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march 2 & 3 hearing: what’s in and out

The State of Florida filed a motion today that included a witness list and an evidence schedule for the upcoming hearings (March 2 & 3), in the case against Casey Anthony.

In the motion, we also learned what evidence the State is going to ignore:

  • The State will not be using the video of Casey Anthony’s reaction to television news that the remains of a small child were found only a few blocks from her home.  I have always felt that this would be a slippery slope for the State because Law Enforcement and the Jail conspired to take Casey to the Mental Health area of the jail so she could see the news.  What the jail and Law Enforcement conspired to do was a direct violation of Casey’s rights.  And, Bill Sheaffer, legal analyst for WFTV, advised the State doesn’t need this evidence anyway, so why risk it.
  • The State will not attempt to use the (taped) conversations that Casey had with members of the Orange County Sherrif’s Office and the FBI on the day of her indictment (October, 2008).  Casey had invoked her right to counsel, and Jose Baez had been in the building and advised her not to talk about the case, so it would not have come in anyway.
  • Finally, the State advised they will not use the testimony of Maya Derkovic, one of Casey’s Jail pals, in the case in chief.  Maya’s stories were inconsistent, says Kathi Belich, of WFTV.  Maya told Kathi that Casey talked about using chloroform on Caylee, but Maya never mentioned this to Law Enforcement, Kathi said.  Bill Sheaffer, in his analysis, added that the State didn’t need Maya, she’s not reliable, so why risk it.

The following topics will be argued:

Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Statements (to Law Enforcement Officers) & Amended Motion to Suppress Statements.

  • Witnesses: Yuri Melich, John Allen, Appling Wells, Leonard Turtora, Ryan Eberlin, Reginald Hosey, Rendon Fletcher, Adriana Acevedo, and Cindy Anthony.
  • Exhibits: Defendant’s hand-written statement; Transcript & audio of defendant’s statement to Yuri Melich; Transcript & audio of defendant’s statement to Yuri Melich & John Allen; Photographs of Universal Studios.

Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Statements made to George, Cindy, Lee Anthony, Robyn Adams and Sylvia Hernandez

  • Witnesses: Yuri Melich, John Allen, Robyn Adams, Sylvia Hemandez, George Anthony, Cindy Anthony & Lee Anthony
  • Exhibits: Copies of OCJ Visitation DVDs; transcript of statements given by Robyn Adams; transcripts or video of statements made by George Anthony; CD of hand-written letters authored by defendant; phone calls Casey Anthony made from the Orange County Jail

State of Florida’s Motions in Limine

  • No witnesses or exhibits

Slate of Florida’s Motion to Strike Defendant’s Supplemental Witness List

  • No witnesses or exhibits

State of Florida’s Motion to Strike Defendant’s Motion to Exclude Unreliable Evidence Pursuant to Frye (Chloroform)

  • No witnesses or exhibits

State of Florida’s Motion to Strike Defendant’s Motion to Exclude Unreliable Evidence Pursuant to Frye (Plant or Root Growth)

  • No witnesses or exhibits

State of Florida ‘s Motion for Rule to Show Cause

  • No witnesses
  • Exhibits: Emails between counsel

The motion the State filed for Rule to Show Cause, is the contempt motion.  It remains to be seen if all of these motions can be argued, with witnesses and exhibits, in one day considering Judge Perry advised both sides that Court will end at 3:30 on March 2nd.  The contempt motion may have to wait until Thursday.

These hearings are going to be fascinating!  Unfortunately, I have to miss them;  unless a miracle happens and a magic project-fairy finishes all my work by tomorrow!

Oh, I do believe in miracles, I do believe in fairies!  I do, I do, I do believe!


murder on a sunday morning

If you don’t mind humoring me… I haven’t all of a sudden lost my mind or given allegiance to the Anthony defense team, I promise!  However, I want to share with you some interesting facts I have learned about Ann E. Finnell, attorney on the Casey Anthony defense team.  Perhaps you have already looked into her background and already know about her credentials?  Or, maybe you are like me and hadn’t looked her up or given her much thought.

I am incredibly impressed by what I have learned about her and her work.

A documentary about a case that Ann Finnell and her associate Pat McGuinness tried in 2000, won an Academy Award for best Featured Documentary in 2001.  And this was no ordinary case, I promise you.  This was a case in which a young man, all of 15 years old, was plucked off the street, in Jacksonville, Florida, for no other reason than walking down the street while black “walking while black.”  It is a terrible story of corrupt Jacksonville police taking this young man, and like sculptors, carving out false and tragically lackadaisical evidence – making it falsely fit him.

The young man’s name is Brenton Butler, a handsome and bright looking kid who spent, I believe, nearly 6 months in jail for a crime he did not commit.  Brenton was being charged as an adult in this case, and police thought they had their man – they literally beat a false confession out of the young man.

The crime was murder.  A couple, visiting from Georgia and stopping on their way to South Florida, were just leaving the Ramada Inn with coffee in hand.  As the couple emerged from their hotel room, a skinny and tall black man approached the woman to steal her purse.  The coffee she was holding sprayed the man.  It infuriated him and he shot her in the head, killing her.

The police arrived, and in their initial investigation of the scene, the victim’s husband told the cops the perpetrator was a skinny black man.

At about that time, Brenton Butler was walking on the sidewalk, on his way to fill out an application to work for the nearby Blockbuster video store. He never made it there.

The police, having just heard the victim’s husband say a skinny black man was responsible, when they saw Brenton, pounced.  They put Brenton in the back seat of their patrol car and asked the husband of the victim if he recognized Brenton.  “Yes, that’s him,” the man said.  The witness positively identified Brenton Butler as the gunman.  From that moment on, what Brenton Butler suffered in the hands of these corrupt and despicable law enforcement officers would make your skin crawl.

Two detectives interrogated Brenton for 12 hours, they beat him, they would not allow him to see his parents, or a lawyer, they denied him food, they denied him every one of his constitutional rights.  They were good ole boys enjoying themselves as they tortured a 15 year old child.

