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excuses masquerading as a motion

Late today, Cheney Mason, Defense counsel in the Casey Anthony case, filed a lengthy response to request the court vacate the sanction against Jose Baez.  As you probably recall, the recent sanction ordered Mr. Baez to pay an amount in excess of $500 to the court by January 12, 2011, or file an appeal contesting the dollar amount of the sanction and civil contempt order.

The motion written by Mr. Mason reads like an attempt to back pedal and distort what occurred and led up to the sanction.  For instance, Mr. Mason asserts that originally, the court only asked for 1) subject matter, and 2) area of expertise of the expert witnesses, which he claims they provided to Mr. Ashton in an email (remember the emails in which Baez writes: THIS YOU KNOW?)!

Oh, yes.  The defense is claiming they did what was asked of them!  Hold on to your hats, there’s more…..

Mr. Mason concluded that the Defense indeed complied with the court order, because all the court asked for was “subject matter.”  Mason writes:

…the Defendant did provide to the State of Florida a complete list of experts, including their field of expertise and their contact addresses.  Additionally, the Defendant went further than providing the State with a list of experts and their subject matter by not only giving brief statements and reminding of prior communications and meetings, but invited the prosecution as follows: If you have a question about any particular witness, just ask and I will be more than happy to answer it.

Sorry, but I have to use caps here:  THIS IS ABSURD!

The court ordered Baez to submit the discovery, not talk about it.  Furthermore, this excuse does not comply with the rules of discovery!  A list of names and addresses and titles is NOT discovery!

Then, if that were not bad enough, Mason goes on to BLAME Mr. Ashton for confusing the matter!  Yes. It’s true.  Mason writes:

The prosecution (Mr. Ashton) responded on that same date asserting, The Court’s Order required you to reveal the substance of the testimony of the witness. Such representation is inaccurate. See Exhibit “B” which required the defense to ...include the subject matter as to what the experts will testify to and the area of expertise for each expert. See Exhibit “D” attached hereto.  Subsequently Mr. Ashton acknowledged (apparently) his own mistake by advising that the subject matter was what was ordered.  See Exhibit “E” attached hereto.

This is beyond trite. This is bordering on madness. Is the defense now saying that they did not comply with the court order because they were confused? They were confused because the court said “SUBJECT MATTER” and the State said “SUBSTANCE?”

Oh. Please.

Mr. Mason knows better than this, surely. The venerable Mr. Mason, with years of experience behind him!  Surely he understands that DISCOVERY DOES NOT INCLUDE NAME, ADDRESS, TITLE OF EXPERT!   (I am mad.)

I cannot for the life of me imagine that Judge Perry will accept this motion to appeal.  Actually, I would imagine this sad excuse for an appeal will make his blood boil!  I bet that Mr. Ashton, while reading this, will be  throwing his hands up in the air, exhaling with disbelief, too.

The motion goes on to make excuses for being late in filing its response.  You may recall, the Judge scolded Mr. Baez for submitting the required discovery on December 15, in the morning, when the deadline was really the day before, on December 14.

Well, there is an affidavit attached as an exhibit stating that the “300 pages” of discovery (the curriculum vitae of the experts) was late because of traffic snarls.  Mr. Baez’ employee got stuck in traffic and arrived at the Courthouse just after 5:00, but the Courthouse was closed.

Remember in high school when kids told the teacher, “Gosh, I wrote the paper but my dog ate it, so I’ll have it for you tomorrow.”

Same thing here. One long excuse masquerading as a motion in a court of law.

However, let me add that this (23 page) motion DOES provide information, too.  But, frankly, there are a lot of holes included with regards to some of the experts listed.

The defense revealed that Dr. Spitz, at the second autopsy, opened the skull and found that dirt had gathered in an area that would indicate that Caylee had been on her side, not upright as the State had found.  I cannot imagine this finding would have too much import on the big picture as the body surely was moved via the water in the area, not to mention the animal life in the area.

In the motion, the Defense lists quite a few of its expert witnesses, including Dr. Lee, and quite a few others. This information is provided near the end of the motion, which I have attached here.

It is going to be extremely interesting to see how Judge Perry and Jeff Ashton respond to this.  Granted, they will be pleased that the Defense DID provide information, unfortunately it appears to have quite a number of holes in it.

This is unfortunate for the Defense – they are only hurting themselves – because their experts will not be able to testify to information not released in discovery.


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