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March 18, 2011


defense disaster

by Andrea O'Connell

As expected, Judge Belvin Perry concluded that every single argument put forth by the Defense could not, and did not rise to the level of inadmissibility.

As I finished reading the first ruling, (the Universal Studios Interview), the first thought that occurred to me had to do with the realization that Casey Anthony does not have a chance to prevail in this case. Additionally, it occurred to me that the best outcome for this case would be an admission of guilt by Casey, in open court, allowing Judge Perry to sentence her as he will.  This would save the tax payers of Florida nearly one million dollars, and it could save Casey from the sentence of death, which will carry another million dollar price tag.  (I read recently that a life sentence costs half of what a sentence of death costs.)

These two rulings alone are very damaging on their own and if you mix the other factors against Casey Anthony, plus the fact her attorneys are not up to par, you’re left with a damning set of circumstances that promises justice for Caylee, but is likely to inflame jurors against Casey to the extent they sentence her to death.

The ruling concerning the Universal Studios Interview nearly matched point by point what Linda Drane-Burdick argued with regards to the case law she cited to parallel her arguments.  Contrast that with Judge Perry’s admonition of the case law cited by Cheney Mason.  The Judge pointed out twice in his ruling that the defense case law citations used to support their arguments, were erroneous.  (Embarrassing.)

When Miranda Applies

All the many times I have written about Miranda Warnings, trying to make sense of it and attempting to apply its rules to the Anthony case, now culminate in a complete understanding of when Miranda applies!  The crux of Miranda is as follows:

  • Law enforcement has a duty to advise a “suspect” of their Miranda rights when and if interrogation begins.  (Casey was not a suspect, she was a witness.)
  • A person must be “in custody” meaning either under arrest, or denied their freedom of movement – to move about as they would like – insinuating custody.
  • Law enforcement does not have to articulate “custody” but if a reasonable person perceives the situation as custody, Miranda may apply.

Using the Ramirez Case to Understand Miranda

When Linda Drane-Burdick argued this motion, she relied heavily on the Ramiez v. State case. So did Judge Perry.

Burdick argued that the four-pronged Ramirez test is aptly applied to this case for the purpose of determining if a reasonable person would consider him or herself in custody.

The following is verbatim from Judge Perry’s ruling, p. 5 of 15 (the comments in bold are mine):

  1. The manner in which suspect is summoned for questioning. Casey was not summoned, the police were summoned by the Anthony’s to investigate the missing Caylee.  Also, Casey lead the Detectives to Universal Studios. The Judge pointed out the concept of “consensual encounters” and applied it to the Universal Studios interview.
  2. The purpose, place and manner of the interrogation. The Judge did not see the interview as an “interrogation” rather as witness interview. Furthermore, he noted that a conference room with an unlocked door is not threatening as a police station would be.
  3. The extent to with the suspect is confronted with evidence of guilt. The Judge pointed out that the Detectives did not use “evidence” of a crime with Casey, and they did not use the “car smelling like a dead body” when interviewing Casey.  Had they discussed that aspect, it would have been evidence of a crime occurring and it would have required Miranda.
  4. Whether suspect is informed that they are free to end the encounter and leave.  Casey was free to stop talking, but she openly discussed Caylee and the circumstances of her disappearance without being forced to.

It was interesting how the Judge discussed the concept of a “casual link” regarding “custody”. This refers to a person who is held,(or cuffed) then released, as Casey was, with enough time passing so that further questioning is not colored by that event, and the suspect stays in the vicinity of their own volition to answer questions.  The casual link was broken between the time of the cuffing and of Casey speaking and making statements to Yuri Melich.

It Looks Bad From Where I Sit

There are countless facts against Casey Anthony, we know.  When the rulings were published today, Judge Perry wrote the following: 

…the statements were highly relevant, specifically regarding demonstrating consciousness of guilt.

That sentence alone tells the tale for me.  Consciousness of guilt is a legal reference that carries a good deal of weight when argued by a Prosecutor.  I am afraid that every move Casey made for those 31 days that she alluded her parents; every lie she told to whomever she told it to will be looked at through the lens of consciousness of guilt.  And that’s a deadly lens to be seen through.

The Beginning of the End

Needless to say, this ruling is very, very damaging to the Defense.  I feel it’s a show-stopper.

It is too bad that Baez did not follow the advice of the first attorney he hired, Terence Lenamon, who wanted to approach the case from the vantage point of Casey’s mental health versus “innocence.”  There is plenty of evidence that Casey Anthony is mentally ill.  Now, I don’t mean to say that mental illness is a way out for Casey, on the contrary.  But it would save her from the death penalty.

What infuriates me is this: an inexperienced, less than honest lawyer is matched with a young, pretty sociopathic murderer to possibly create one of the worst examples of a miscarriage of justice ever seen in Florida. And why?  The defendant thinks she’s a movie star and the lawyer thinks he’s Perry Mason.