Anne Finnell and Pat McGuinness saved this child’s life. He was found not guilty.  And, soon afterward, Anne Finnell’s partner, Pat McGuinness, had a hand if finding the real killer.

Brenton Butler is a grown man now and has written a book about his experience called, “They Said it Was Murder.”

Ms. Finnell is currently in private practice, in Jacksonville, Florida.  She is still working as partner with Pat McGuinness, who was given great accolades for his work in the film.

Below is the first part of the film you can watch on your computer.   Here is the link to all of the twelve parts of the film. This is the best way to keep all the parts of the film within easy reach.

I remember seeing this film, but I had long forgotten it and the story and the characters.   I never recognized Ann Finnell as “the” wonderful lawyer in that film.

I  have always had a great deal of respect for Defense Attorneys; we would not have a free society without them.  That is why I get so incensed at the lack of scruples shown by Jose Baez.

I wonder how Ann Finnell can stomach the antics of Jose Baez, but then I think, maybe it’s because of Jose Baez that she took this case – hoping to save a young woman from the death penalty, as Baez, in my view, is walking Casey Anthony right down the path to the chair.  I can’t begin to know what her reasons are for taking this case.  I only know that when the time comes for the penalty phase, Casey will be in very capable hands.


the king’s speech speaks to me

The Academy Awards are tonight!

I hate to admit it, but I have not been in the movie-mode this year and have seen only 3 of the ten nominated films: Inception, The Kids Are All Right, and my favorite, The King’s Speech.

I enjoyed Inception to a certain degree, though I was surprised to see it among the nominees.  On the other hand, The Kids Are Alright is a wonderful film – a slice of life that is beautifully rendered.

I enjoy watching the awards, but rarely stay up to wait for the best picture award because I don’t want to be a zombie at work on Monday.   Tonight will be different – I’m staying up tonight!   It will be a nail biter because I hope, hope, hope that The King’s Speech earns the award for best picture.  I think it will.

Granted, I am a little prejudiced since I have not seen all the movies nominated, but the quality of The King’s Speech leaves it nonpareil in my eyes.  Not only is the acting divine, the story is captivating and it is made all the more intriguing because it closely follows the history of George VI ‘s succession to the throne.

He was “Bertie” to his family.  He was a shy but hot-tempered man with a speech impediment – he stammered.  What he went through to overcome the stammer, which so embarrassed him, took sheer will and painstaking work.  And the relationship that grows between Bertie and Lionel Logue, his speech therapist, is captured with tenderness, richness and great heart by the filmmakers.  … I won’t tell you more if you haven’t yet seen it!

It seems this was a good year for film-makers because there are 10 films are nominated.  They are:

Black Swan,
The Fighter,
The Kids Are All Right,
The King’s Speech,
127 Hours,
The Social Network,
Toy Story 3,
True Grit, and
Winter’s Bone.

In the event you are interested in the history of the reign of George VI, these two videos are fantastic documentaries.  Each one is 15 minutes long.  I enjoyed watching them this morning!  I hope you do, too.

Part One:

Part Two:


birds, bees & flowers

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It was a lovely Saturday – but very busy at my favorite place to hideaway – Butterfly World.  And, oh! the Hummingbirds were busy, too.  Well, maybe not too busy, because three of them stood so still, allowing me to click, click, click away at them as they perched so patiently.

At one point, one of the hummers, only as big as my thumb, got about four feet from me, balancing in mid air, his wings going 60 Mph!   It was the Rufuos Hummer that honored me with that little show.  I didn’t want to move a muscle for fear I’d startle him.  Then, before I even thought to bring my camera up to shoot him, he was gone!  But I found him again.  He perched on a tiny branch and just sat there so patiently while I shot. He was at a bit of a distance, but I have a good zoom lens.

I was able to capture the variety of colors these hummingbirds wear depending upon how the sun hits them.   The pigment in the feathers of a Hummingbird is unlike that of any other bird. The color we see in the hummer is a result of the pure pigment in their feathers.

So, depending upon how the sun hits the pigment, the color changes. You will be able to see this pretty clearly in the Rufuos hummer pictures – there are two bright orange dots on his breast that sometimes look black or green.

The hummingbirds you will see here are three different varieties:  The Rufuos (the smallest of all), The Broad-Tailed hummer (with the purplish bib), and finally, I got a shot of a bigger than normal hummer – I forgot to notice his variety, but I know he is referred to as a Giant hummer, even though he’s still tiny, at about 4 inches.

I also have a series of pictures of bees on a passion flower.  This flower is called: Passiflora Inspiration.

I don’t feel too much like writing about the Casey Anthony case today – I’m far too consumed in the wonders of these birds, bees, and flowers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


Casey and a perry mason moment?

There was a great deal of activity today in the case against Casey Anthony.

A hearing was held this morning in which two defense motions were discussed and then granted by Judge Perry.  One motion deals with payment for videoconferencing services during the trial.  This is to accommodate out of state expert witnesses and avoid the cost to the state of their airfare and lodging.  The other motion concerns $4500 for a mental health expert to assess Casey Anthony in the event of a penalty phase.

Later in the day, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the Judge will hear the contempt motion against Jose Baez on Wednesday, March 2nd.  This is when Baez must present arguments regarding why he should not be held in contempt.  On March 2nd, or after, the Judge will rule on the contempt issue.  If Baez is going to be held in contempt, a trial date will have to be scheduled.  The big question is, if Judge Perry grants the States motion for contempt, will he ensure that the contempt trial happens after the Anthony case concludes?  Given Judge Perry’s insistence to move the Anthony case forward and on schedule, perhaps he will delay his ruling.  We’ll find out next week!

