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January 3, 2011

20

Judge Perry: Willful violation by Baez

by Andrea O'Connell

Every single day across the state of Florida, both criminal defense and prosecution attorneys abide by a very strict rule of reciprocal discovery.  The rules of discovery in criminal proceedings are very well known to most attorneys who practice in the state.  In short, the discovery rules require each side to inform the other in writing of any and all discovery that exists prior to trial.  This rule is to avoid what Judge Perry referred to as the common principle of “trial by ambush”.

Now, the Casey Anthony defense team won’t be the first to disobey this requirement; I would venture to say that in cities across the state of Florida, prosecutors have also inadvertently or willfully disobeyed this rule on occasion, as no case is perfect.  The troubling aspect of failure to abide by this rule is to run the risk of a verdict being overturned, which would require a retrial.

As you may recall, Judge Perry ordered the defense to produce expert witness discovery by a certain deadline date.  When the defense failed to comply and turn over sufficient detail to the prosecution, Judge Perry clarified the order for Jose Baez at a second hearing.  When Jose Baez failed to comply to the second court order, the court today concluded that the defense willfully violated its court order.

The prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, advised the court that the defense has a history of deliberately skirting deadlines, and not complying with discovery rules. To which Cheney Mason answered: The defense is doing its best against the State – with all its resources.  Mr. Mason opined that he and Mr. Baez are paying out of their own pockets for airfare and other incidentals.  Mr. Baez later sarcastically let the court know that his salary is about $3.00 per hour.

The fact of the matter is, this is the burden that ALL defense attorneys have to contend with!     If Mr. Mason and Mr. Baez cannot keep up with the costs and the demands this trial asks of them, it’s too bad and oh so sad, but that is life in the criminal justice system in Florida.

Jeffery Ashton was quite convincing and eloquent today.  He asked that the court sanction the defense to the extent that is personally hurtful.  He said, if the Judge does not do so, the defense will continue to obfuscate and delay, causing harm to Casey Anthony’s ability for adequate defense, and causing delay to the May trial date.  Mr. Ashton suggested that Jose Baez be charged $500 per day until such time as he produces the discovery of its expert witnesses.

Judge Perry wasted no time in issuing his ruling, and was clearly very prepared, having read the motions and the supporting documents from the State.

In short, the Judge found that the defense willfully violated a court order.  He also pointed out that it is highly unlikely that the defense team does not know what their experts’ opinions or findings are.

As to sanctions, the court decided that Jose Baez would pay the costs associated with the State having to file the motion for sanctions, including lawyer fees.  Jeff Ashton will determine an amount; submit it to the court who will announce the amount of the fine. Jose Baez will then have five days to appeal the amount he will have to pay the court.

Furthermore, the court ruled that the defense may not use or argue any expert opinion that is not included in written discovery or in a deposition at trial.  This means, if the defense chooses to “hide” a fact or an opinion from the prosecution, and then tries to bring the opinion before the jury at trial, it will be disallowed.

That alone is a very serious sanction for Jose Baez as his strategy is to conceal and hide information in the hopes of knocking the State off their game with the element of surprise. As you know, the rules of criminal procedure for the state of Florida do not allow for trial by surprise or ambush.

Mr. Baez had better resort to trying his case on its merit, of which we know there is little, and steer clear of trickery or contempt charges will be the next tool used by Judge Perry.

Judge Perry ordered the defense to submit its expert witness discovery within seven days.  Jose Baez asked for 30 days, the Judge said no, but allowed Jose Baez to submit by Wednesday an estimation of how long it will take to fulfill the discovery request.  The Judge appeared willing to concede a day or so, which was generous of him.

As for the additional motions – all 22 of them.  Most will not be heard until the State can provide an argument in answer to each motion.  The Judge is allowing the state 15 days to file their responses to the motions.

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20 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 3 2011

    Nicely done! Thanks for the recap – I was at work and trying to listen but for what ever reason I couldn’t hear a thing!

    Looks like our man Baez has some work to get to (finally)

    Reply
    • Jan 3 2011

      Oh yeah, he surely has his work cut out for him…. and Judge Perry will not stand for anymore nonsense – he was pretty disappointed today, no fooling around in that courtroom today! Baez had better get with the program pretty quickly or he’ll be facing contempt charges.