That’s it for my soapbox tonight.

I hope you have a chance to read the motions; they are extremely interesting and filled with quite a few lessons.

Here are the two motions allowing all of Casey Anthony’s statements to law enforcement, and all the jail videos into the trial.

Order Denying Motion to Suppress Statements Made To Law Enforcement and,

Order Denying Motion to Suppress Statements To “Agents Of State”

26 Comments Post a comment
  1. artgal16
    Mar 18 2011

    Wonderful assessment as usual. However, while I believe Casey Anthony will be found guilty, I think it highly unlike at her age she would get the death penalty and there is absolutely no way she can accept a plea
    deal as she would never admit to her guilt. I feel she will probably get 30 years to a life sentence.

    • Mar 19 2011

      Hi Artgal! I do hope you’re right. What scares me is that when Judge Perry won (as a prosecutor) a death penalty case – the Defendant was Judy Buenoano, Judge Perry attended the execution. He is pro-death penalty (one can assume) because he’s a judge and following the law, I understand that, but darn, I am so dead set against the death penalty that anytime it looms in a case, it makes me very nervous. Even if she gets some chance for parole down the line, she’ll never admit to the slaying so she’ll never see the light of day. I think in order to get parole, you have to come to terms with your crime – I could be totally wrong, but I think that’s the case….. please anyone, if you know, will you correct me? Many thanks….

  2. Mar 19 2011

    I believe she will get death because of how Caylee died. Speaking of the duct tape. And I also agree they should have stayed with Terence Lenamon. I felt he was the best for Casey and I still do. Even over Andrea Lyon. It’s not looking good for Casey.

    • Mar 19 2011

      Hi Shyloh & Good Morning! Whew, what a day yesterday was! I’m still reeling…
      Anyway, I do wish he’d used Lenamon, too…. we’d have a different case today if he had, and Florida would not be bilked out of so much money…

      The events of yesterday are truly a terrible birthday present for Casey Anthony, I wonder if Baez will visit her in the jail and advise her of what’s going on. I hope he’s straight with her (though I doubt he will be) and tell her what the impact of these rulings mean to the case. It’s difficult for me to comprehend how any lawyer would go to trial with this case. It’s judicial suicide, in my opinion…

  3. Swift Justice
    Mar 19 2011

    Love your take on the rulings…..and right on target I might add.
    We have all witnessed Jose’s motion after motion to surpress everything and anything (almost on a daily basis) to get his ‘Celeb star’ off the hook,
    it back-fired on him in a big way. Judge Perry is TOO UP ON THE LAW
    and while Masonjar did his pleading the good judge must’ve been chuckling to himself, thinking ‘does he really think this will fly?’
    Mason is so into the past decades regarding his laws, I think he needs a
    complete ‘do over’ in class and this time he should invest in hearing aid
    At this point, I’m wondering if he’s having the ‘fun’ he thought he would
    be having when he signed on with Jose.
    As for Jose, what can I say that hasn’t already been said. He thinks because he’s a lawyer……and not a very good one…..he will have Casey walking out the door……resuming her life as she knew it…….well fagitaboutit.
    Let’s remember a suit and tie with matching hanky does not make a lawyer.
    Jose has done his best to point the finger at victim after new victim until they covered the gamut and had no one else to accuse of the henious murder of an innocent baby.
    Nothing he nor Mason did stuck to the wall……maybe they should’a used Duct Tape.
    I think they are stuck with Zanny the Nanny, who Cindy never met, nor had
    a phone number incase of emergency use, in the year or more that Zanny was hired as a sitter for Caylee?
    OR will the defense for Casey be placed directly on Casey’s parents claiming they were the cause of Casey’s lying and thieving which eventually led to the murder of Caylee. But then again, they aren’t on trial, are they.
    Somehow I feel they will be tossed under the runaway bus somewhere down the road.
    I can honestly say that I don’t think Casey will get the DP….but years in prison.
    As I read in another murder trial case, the mother of her daughter and grand daughter begged the Judge before sentencing was announced, to please include the picture she took of both daughter and grandbaby while in the coffin be placed in his cell for the rest of his life.
    She didn’t want the DP…..just LWOP and the photograph in his cell forever.
    Her wish was granted.
    Caylee deserves the same……justice.
    RIP Caylee

    • Mar 19 2011

      Good Morning Swift Justice! Thank you for your post – it’s right on, especially regarding the defense’s inability to argue their motions – It’s apparent that Mason did not do his due diligence and research case law that parallels this case. And, I am also glad to see that Judge Perry called him out on it.
      With all due respect, however, the defense did what they had to do, which is to file motion after motion and make a clean, thorough argument for their position- which they totally failed to do. I do understand why they had to file these motions, and they probably knew they would not prevail, but it would have been wrong of them NOT to attempt to get this stuff thrown out. The had an opening with the Miranda aspect, but they made a mess of their argument – and it was, as Casey Anthony has said, “A waste, a Huge Waste.”