The Pipitone Parade

I would also like to address the Pipitone story.  Last night I stated that I’d eat my words if Pipitone had a real story to tell – not just a fake build up with sensationalism.  I am not going to eat all of my words, as Pipitone certainly did have an interesting story to tell last night, and the second part continues this evening at 11:00.  Pipitone certainly deserves credit for what he’s uncovered.   However, I don’t know about you, but I object to the fanfare and the bravado with which the station framed the story.   I especially dislike them trying to make hay, build a fire, and blow smoke by suggesting some evidence at the crime scene was staged.  Pipitone will be discussing the “staged evidence” aspect tonight.

The Mystery Depositions

Somehow Tony Pipitone got a hold of depositions that have not been released to the public.  Last night his report centered around Dr. Jan Garavaglia’s (Dr. G.) depo with the state and defense, taken in September of 2010.  Pipitone revealed some interesting aspects of the testimony, and suggested that the defense could have theories to challenge the State’s claim that Casey Anthony murdered Caylee.  And it all revolves around Cheney Mason questioning Dr. G. about the manner of death, and would Dr. G. be able to determine if Caylee drowned.  Cheney asks, “Suppose this child drowned in the family swimming pool?”  Dr. G gave Mr. Mason an answer, but it wasn’t pretty.  She said,

We get many cases like that where people are drowned and they always report them because they want them to survive.  There’s a chance that you could resuscitate that person.

Later Mr. Mason asks, “Is there any evidence that tells you that this child did not drown?”  And Dr. G hands Mr. Cheney a response that must have made him wish he’s never asked the question!  Dr. G said,

Again, based on 20 years of being a medical examiner, based on seeing many, many drownings, it’s the circumstances of death that are most disturbing in this case.  I have never seen a drowning, nor do I see reason why a drowning (victim) would have duct tape on the lower half of the face. I would say that is evidence itself that there’s no indication that this child would drown and there’s no reason why a child that’s drowned is put in a plastic bag and dumped on the side of the road.

BRAVO Dr. G! In another exchange between Mr. Mason and Dr. G., Mr. Mason asks about what constitutes homicide in this case.

Mr. Mason: You just don’t know how it’s a homicide?
Dr. G:
Correct, based on the circumstances.
Mr. Mason:
And the circumstances are what you have been told by the detective or other law enforcement people?
Dr. G
: No. The circumstances are that a child, an … almost 3-year-old child is found in a plastic bag, in a laundry bag, dumped in a field to rot with duct tape in the vicinity of the lower mandible,  or jaw.

Then Pipitone’s story discusses the question of suffocation.  It’s a terrible thought, so I’ll leave it right there.

Could Casey Testify?

The questions by Mr. Mason concerning drowning are curious.  Is he already thinking of the Penalty Phase of the trial – will Casey take the stand in the penalty phase to say Caylee’s death was an accident?  If so, she’d have to take the stand in the case in chief.  If the defense is planning to use drowning and the theory that, after Caylee drowned, Casey got scared and tried to make the baby’s death look like a kidnapping, that’s all well and good, but Casey would have to testify to that.

Is the defense actually entertaining the idea that Casey will take the stand???  I cannot see how Casey could survive the blistering questions from either Ashton or Burdick.  And furthermore, if a defense attorney knows a client is guilty, they are prohibited from putting their client on the stand. Can the defense really believe that Casey is innocent?  That is not possible – there is not a chance of that.  However, if Casey never told the defense she did it, if she continues to proclaim her innocence, they CAN put her on the stand.

The idea of Casey Anthony actually taking the stand is an intriguing one, though I’d always dismissed the chance of that occurring since it’s so obvious that she’d get up there and blatantly lie.

If she were to take the stand, maybe there would be a “Perry Mason” moment in which Casey, being hammered and battered by the State, finally gives in and admits to the murder!!  Everyone in the courtroom would gasp, Cindy Anthony would wail, George Anthony would faint, and Baez would scream OBJECTION! while Judge Perry furiously bangs his gavel, yelling ORDER IN THIS COURT! ORDER IN THIS COURT, I SAY!  And then, lighting hits the courtroom and the lights go out, and the video stream dies.  The media rushes out to be the first to report what’s just happened….. In the melee, Baez is able to run to Casey, he scoops her up and into his arms, they share a quick kiss before he rushes her to his car, and off they go – never to be seen or heard from again.

Now, that would be something!

If you are interested in seeing the video of the hearing this morning, it is posted on the WFTV‘s website.  And, Pipitone’s story is located here.


news at 11:00?

We had nearly an entire day of no news in the case against Casey Anthony!  Up until 5:00 p.m., there was nary a speck of news – no motions, statements, or documents released.

However, it’s turning out to be a newsy day for Tony Pipitone of the Local 6 television station in Orlando.

Tony Pipitone, breathless and joyful to have the exclusive on a story, says there’s big news and he’s got the exclusive on it, but we have to wait until 11:00 tonight to get it.

What’s the news, you ask?  Oh, sorry… we have to wait because Pipitone is busy “pouring over the information”.  Oh, but it’s big news!  It’s “exclusive” to Channel 6, by golly.

I smell a rush for ratings.  I hear sensationalism.  I’ll eat my words if I’m wrong, but experience tells me that when a news group crows about a BIG story but holds it back for hours, they rarely deliver the goods.

When a story is really big, most news groups want to get the information out there post haste. Not so in this instance, as the website story tells us:

Pipitone is still poring over the information, which centers on what is being said and done behind closed doors in the case against Anthony, and will offer his full report at 11 p.m. Thursday.

Things said and done behind closed doors?   Secret stuff?  Pouring over information infers that he has gathered a great deal of information, so much information that he needs until 11:00 to fully grasp it all.

Pipitone was on the news at 5:00 attempting to titillate and tease us about the information he’s got.  Will Pipitone offer us facts, or idealizations?  Why the tease during the 5:00 news hour?


My Smell Test

Who revealed the information that Pipitone is pouring over?   There’s the rub – Pipitone does not say – he doesn’t even suggest that someone close to the Caylee Anthony investigation has shared information.  However, he is suggesting that there’s a lot of story here because it’s taking him until 11:00 to pour over everything.  The news report claims:

Pipitone’s report will reveal details about the events of December 2008 and the discovery of skeletonized remains later found to be Caylee Anthony.

