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the elephant in the courtroom

The Case of Selective Listening or Talking in Tongues

Whether it’s total incompetency or cotton in the ears; it’s yet another bungled and possibly serious issue for the Defense in the Casey Anthony case.  This time, however, Cheney Mason may end up taking the fall with regards to the Stogsdill Court Reporting fiasco.

The Stogsdill Court Reporting Service is alleging that Jose Baez, Cheney Mason, or both, made false statements in court as to what occurred with regards to the September 21 and 22nd deposition of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

A letter was made public today from Stogsdill Court Reporting Services to Judge Belvin Perry asserting that the Defense  made false statements regarding payment for the deposition and transcript services provided by Stogsdill.

The letter, from Gerald (Tyke) Stogsdill, owner of the Knoxville court reporting company, asserts that there was never an agreement made with Mr. Mason to provide a reduced rate (a JAC rate).   Furthermore, Stogsdill claims that when Mr. Mason told Judge Perry in open court that Stogsdill reneged on an agreement to accept JAC funds, it was false. Mr. Stogsdill claims that he would never have agreed to accept the lower JAC rate.

The problem began when Cheney Mason’s Legal Assistant made arrangements for the September 21 & 22nd depositions.  The Legal Assistant claims that she advised Stogsdill of the lower rate, and he agreed.

Mr. Stogsdill does not remember a phone conversation that discussed fees, and was therefore under the impression that Mr. Mason would pay his standard rate.

To confuse matters, on September 16th a “generic” email from Michelle Medina, of the Baez Law Firm, was sent to Stogsdill with a JAC  form attached.  Stogsdill did not recognize the name Michelle Medina as the email had no reference to the dates of the deposition, nor was there mention of the Anthony case.  As such, Stogsdill did not connect the dots regarding the JAC form and the Cheney Mason depo.  In addition, Stogsdill would not have known what JAC was, as his firm is in Tennessee, and not familiar with the Florida system.

Therefore, when the “JAC” was mentioned, it meant nothing to Stogsdill. He assumed that JAC was handling the billing for the depo, since many firms have another office handling their billing.

The problem with this issue?  The Judge will have to determine who is really to blame here.  Either it was a gross misunderstanding between all parties, or the Defense lawyers were trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes to get a better rate.

READ: The Stogsdill letter to Judge Perry with emails.

The Defense is Fried Over the Fyre Hearings

To add insult to injury, Jeff Ashton, Assistant State Attorney, filed two motions to strike the Defense’s intent for a Frye hearing on the chloroform detection in Casey Anthony’s trunk, and the plant growth at the crime scene. The plant growth will indicate to a scientific certainty how long Caylee’s remains were located in the area off of Suburban Drive.

The purpose of a Frye hearing is to challenge the science being offered up by either side.  If it is a relatively new scientific procedure, the experts in that field will have to prove to the court that claims being made are sound.  If the court decides there is merit, then the testimony can come in to be heard by the jury.

The problem here is the Defense is arguing their Fyre Motions based on testimony of the experts on the scientific issues, not on the science itself.  Plus, the science being used has long been proved to be reliable in Florida.  And since Fyre is meant to test the veracity of new or novel approaches to scientific evidence, there will be no need to have a hearing on either chloroform or plant growth.  It will be up to the jury to weigh the testimony of the experts and come to their own conclusions.

After reading these two motions by Mr. Ashton, it is crystal clear that the Defense needs help with the scientific aspects of this case.  It is going to be a very unbalanced trial if either Baez or Mason handle the science in this case.

READ: The Prosecution Motion to Exclude Chloroform

READ: The Prosecution Motion to Exclude Plant Growth

Please Judge, We Need More Witnesses

A motion filed today by ASA Linda Drane Burdick requests that brand new Defense witnesses be disallowed since the deadline has long since past to introduce new witnesses.

Kathi Belich of WFTV is listed as a Defense witness!

Many of us familiar with this case are fans of Kathi Belich, of WFTV.  Kathi is a hard-hitting reporter who gets right into the thick of things and is relentless in getting a story.  She thinks nothing of getting in Jose Baez’s path to ask the really tough questions.  Jose Baez despises her and her station, WFTV.  And yet, he has Kathi Belich on his list of new witnesses!

Why Kathi Belich?  I have my own opinion on this.  I believe that Baez would like to get her on the stand to simply have the opportunity to hammer questions at her and give her back some of what she’s given him over these past two years.  Or, if Kathi Belich is a witness, it could preclude her from covering the case.

The other witnesses the Defense would like to add are: Robyn Adams and Maya Derkovic (Casey’s Jailhouse pals), and Marvin Schecter, a lawyer from New York City.

Linda Drane Burdick argues in her motion that not only did the Defense miss the deadline to add witnesses, they also failed to show good cause for requesting to add these witnesses.

READ: State Motion to Strike Defense Witnesses

What’s Next is Anyone’s Guess

There are Fyre hearings scheduled March 2 and 3.  However, with the above issues before the court, there may be another hearing needed to sort it all out.

Sometimes an issue, like what to do about dishonest or incompetent lawyers, gets to be so big that it eventually can no longer be ignored, and it becomes the “Elephant in the room” or, the “courtroom” in this case.

The elephant in Judge Belvin Perry’s Orlando courtroom is pregnant with triplets, and about to pop.

Given the tendency of Casey Anthony’s Defense to conveniently alter the truth, recolor facts, and bend the law to its breaking point, Judge Perry may soon be between a rock and a hard place – or rather, a pregnant elephant and a hard place.

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