      Reply
  2. Venice
    Jan 3 2011

    Hi Andrea,
    Today went so wonderfully and I somewhat expected it to. 3 years later and $300,000 later. I guess that blood money bit them with karma!

    Reply
    • Jan 3 2011

      Oh yeah, Venice… that’s so true. When Baez said today that he’s making what amounts to $3.00 per hour, I thought of all the blood money, the thousands of dollars that they flitted away and now have nothing to show for it. They are just hopeless.

      I didn’t catch if they discussed a ruling on Roy Kronk… do you know, Venice?

      Reply
  3. Venice
    Jan 3 2011

    Baez never really gave JP a direct answer on that issue. He will be subject to cross examination, but his “prior bad acts” will not be allowed.

    Reply
    • Jan 3 2011

      Thanks Venice! I am so glad to hear that! I don’t want Roy Kronk to be taken advantage of – the poor guy. Well, he has a lawyer, so he should be able to resist any foul strategy the defense tries.

      Reply
  4. Weezie
    Jan 3 2011

    I thought the whole procedure today, just made a mockery of everything we hold dear. As far as I know, because I didn’t see the whole thing, nothing was resolved today! Just put forward to another date. This is so time consuming I am frightened to think how much the cost really is. Two things. I saw Marinade Dave, our loyal reporter, writing fevearishly in his notebook. Again, no acknowledgement from Casey to her Mom. No George. And who in the world was the last row, couple? A guy with a black haired mohawke and white beard, girlfriend I guess in tow. Any one know? I just can’t stand all the posturing. It actually reminds me of school children with a rather precotious teacher, smugly discipling his class. I hated today.

    Reply
    • Jan 3 2011

      Hey Weezie! I hear ya. Although I was thrilled with the sanctions and of Judge Perry’s attitude toward Baez, I was disappointed that so little else was actually resolved. But, then I remembered that these twenty two motions were mostly all recently filed and the state has to have time to answer before they can be argued and ruled on.

      But, I know what you mean….Though I LOVED seeing Dave there! It’s so great to see that! I noticed again that George was no where to be seen, but I didn’t notice the other people you’re talking about…. I’ll have to go back and look.

      One of these days I’m going to take a trip there to see a hearing… heck, it’s just three hours away! I’ll wave to you all… (just kidding!)

      Reply
  5. Sherry
    Jan 3 2011

    A very good hearing today! Baez wasn’t his usual smug self in court. I hope he finally “gets it”-that Judge Perry is serious about getting things done. I noticed a light note in court towards the end-that of his honor bringing up an inmate named Jackson telling the court he must be made a witness for the defense. Everyone chuckled at that knowing why inmates snitch. Inmate Jackson was the one who wrote about Orlando’s Finest being the murderer and that was because Casey stole from him. It was quite the tale he told. lol

    Reply
    • Jan 3 2011

      Hey Sherry! I must have missed that part about Inmate Jackson….that’s pretty interesting… How about when Cheney Mason was talking about the blogs and wondering about what LOL means!!! He thought LOL was “lots of luck”… LOL! I was surprised no one corrected him… maybe they didn’t want to admit they knew the blog and chat lingo!

      I honestly don’t think Baez will completely comply with this final order…. I think he’ll hold things back – take a chance at trial to get stuff in. Then when he can’t, maybe try to appeal on that basis. One never knows….desperate times call for desperate measures sometimes…. and they do appear desperate. I actually felt sorry for Cheney Mason… he was kind of bumbling about, I thought.

      Reply
      • Sherry
        Jan 3 2011

        Yeah, the judge brought up inmate Jackson’s letter to the court towards the end of the hearing. I’m sure Baez thinks his spit’s not wet so he will fluff off the sanctions. He’s got too big of an ego to let the threat of sanctions put a kink in his tail.

        Yeah, I LOL when I heard Mason say what lol meant. It was funny, too, to see him get all bent because of what someone said in a chat. It wasn’t because they could read what Casey wrote but because the defense can be so easily read.