…some of the information reinforces the state’s contention that Caylee’s death was a homicide, but other portions of the information raise questions about some alternative theories and the specter of some evidence being staged.

This is a very bold statement. The sentence about “staging” is not connected to the “skeletonized remains” sentence; but nonetheless infers that “alternative theories” suggest staging of evidence. Is Pipitone suggesting foul play by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office?   If that is truly what his story will suggest, it is no doubt a defense team tactic.

The statement about “reinforcing the State’s claim that Caylee’s death was a homicide”  is odd.  Why is it necessary to reinforce a homicide?  It’s either a homicide or it isn’t, reinforcing it won’t change it or make it worse than a homicide.

What makes this story suspect is we’re not told where Pipitone’s information comes from.  Where it comes from will tell us a great deal about whether it’s reliable.  Someone could have given Pipitone a lot of “information to pour over”, but who is that someone?  That very critical piece of information is missing.  The website article states:

We have some information that hasn’t become public about what both sides in the case are asking when they’re questioning witnesses.

Information that has not become public?  What both sides are asking when questioning witnesses – meaning deposition questions?

I smell a ratings ploy – a story that will have many in Orlando tuned into their station at 11:00 when they’d otherwise be in bed!

We’re all news hounds about this case – we want to know everything!  But, we want the facts, sources for information, and we don’t like to be teased, right?


Will you watch Pipitone at 11:00?

Here’s the info:

Now for some real news

As I was writing this story, WESH announced there will be a hearing tomorrow at 8:45 a.m.

Also, WFTV wrote a correction to their story about the reason that Jose Baez is being investigated by the Florida Bar Association. A spokesperson from the Florida Bar contacted WFTV saying the grievance filed against Jose Baez is not about misrepresenting facts to Judge Perry.  The complaint is related to “ethics or misrepresentation” but would not elaborate or reveal who filed the complaint.


going to shy-town!

This is a post written by CptKD.  A frequent visitor to Only Dreamin’.  The post is a fantasy (even less true than a dream), but the details about the convention are real. Enjoy, Andrea

There’s a Forensic Science Convention coming up and my boss is going to attend.  The conference is: The American Academy of Forensic Sciences Convention.  Here’s the website:  AAFS 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting, The dates are February 21 to 26. Of course, it falls to me to make the arrangements.

Let’s see, the fee to attend as a non-member is $495
Or, he could be a “daily registrant”, that cost is $150 each day.
His flight out of Orlando, landing at O’Hare in Chicago, in addition to a special passcode organized between the AAFS and UNITED AIRLINES provides a discounted rate to those attending the AAFS Seminar.  This applies to “Business Class” only. Economy seats are a straight up fee.

If I book him on business class for this convention, it will cost  $3,145
But, if he flies “Economy” – it’s going to be $1,241. Economy is the way to go – hope he won’t mind.

The AAFS has organized lodging with the HYATT, where the Convention is actually being held.  He’ll need Single Occupancy and so, he’ll be paying $169 per night at the Hyatt.

He only needs to book for five days, and so his final cost for lodging will end up being around $845.  (Heck, at that price they better give him breakfast – and he sure can eat!)

About transportation?  The AAFS has organized a Shuttle run with O’Hare Airport’s Shuttle System, and the Hyatt.  He’ll get a ride to the Hotel, and well, he’ll be staying right where the Convention is being held… So, should I rent him a car?  Nah!  Everything IS within walking distance.
So far this is costing:
$495 AAFS Fee
$1,241 Air Fare
$845 Lodging
$2,581.00 Total to get him there and housed at the AAFS Convention

Now, he’ll definitely need to eat! Other than breakfast, He’ll want to fill this face! LOL!   And factor in a few dollars to pay for someone’s dinner (i.e. an expert or two).
I know he wants to get a decent EXPERT (to agree with what he wants them to agree with and testify to it, too).  So, yes, he’ll need to shovel some bull, and pay for the expert’s cooked cow! I think $400 bucks should get him through the week.

So now the bill is:
$2,581.00  Total cost of actual trip
$400.00 FOOD!

$2,981.00  Total cost of trip, lodging and FOOD!

Oh no! I forgot! He’ll need a ride to the Airport.  I’ll ask Cheney.  Jose will need to put gas in Cheney’s car, and give him a few bucks to park.

$20 for gas.
$20 for parking .

I know he’ll want to have his morning coffee, and muffin for the ride, and so….
$3,021Total Expenses
$4.00 Snacks

$3,025  GRAND TOTAL!

News Flash!

ORLANDO, Fla. — Judge Belvin Perry approved more taxpayer money for transcripts for the Defense –  Thursday, February 17, 2011 – to the tune of approximately $3,025.



the meaning of contempt

Speaking tonight to a Florida Criminal Defense attorney, I learned much more about Contempt of Court charges.  It is a very serious matter. Jose Baez could be faced with fines and/or jail, if Judge Perry finds cause for contempt.

Now that the State has filed its motion of contempt, the next step in this process will occur via a ruling motion from the Judge to Mr. Baez that shows cause.  Or, Judge Perry may want to hear from Mr. Baez before filing a ruling.

However, Jose Baez should answer the State’s motion with his own motion to strike before the Judge moves on the State’s request.

When an attorney is held in contempt, they have a right to an attorney and a trial.  Contempt of Court is a criminal proceeding.

The attorney I spoke with told me that Mr. Baez’s’ claim as to not understanding the Court’s directions is in fact, a viable defense against contempt charges. (This surprised me – I asked this question three times, just to be sure I heard it correctly!)

There are two kinds of contempt charges: Indirect and Direct.

Jose Baez is charged with indirect contempt, which means the conduct occurred outside of the courtroom.

Direct contempt means the lawyer insulted the Court, argued with the Judge, or disrupted the proceedings.

