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February 15, 2011


the elephant in the courtroom

by Andrea O'Connell

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.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rob
    Feb 15 2011

    Andrea, I was about to turn in for the night when I checked my email, and saw your post. You are such a prolific writer. You have summed up so many points so succinctly. Judge Perry has his work cut out for him. Baez and company are beyond belief.

    • Feb 15 2011

      Hey Rob, Thanks so much for your kind words! I know how busy your are in this tax season, so I appreciate your taking the time to write a post.
      The Judge sure does have some issues to deal with… I wonder if he’s ever been up against this kind of deviant behavior in the courtroom before? I bet this is his first…. there’s no one to compare to Mr. Baez, and now he’s dragged Mr. Mason into it… If Cheney Mason had any kind of reputation before this trial, he’s surely lost it now. So much for the “fun” he expected!

      • Feb 16 2011

        That has been my question for awhile now, Andrea. Ha there ever been behavior like this in a murder case before?

        Is he wickedly clever with an ace up his sleeve? Or Is Baez arrogant and stupid? (My money is on this)

      • Feb 16 2011

        Oh so arrogant…. oh so relentlessly focused on winning no matter the cost. I tell you what, I have never seen this kind of behavior, ever. At least the State Attorney’s are holding their feet to the fire…. I hope they have more opportunities to surprise the court like they did with the Twitter log of Kathi Reichs! That was so brilliant! It was classic!

  2. Swift Justice
    Feb 16 2011

    Kathi B has been a HUGE thorn in Jose’s butt from the beginning of this case. He sprints from her when he sees her face, and can’t get his feet to move quick enough. Kathi tells it like it is…..all the tough questions others don’t ask and she shoots from the hip.
    Jose’s nose grows everytime he gets before Judge Perry….and tries to twist his answers to fit the bill.
    Either there is a ‘Failure to communicate’ between Baez & Mason, or Baez
    is tossing Mason under the bus……and making him the heavy in this latest fiasco.
    I think that KB’s name on the witness list where Baez will make certain that her name comes up last……thereby keeping her not only from the courtroom but from covering this case for her paper.
    However, it won’t work…..because the newspaper will not allow her to be listed as a Witness for the Dumfense.
    Jose is trying anything he can think of… stall this case from moving forward and I’m sure JP who has the patience of Job, see exactly what
    JB is up to.
    There is NO WOOL covering the good Judge’s eyes.
    JB will be getting another of Judge Perry’s famous spankings very soon.

    • Feb 16 2011

      Hi Swift Justice, I think you’re right on target about Mason being the heavy here – Baez has got to be somehow involved in this because of the cover-your-arse email from Michelle Medina. I totally think they bungled this and tried to cover it up but their efforts bombed.

      And I also think that Kathi Belich is on the witness list to keep her from reporting on the case. The Defense hates her honest questions and remarks – her station will fight this tooth and nail, she’s a reporter after all, and she cannot be expected to testify about what she knows, or who her sources are, etc.

      I’m wondering if there will be a hearing prior to the March 2 and 3 scheduled hearings…. This is going to be very interesting!

    • GasCanGeorge
      Feb 22 2011

      I like Kathy B but I ask myself how prudent is it to keep trying to push for answers in such a severe and sensitive case such as this

  3. cali patti
    Feb 16 2011

    congrats on your writing a post a day, you do it so well.

    • Feb 16 2011

      How nice of you to say, Cali Patti. I appreciate that so much. I have amazed myself that I’ve been able to keep this up without missing a day….!

  4. GasCanGeorge
    Feb 22 2011

    I think Baez wants out


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