As expected, Judge Belvin Perry who is presiding over the Casey Anthony case, DENIED the Defense motion, written by Cheney Mason, requesting the court vacate the sanctions and the civil contempt charge against Jose Baez.
Surprise! There was never a finding of contempt! Cheney Mason made that part up!
Perhaps Mr. Mason just felt that since Jose Baez’s refusal to follow the Florida Rules of Discovery was so blatantly obvious, egregious and outrageous, that he assumed Baez’s actions rose to the level of contempt?
Now, this has been a bone of contention with me because I watched the film of that hearing three times to try to find where Judge Perry charged contempt because I didn’t think it was ever brought up in court. I was sure that the Court had not issued a finding of contempt, but I second-guessed myself since Cheney was in the courtroom, and he should know! He was arguing for Baez!! So, it stood to reason that he’d know if there were a contempt charge or not.
Nope. Not so much.
In today’s motion Judge Perry clearly points out that he told the defense they could argue the AMOUNT of the fine assessed against him. He also points out, that the record will reflect there was NO finding of contempt!
Judge Perry goes on to say:
Instead, counsel argues a determination of civil contempt is unnecessary to ensure compliance with the Court’s order regarding discovery. However, as the record will clearly reflect, the Court did not hold counsel in contempt.
The Trek to Nowhere
You may remember that Baez claimed that one of his employees, an attorney by the name of William Slabaough, got stuck in traffic which caused Baez’s court filing to be late. However, this “excuse” was never mentioned by anyone at the time of the hearing on the matter. It was only in Cheney’s motion to vacate that this came up.
Judge Perry addresses this situation as a footnote in his motion.
Is Judge Perry suggesting that something is not adding up here since this important fact was never brought up in court? I’d love to know what you think:
Counsel now details efforts to fax approximately 300 pages, which the Clerk’s office declined, as well as attorney William Slabaough’s trek through rush hour traffic to file these pages, only to reach the courthouse after closing time on the date the information was due. Counsel did not previously offer the information set forth in page six of the instant Motion for Reconsideration. Regardless, counsel was directed to provide “a statement of the specific subjects upon which the expert will testify and offer opinions; the substance of the facts to which the expert is expected to testify; and a summary of the expert’s opinions and the ground for each opinion.” Dropping 300 pages of documentation into the court file cannot reasonably be interpreted to comply with this direction.
In short, with his response to the Defense, Judge Perry makes it absolutely clear that Baez willfully violated the Courts very specific order.
I would be walking on eggshells about now if I were Baez.
I predict, if Baez continues to contemptuously ignore the Rules of Discovery, contempt charges will be in the picture. And that is not a pretty picture.