With regards to confusion, or a lawyer not understanding.  It was explained to me that confusion can happen on either side of the aisle, but generally lawyers do not wait to clarify issues.  When a case is confusing with so many witnesses, things get overlooked, or deadlines are missed. As pointed out earlier, Mr. Baez’s’ claim of confusion will be his defense if he’s charged.

I asked what kind of punishments generally happen with contempt charges.  He said, “Suspension of the license, jail time, fines, requiring the lawyer to take remedial law classes, or the Bar can intervene and apply sanctions.  It really depends on all the factors at play in the contempt case”, he said.  Indirect contempt is usually filed by the opposing attorney, as in this case, and usually occurs when rules that would benefit the opposing party, are broken – such as in this case, deadlines being missed are a burden on the State of Florida.

Another question I asked,  could Judge Perry remove Baez from the case?  “It is possible, but I’ve never heard of it being done”, he said.   He told me that he has heard of a Judge appointing a supervising attorney – that would be a helpful option in the Casey Anthony case, I told him.  He agreed!

What generally happens when the Court has issue with a lawyer, the Court holds a Nelson Inquiry (Judge Strickland did this), which means the Judge asks the defendant if they would like to continue with his or her attorney and are they satisfied with their representation.  If the client wants to continue with their counsel, the Judge will respect that right.

Nelson Inquiries are usually a result of a client saying they want a new lawyer – the judge will question the lawyer as to what work they have done on the case (motions, depos, discovery, etc.) if the Judge finds that the Defense lawyer is doing his job for the client, he will deny the request for new council.

It was a very interesting discussion!  I’m even more anxious to know what the outcome will be.


show cause or else be in contempt

Today, in the case against Casey Anthony, Prosecutor Jeff Ashton filed a motion asking that Jose Baez show cause for why he should NOT be held in contempt of court for failing to submit documentation to the State and to the Court with regards to the upcoming Frye hearings.

Let’s start at the beginning of this fiasco.  As you know, during a February 7th court hearing, and memorialized in this order from the Judge, the Defense was given deadlines to submit expert witness reports, AND they were told to submit to the Court and the State a motion that specifies what aspect of the science in the Frye hearings they will object to, i.e. challenge.

Jose Baez had previously submitted a rambling motion with regards to the exclusion of chloroform as well as submitting a motion requesting the exclusion of decomposition odor. The Defense motions, says Jeff Ashton, are too vague and non specific as to what scientific evidence Baez wants to challenge.

The chloroform and the subject of decomposition odor are only two of the Frye items to be heard March 23, 24, and 25.

The Court ordered that the Defense submit what they intended to object to in the Frye hearings.  That deadline was February 17, 2011, and of course the Defense filed nothing.

Jeff Ashton, in his Motion for Rule to Show Cause points out that the State is hampered in its work as a result of the Defense not complying with court orders/procedures.  Therefore, the State requests that Jose Baez show cause as to why he should not be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with the Court ordered deadline of February 17th.

It is difficult to fathom what is going on here.  This is a very simple and straight forward Court order. As Jeff Ashton wrote, the Court’s order uses “clear and unambiguous language”.

Is Jose Baez ignoring this order and claiming to not understand it because he wants to fall back on his old trick of blind-siding his opponent in court?  Or, is this a situation where Mr. Baez is so out of his league with regards to the science, or with regards to understanding Frye, that he is incapable of knowing what to object to and how to object?

Will the Judge charge Baez with contempt for being too inexperienced to understand what he’s supposed to do?  Will ignorance be the cause?  Will Baez or Mason literally stand up before the court and say they do not understand?

I am not sure what to think at this point, though I tend to think that it is simply ignorance at play here and it is incredibly sad.  A life is on the line in this case.

When Baez is asked by Ashton when and if he filed his response, Baez seemed confused and didn’t understand what he was supposed to do – as if he’s in college and doesn’t understand or know how to do his homework.

After his discussion with Ashton, in which Ashton attempted to clarify the order, Baez went ahead and sent an email in which he throws Mr. Mason under the same bus that’s running over him.   Baez suggests in the email that Mr. Mason – the supposed venerable attorney – is also confused.  Perhaps Baez believes that if Mason is also confused it will lessen the impact?

Baez writes to Judge Perry’s Judicial Assistant the following email:

We are a bit confused.  Mr. Ashton just asked me about my objections to Frye.  When I read order from the status hearing.  I understood it to mean that if we were objecting to anything not in our motion that it should be in writing, that was also my understanding as to what was discussed at the status hearing.  I have also discussed the matter with Mr. Mason and he is just as confused if not more.  Our objections are clearly laid out in our motions.  If I had any other objections I would raise them after reading the State’s response but they have not filed one yet.  If the Court is requesting that we do something additional we would like to be heard in chambers to clear up the matter. Otherwise I think the logical choice would be to wait until the State files their response, so that we can be even more specific as to the issues to be heard.

But, the State HAS filed its objections to the Defense’s motions!  The are out there on the Ninth Circuit Court of Florida website as clear as day!  If a non-lawyer blogger can figure this out, surely Mr. Baez and Mr. Mason can, too.

Could it be that the scientific evidence is too far over the heads of Mr. Baez and Mason?  If so, how in the world do they intend to try this case? Is it possible they do not understand the scientific evidence and therefore do not know what to object to or how to object?   Are they so far behind in their preparation of this case that they have no understanding of what scientific evidence or testimony will be presented?  How in the world can this happen?

Do you see the pattern evolving here? Is the Defense setting its sights on a mistrial?  Sometimes after a mistrial, the defendant is able to be bonded out.  I wonder if this is what they’re up to?

This simply blows my mind.


a lion diversion

Now for a total departure from the Casey Anthony case…. I found this wonderful video of Lions in the wild with a hilarious narration.   The cubs are so cute!   The male Lion is an amazing creature… I think you’ll enjoy this adventure in the wild with the Lions.


throwing a hail mary pass

The admissibility of the Universal Studios interview between the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Detectives, Yuri Melich, John Allen, Appie Wells and Casey Anthony, will be argued  during a March 2, 2011 hearing.

