifteen minutes. (Justice can be swift!)
Judge Perry handed down a short but concisely nailed coffin for Baez! Oh it was poetic justice!
The Judge, none to thrilled, heard Mr. Baez exclaim: “this is nonsense,” in reference to the motion. Baez just couldn’t understand why they were even there, at the hearing.
And, by the way, Mr. Cheney sat right next to Baez, never saying a word. Now, Cheney is supposed to be a venerable, tenured Defense Attorney, why is he not counseling Mr. Baez? Or could it be that Baez is so arrogant that he refuses to listen? Why then is Cheney still putting up with this? Does Mr. Cheney not care about his reputation? I don’t get it.
Anyway, back to the hearing. Judge Perry quickly ended the hearing with an order that will be a great burden to the defense. Perry wants all the expert witnesses to submit their Curriculum vitae, topics and summaries and opinions of their investigations!
Well, my friends, Jose Baez (who may have thought he was so clever by not having his experts create reports), is now REQUIRED to have these experts write their opinions!
Oh, this is indeed rich.
Most of this material is due to be filed by December 23.
Judge Perry is asking the same of the State, but they have already complied with these orders therefore this will not be added work or a hardship to them.
Baez had little to say after this hearing. He usually entertains local news reporters at the courtroom steps, but he must have been feeling out of sorts because he had no comment. However, Baez did respond to an Orlando Sentinel reporter with the following:
Asked later whether the recent exchanges between the prosecution and defense suggest something about the tone the case is taking as the sides approach trial in May, Baez said, “I think it goes to the passion of each person’s commitment. We’re committed to Casey Anthony and her innocence and we’re committed to being able to demonstrate that in court.”
“We’re not going to roll over, not at all,” he added.
Roll over? Passion? No, no, no! We are talking about court orders – rules of discovery! Regular citizens get thrown in jail for refusing to follow court orders but Baez can do whatever he pleases and call it “passion.”
And, again “innocence” is the battle cry. Now, if Casey were indeed innocent, wouldn’t Mr. Baez be thrilled to hand over the reports of his expert witnesses?
My goodness, this would be a great opportunity to show the State of Florida how wrong they are! Why, if I was Baez and I knew my client was innocent, I’d hand-deliver my expert witness reports directly to Mr. Ashton. Heck, I’d even seal them with a kiss!
Innocent people don’t hide. And, real criminal defense lawyers don’t act like Baez does.