      • Jan 3 2011

        Hey Sherry….Love the line “his spit’s not wet” … made me crack up! Well, I hope that Baez is cognizant of these sanctions and of the next step, which could mean contempt and possibly jail time. Judge Perry is not playing, he made that pretty clear today, I thought. But, still, he was fair and did not go as far as Ashton recommended. Judge Perry is clearly a Jurist who knows his case law, and I do feel he will be fair to Casey, in the end.

        Cheney mason was a good fall guy today… taking the slings and arrows of Baez’s outrageous fortune!

  6. Weezie
    Jan 3 2011

    Andrea; If you ever decide to go there and hook up with Dave you sure better warm us all. I will be taping it for posterity reasons. Poor Dave. He looked so alone but so much in command of his thoughts and what he was going to impart to his loyal readers tonight or tomorrow. I truly believe he will have enough data to write his take on the case. He sure deserves some kind of remuneration for his long time efforts. I have to admit I have really stepped back from writing as I used to on his blog. Guess when the snow hits I will try to be more with it. This Jan. 1st was a record in our history books for the highest temperature – 11 celcius, I think that’s about 60 farenheit. It was so foggy you could hardly see in front of you. I visited our family gravesite with my sibblings. We all had a lot of memory lane laughs and followed it up with a pub and more great sibling bonding.

    Thanks Andrea for always keeping us aprised of all court hearings.

    Reply
    • Jan 3 2011

      I sure will let you know! It will be great fun to meet Dave! I feel like I know him already with all the great recordings he’s done, and all the detailed and precise work he does with his reporting. I always look forward to reading his observations, too! I know what you mean about writing there – you run the risk of being attacked by those folks who stalk Dave and Snoopy. I surely don’t need that in my life, that’s for sure.

      How nice that you could spend time with family! I got to do that, too. My beautiful nieces were in town – they stayed with me, which was so wonderful, and the entire rest of the family had a grand time! It was a most memorable holiday for me, too.
      Talk at ya’ again soon!

      Reply
  7. Jan 3 2011

    andrea, good article! precise and concise. i do not recall judge perry being as agitated as he was today. he was on a roll shaking his leg and vigourously rubbing his hands. i became a little dizzy watching him give his pen an aerobic workout.lol
    i do not know who makes me laugh the most—-baeeeezzz or mumbles. i did enjoy listening to jeff and linda. what a contrast!

    Reply
  8. Jan 3 2011

    Hey Midget! Thanks so much…. LOL, I love how you characterize baeeeeeezzzzz! it gave me the giggles… And OMG, “mumbles” it’s very apt for him! Poor mumbles, he sure had a rough day. I agree that both Jeff and Linda are great to watch… they sure know they’re stuff – they both sure do a good job recalling case law, too. It’s pretty impressive to have a whole law lexicon sitting in your brain, like they do. The contrast is striking. that’s for sure.
    So good to hear from you!

    Reply
  9. Rob
    Jan 4 2011

    Hi Andrea, Thanks for your excellent post on the court hearing. Judge Perry is laying down the law. When I heard Baez say he was working for three dollars an hour, I thought it was three dollars too much. I wonder if Chaney Mason is sorry he hooked up with Baez? He was respected at one time. Perhaps, he should have retired on his past laurels.

    Reply
  10. Jan 4 2011

    Hey Rob, I wonder if Cheney Mason regrets it, too. But, he does seem pretty engaged… He better put his ears on and pay better attention to Baez’s bad behavior though, or he’ll find himself in contempt of court, too! I’d be pretty embarrassed if I were him. So much for his reputation now…

    Reply
  11. Venice
    Jan 5 2011

    Hi Andrea,
    Do you think Baez is ever going to stop blaming blogs and the public and get to work??? How embarassing for him to take this to trial, and Mason knows it.

    Reply
    • Jan 5 2011

      Hey Venice…. I think it’s just hilarious that he’s reading the blogs, but I feel a little badly at the terrible bashing we all are giving him, but then again (Libra that I am), I think, well he has made himself fodder for us, having twisted the truth so badly, and blamed innocent people like he has. Poor Roy Kronk, the guy does a good deed and the defense puts a bulls-eye on his forehead. It’s just unfair, his whole approach!

      Reply

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