Defense counsel, Mr. Cheney Mason, filed a motion to suppress Casey Anthony’s statements.  He asserts that Casey Anthony was effectively in the custody of the police during the time she gave the statements, was not read her Miranda rights, and therefore her constitutional rights were violated. Mr. Mason believes that all statements to the police should be stricken from the trial.

This Defense motion to suppress has been irking me ever since the day it was filed.  Although intellectually I know that the Universal Studio interview and the statement taken by Yuri Melich in the early morning on the 16th, are coming in, it’s never a sure bet until the arguments are heard and the Judge decides.  (I would think that the recording of Casey Anthony at the Police station on the day of her indictment will be kept out of the trial.)

Yesterday, I took the time to listen, for the umpteenth time, to the interview at Universal Studios.  There is no doubt Casey Anthony was speaking willingly and was not coerced. There is no suggestion that Casey was uncomfortable, or there unwillingly.  On the contrary, Casey Anthony agreed she was there willingly to “help” find Caylee:

John Allen:  You’re here willingly, right?

Casey Anthony: Uh-huh. (Affirmative)

JA: You’re here ’cause you want, you’re here to try to help, right?

CA: Oh absolutely.

JA: You’re whole reason for talking to us is, is to try to help, right?

CA: Uh-huh. (Affirmative)

JA: Nobody’s forced you to talk to us, right?

CA: No.

JA: You, you want us, you want us to…. you’re here because you called, you want us to help find your daughter, right?

CA: Uh-huh. (Affirmative)

JA: Now let me, let me ask you something.  I want you to put yourself in, put yourself in some….put yourself in my shoes for a minute okay.  Since you’ve talked to him (meaning Yuri) this morning. In an attempt to try and help find your daughter, you’ve given him bad addresses okay.

CA: Uh-huh. (Affirmative)

JA: You drove me all the way out here. We walked from the gate back here all the way to your office, right?

CA: Uh-huh. (Affirmative)

JA: Okay. The the, to an office that you don’t have. We got all the way to the building into the hallway out here before you finally says, well I really don’t have an office here. But… we were walking to your office, right?

CA: Uh-huh. (Affirmative)

JA: Okay so does any of this make sense to you?

Does this sound like someone being held against their will?  Is it the Detectives’ fault that Casey Anthony made it worse for herself with everything she said?

At age 22, Casey Anthony was considered an adult.  If she were a juvenile, then Cheney Mason might have a reason to file his motion.  What Cheney Mason seems to be forgetting is that on that first day of Police intervention, July 16th, there were no discussions about murder, it was all about finding a missing child.  (Although after having reviewed everything the Detectives must have suspected Caylee was deceased.)

The Detectives were focused on finding Caylee, and Casey Anthony pretended she wanted to find Caylee, too.  In fact, Yuri Melich started the interview off by saying:

YM: Um, the date right now is July 16th, 2008, it’s about 1320 hours.  We’re at Universal Studios I’m here with Sergeant Allen, um, I’m here with Detective Appie wells, um, also here with Casey Anthony.

YM: And Casey, we talked earlier this morning and we’re working a case looking for your daughter Caylee, is that correct?

CA: Yes.

YM: Okay. We came to Universal Studios, we’re sitting in a little conference room.  Obviously the door’s unlocked.  We just closed it so we could have a little privacy and talk to you.

CA: Uh-huh. (Affirmative)

At about page 19 of the 67 page transcript of this interview, John Allen again verifies that Casey Anthony is there willingly.  Casey has just finished telling the Detectives that she knows it’s “backwards” how she’s gone about finding Caylee, and admits they are at Universal because she was “reaching”:

JA:  Why do you think it’s backwards?  It’s backwards because you haven’t been truthful with us okay

CA: ‘Cause I’ve been reaching.

JA: You’ve been reaching, huh?

CA:  I’ve been reaching to try to figure out a place where she actually is.

JA: So, once again okay ’cause you never did answer my question.  Your reaching and helping find her by bringing us here to this office that you don’t have. It’s helping us how?

CA: It’s….

JA: Because what you’re doing right now, is you’re doing everything you can to find your daughter.  You have three experienced detectives right now, whose sole focus is here to help you find your daughter okay.  And we’re here ’cause you brought us here, correct?

CA: Absolutely.

JA: You directed us here because we’re going to your office to find evidence.

CA: Hm.

JA: That will help us find her okay. Now that we’re here I want you to tell me how that’s helping.  What is it we’re doing here, what’s helping us right now okay.

CA: (No verbal response)

JA: Well coming to an office doesn’t exist.

CA: It’s not helping.

Casey Anthony even admits she was lying to the Detectives all along, even though she knew her lying was making it impossible to find Caylee.  However, if Casey Anthony had refused to talk to the detectives, she knew it would have made things even worse for her, so what’s a few lies?  She knew she had to act like she cared about Caylee’s whereabouts, otherwise there would be reason for immediate suspicion of her.  The fact that she dug her self into such a big hole by talking to the Detectives is no one’s fault, certainly not the fault of the Detectives who only wanted to find Caylee.  It’s clear that Casey Anthony, at this point, knows she’s caught, and she’s trying to be as calm as possible to not throw anyone off.

Casey Anthony, however, does not have it in her to show real concern for her daughter.  She doesn’t begin to know how to “act” like a mother who cares, though she is trying, she fails miserably and comes off as being just as Yuri Melich says, “a cold callous person who just doesn’t care.”

This interview is extremely damaging to Casey’s defense.

Is there any wonder the Defense needs to throw this motion as a Hail Mary pass and hope for a miracle?


a rose by any other name

“What’s in name?” asks Juliet in Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

There’s a lot in a name. Just ask Jose Baez, who believes it his mission to reveal another name used by Kathi Belich, the hard-hitting WFTV reporter – the major thorn in Baez’s side, but a fine Irish Rose to those of us who seek justice for Caylee Anthony.