  4. Hilde
    Mar 19 2011

    Judge Perry as an experienced Judge made sure the Ruling would be strictly following the Law and therefore leave no Opening for a Mistrial later.
    As for the Probability Casey getting the DP, I believe it’s highly unlikely.
    I am just so glad that we are finally seeing that there is Hope that the Victim Caylee Marie will get her Justice after all.
    We just have to be patient a little while longer and let the Wheels of Justice work.
    Justice for You Baby Girl Caylee is coming!
    RIP sweet Angel Caylee…

    • Mar 19 2011

      Hi Hilde, You are absolutely right. Judge Perry made sure he would not be appealed on his ruling by his careful citation of case law that supports the arguments. He did a fantastic job.
      There is truly hope for justice for the dear baby girl…It makes me cry to write this…but, justice is coming.

  5. Mar 19 2011

    I believe we will all be educated quite nicely concerning law by the time this trial is over! It should be embarassing for Baez/Mason to be corrected by the judge. HHJP must get exasperated with their arguments at times. I picture him reading through the closing argument of the defense at his desk with his leg shaking!

    We did have an idea that the state had this one because of the case law that HHJP cited to Mason ( a good touche to Mason who wants to play good ol’ boy with him!). After reading the “miranda” decision I did a V-8 doh slap to the head because HHJP explained it so simply that my only surprise was that the defense didn’t figure it out before making their case! LOL

    • Mar 19 2011

      Good Mornin’ my dear!
      I can imagine the flibbertigibbet Mason is nursing his bruised ego right about now. I agree that HHJP must be exasperated with the two lawyers at times, too, though I bet he sees incompetence a lot, just not in this kind of case. That’s why it just floors me that Baez, knowing the evidence against his client from the get-go, didn’t move for a plea at the very beginning. If any case screams for a plea, it’s this one…. There is no hope for the defense, I really believe that more then ever now. What can the defense argue now? A big pile of nuttin’ honey. That’s why I see this case as a trial by suicide for the defense. And for what? To save the skin of a child killer??? God help them come trial time – they are going to need it.

      • Mar 19 2011

        “flibbertigibbet “-is that a hobbit? 😆

        Well, they have the forensics toi argue but even if they made excellent points they won’t make it to the reasonable doubt level. You just can’t get past the lies Casey told and her partying, too, during the 31 days. Its as if Casey was determinedc to seal her own fate of LWOP or the DP! And she thought she was being so clever and slick.

      • Mar 19 2011

        LOL! A flib-ur-dee-gibit is a noun and describes a person who is flighty, confused, talkative, and bumbling…. That word comes into my head every time I see Mason attempting to argue in the court!

        And, by George you are right about the bottom line in this case: the 31 days, the partying, the tattoo. That alone would convict and now there’s so much more…. To me, it’s almost like malpractice to defend someone who is clearly the one responsible for the crime. And yet our system allows this to happen. I imagine the Florida Bar is holding its nose. It’s lawyers like these that give criminal defense attorney’s a bad name.

  6. Venice
    Mar 19 2011

    Hi Andrea!

    You are correct….the beginning to an end 🙂

    • Mar 19 2011

      Hey Venice! Yup…. It’s clear sailing, I believe, from here on out. 🙂

  7. MoneyLiesAndDeception
    Mar 19 2011

    Did any of you ever think that Jose is spinning the wheel of fate or is it wheel of fortune to see if he is not disbarred this case resume enhances him for other cases down the road to make him “death qualified”? He’s not qualified, in my opinion, to defend a dog without proper licensure, or a jaywalker, but the old saying caveat emptor comes to my mind.
    Win or lose and lose he will it still qualifies him as to requirements. In my opinion, Jose is just betting on not losing his law license for his sleeze.

    • Mar 19 2011

      Hey there…MLD! Yes, Jose is working it, but he’ll have a ways to go (if he’s not disbarred first). To be Death Penalty Qualified, a lawyer has to try a certain number of Murder One cases, not just one – I can’t recall how many, though. I am sure the Florida Bar is holding back its investigation so not to disturb this case. It will be so interesting to see what they come up with 🙂

  8. CptKD
    Mar 19 2011

    Great wrap up post, of Fri’s FANTASTIC Rulings outcome. Once again, you summed it up as beautifully as HHJP did in his responses. BRAVO! Yes, Justice IS coming for our darling Caylee Marie! I cant help but wonder what will actually happen from here: Is this case really going to make it to trial? Will Mason & Baez talk Inmate A into going before JP, admitting guilt in hopes for LWOP? If ‘ IA’ continues to play with fire from here, I sense she gonna burn! And either way, she’s going to HELL! CptKD

    • Mar 19 2011

      Hey my friend… thanks…LOL, I was so happy to write about that outcome! