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December 30, 2010


sixth amendment violation?

by Andrea O'Connell

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.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dec 30 2010

    Maybe I am recalling wrong, but wasn’t this already ruled on?

  2. Dec 30 2010

    Hi Kim, In a sense, yes. The judge ruled to keep the video out of public record. However, this is a new motion to suppress it coming in as evidence in the trial. LOL! It’s not easy to keep all of this straight!

  3. offthecuff
    Dec 31 2010

    Observing an inmate is more than fair game. It is required. That is why there is video. I suppose alleged criminals caught on surveillance could cry foul for being videotaped at Walmart or someplace.

    In this instance, Casey was intentionally set up. However, I consider this to be a smart investigative procedure, not unlike videotaping depositions or interviews. If anything, Baez should be complimenting the jail for being there right when Casey needed them. She received expert medical attention. Left on her own, she might have hyperventilated to death.

    If Baez wants to fight the video, all he has to do is come up with a low-fee “expert” who would state that Casey’s reaction to someone’s poor dead child does not assert personal guilt.

    • Dec 31 2010

      Hi offthecuff, I tend to agree with you. it was a smart investigative procedure and you raise some really good points which I am sure the State will use to argue the admissibility of the video into evidence.
      It is common place to have cameras everywhere in the jail. The video of Casey would be just like any other video the jail commonly records. But, what if it was a deliberate set up? If Baez was waiting to see her, and they did this, it seems unconstitutional to me. But, then again, I don’t know what rights a person held w/out bond has….


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