The dialogue below is taken from a video that appears to be from 2009, when the photos of the autopsy were being discussed in court hearings:

Baez: I hear your name is really Gallagher, is that true?

Belich: When did you actually… When did you actually…

Baez: Are you really Kathleen Gallager  Is that true?

Belich: (pause) Wha….I don’t understand your question.

Baez: Somebody told me that was your real name.

Belich: Let me ask you a question about this case.

Baez: Why do you use a separate name?  Who are you Todd Black? (I believe he’s saying Todd Black)

Thanks go to Sherry for making me aware of this video clip.  The video can be viewed here:

In this video Baez makes a petulant, and cheeky personal attack at Kathi that really bothered me.  Then just recently, in the recent Defense motion introducing new witnesses, he again mentions Kathi Belich’s other name, as if to cover Kathi in a kind of snarky mysterious cloud.

Kathi Belich is a very recognizable public figure.  Her image is out there for all to see. I have no way of knowing if this is true, but I am guessing that “Belich” could be Kathi’s stage name.  I have no way of knowing if this is true or not, but Kathi may have a stage name to protect her privacy.

People in television or film generally belong to two professional unions: The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), or the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, (AFTRA).

When you join any of these unions, you must assign yourself a stage name that is unique and that no one else in the business is using. Before I could join SAG, my name had to approved – checked to see no other actor was using it.  I was okay, the name I chose happened to be my real name and I could use it as a stage name, too.  However, many people choose a different name from their own – their real name may be too long, hard to pronounce, or for any number of other reasons. The fact is, many people in the business choose a different stage name in an effort to maintain privacy.  Maybe this is what Kathi Belich has chosen to do, too.

Regardless of her choices, this is personal information about Kathi Belich that has no bearing on anything related to the State v. Casey Anthony!  Revealing Kathi Belich’s other name is low, unprofessional, and bordering on harassment.

The request to have Kathi Belich on the Defense witness list is, in my opinion, a sleazy tactic to harass her, AND keep her out of the courtroom and covering this case.

In most states, Florida is one of them, there is a “Shield Law” that protects reporters from testifying or revealing their sources or the information they have uncovered.  This is part of our Democracy called Freedom of the Press!

WFTV will fight tooth and nail to keep Kathi off of any Defense or Prosecution witness list.

It’s uncalled for to attack a reporter simply because she is on top of stories that just happens to malign the Defense.

Jose Angel Baez needs to be a big boy and suck it up.


strike this!

It was a quiet day in the Anthony case.  So quiet WESH News told us about some old news they dressed up to be “new.”

WESH news told us today about a “new” Prosecution witness list.  Bob Kealing reports there are 25 new names, and goes on to say it will be a “family affair” when the trial begins, in May.  The members of Casey Anthony’s family scheduled to testify for the Prosecution include: Cindy, George, Lee, Cindy’s brother, Rick,  Cindy’s mother, and Lee’s fiance, Mallory Parker.  Also on the list, Casey’s friends: Annie Downing, brothers Jonathon and Sean Daly, and Ryan Pasely.

These are hardly new witnesses.  However, there are new witnesses related to the Laura Buchanan investigation, though Bob Kealing didn’t reference them.

This appears to be another non-story by WESH news. (There still is no deposition (or explanation) to the story about William Fitzgerald’s “new” deposition.)

Motion to Strike the Strike

The Defense has submitted new witness names of its own; they claim this new witness list is to rebut the State’s new list.  However, the State cried foul and filed a motion to strike, since it is well past the deadline to add non-expert witnesses, and the Defense failed to show cause for adding the witnesses.

Then, the Defense came back with an argument of it’s own called: Motion to Strike the State’s Motion to Strike Defense Supplemental Witness List.

Given the title of the motion, can’t you just tell it will be impish and classic Baez?   Oh, it does not let us down! The motion has the ring of a high-schooler on a playing field, after a defeat, crying to the teacher: “No fair, teacher!  They cheated!”

Then, Judge Belvin Perry submits an order to the Defense’s Motion to Strike the State’s Motion to Strike Defense Supplemental Witness List.  Judge Perry advised the Defense to provide good cause for adding the new witnesses.  If the Defense can do that, the witnesses “might” be approved.  The State will argue against the issue during the March 2nd hearing.

Open the Law Book, Please

I have come to the point where I think some of these motions by the defense are just plain sad.  I almost feel sorry for the Defense, they are very much out of their league.  The first paragraph of this motion complains about the fact that Assistant State Attorney Linda Drane-Burdick will not contact the Defense, and sets the sophomoric tone for the rest of the writing in the motion:

…counsel for the State of Florida has made no attempts to contact the undersigned in  order to resolve this dispute or make inquiry of the supplemental witness list filed by the Defense.  Had counsel taken the time to inquire she would have been advised of the following:

a. Marvin Schecter has been withdrawn from the Defense witness list.

b. Kathleen Belich also known as Kathleen Gallager was listed to rebut witnesses just listed by the State involving an investigation launched against Laura Buchanan.  She is also a witness involving State witness Maya Derkovich.  (While the State has recently informed the defense that they have not [sic] intention to call Maya Derkovich as a witness, the defense has not ruled out calling her)

c. Kenneth Drupiewski was listed to rebut the State’s recent attempts to introduce a diary written by Miss Anthony while she was a juvenile in high school.  Despite the obvious date of 2003 on the diary the State has at taxpayers expense, spared no expense in utilizing both the FBI and Secret Service to date this diary to fit their timeline. Despite their inability to do so, this does not appear to deter the State in presenting this evidence.  Mr. Drupiewski is one of the individuals mentioned in the diary and will be able to testify about the timing of breaking up with Casey Anthony as a high school student.

I added the red text for sentences that astounded me.  Does the defense really believe it’s the State’s job to inquire about their witness lists?  Apparently so.

Why is it necessary to add an aka name for Kathi Belich?  It appears to be a purposeful attempt to cast a slight shadow on Kathi; or perhaps, to purposely expose her personal information.

The Defense wants to use Casey’s boyfriend from high school to date the diary in the year 2003?   This is to rebut the FBI results of the 2004 origination of the diary?  What could this young man say about the diary – that he remembers Casey writing the entry?  This is just not possible.  What young man is going to remember the writings of a long ago girlfriend?  If this witness attempts to testify about this particular diary, it will backfire, in my opinion.

There is another statement in this recent motion that floors me with its total lack of understanding of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, and Discovery:

Both the undersigned counsel and other members of the defense have made it known to this honorable Court that the State of Florida continues to file discovery at will with no regard to ANY deadlines by this Court….

Well, uh, yeah, the State does that.  They work with with law enforcement who continues to deliver investigative reports to them!

Linda Drane-Burdick, in open court and in response to Jose Baez complaining about the State’s additional discovery, said, “I’m not gong to stop doing my job…”

Oh, woe to Jose Baez and his team of Bad News Bears.  These poor bears just can’t wrap their brains around the fact that no one gets to cry, No fair, in a big boy and girl courtroom.


ex post facto as a matter of fact!

Ex Post Facto and the Revised Interpretation of Miranda

In yesterday’s post I wrote about the US Supreme Court decision to alter the application of the Miranda Warning. I mistakenly thought there would be a chance that the new Miranda Rule would apply in the Anthony case.  I was very wrong and extend my thanks to “Mike” for reminding me that criminal law will not look back and apply a new law to something that occurred in the past.

Ex Post Facto, Latin for “after the fact” provides Americans the protection from the court deciding that an act that was lawful at one time from turning illegal in the future.  Our US Constitution will not allow prosecution resulting from a changed law.

The Miranda Right, aka the right to remain silent, is a constitutional right and taken very seriously.  If you are suspected of a crime, and read your rights, it’s referred to as your being “Mirandized.”

Being Mirandized includes having these statements (constitutional rights) read to you by a law enforcement officer.  Although the Supreme Court did not specify the exact wording of the statement, the following phrases are excerpts:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to have an attorney present now and during any future questioning.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you free of charge if you wish.

A suspect must be told these constitutional rights when they are in custody, prior to any interrogation.  if it can be proven a suspect has not been informed of their rights, it may result in dismissal of the charges.

American Judges are sensitive to protecting the rights of citizens via Miranda.  There is a higher purpose at play and many Judges feel it’s necessary, and it is their duty to protect the rights of every citizen.  Even if one citizen is clearly guilty but was not properly Mirandized, it is better to let one guilty person go in order to protect the rights of the citizens at large who are truly innocent.

The new interpretation of Miranda by the Supreme Court weighs more favorably to law enforcement than to a citizen.  Now, if you are advised of your right to stay silent but decide to begin talking anyway, you have just waived your right to remain silent, and it is no longer incumbent on law enforcement to ask you if you wish to waive your rights.

Therefore, Judge Belvin Perry will look at the statements that Casey Anthony made to law enforcement on July 15 and 16, and he will determine if Casey was, as Cheney Mason alleges in his motion, “in custody” and never read her rights.  Judge Perry will base his decision on the Miranda Rules of 1966.

Many thanks once again to Mike for reminding me about Ex Post Facto!


will the new Miranda please stand up?

Here we go again.  Mr. Cheney Mason, of the Casey Anthony Defense team, is redressing his Miranda motion, in which he argues that Casey was questioned by authorities while she was effectively in “custody”.

However, as I discussed in a January 18th post, the Miranda Rights Law (based on Miranda v. Arizona) was, in June of 2010, changed by the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Berghuis v. Thompkins case.

The United States Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to change Miranda v. Arizona, which has held fast since 1966.  In the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling, a person suspected of committing a crime would have to have their right to an attorney and their right to remain silent read to them before authorities could question them.  If these rights were not read, and if the suspect subsequently talked a blue-streak and incriminated themselves – too bad, so sad, said the law at that time.

The 2010 Change to Miranda

The 2010 Supreme Court decision to change Miranda v. Arizona was controversial.  Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor remarked that this new ruling “turns Miranda upside down” and “marks a substantial retreat from the protection against compelled self-incrimination.”

Regardless, in this new Miranda ruling, referred by the case Berghuis v. Thompkins, a suspect must make the invocation of their rights crystal clear, and then stop talking.  A suspect can no longer expect to be protected by Miranda, though they will still be read their rights, it is incumbent on the suspect to stop talking.

There were times when the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling worked against Law Enforcement.  If the Miranda Rights were not read and the suspect confessed, anything the criminal may have said would not be admissible in trial.  Of course this is to protect the citizenry against inadvertently saying the wrong thing, or being pressured into incriminating themselves, but it may also allow a guilty person to go free.  It was a double-edged sword, of sorts.

The Revised Defense Motion

A revised motion was filed today by Mr. Mason that asks to suppress not only Casey Anthony’s statements at her home and at Universal Studios, but also asks to suppress her discussion with law enforcement on the day of her indictment, when she was in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office interview room and on camera.

READ the motion: Amended Motion to Suppress Statements.

Is the Updated Miranda Rights Ruling Retroactive?

What is unclear at this time, is whether the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling will apply to an arrest in 2008.  Common sense tells me that yes, it would be retroactive, though I am not 100% sure.

Cheney Mason contends that Casey Anthony was held against her will at Universal Studios.  Yuri Melich was very clear when he told Casey that they were in the conference room for privacy but the door was unlocked and she could leave at any time. This hardly infers Casey was in custody.

With regards to all the statements made by Casey Anthony early on, before she invoked her rights, if Berghuis v. Thompson applies, all these statements will come in.

I will continue to research this question of whether the Berghuis v. Thompkins Supreme Court ruling on Miranda will look back and cover open cases.

However, even without the application of the Supreme Court ruling, the redressed motion by Cheney Mason will probably not be successful.   I believe that anyone would be hard-pressed to find any fault with the actions of the OCSO.

(Too bad, so sad!)

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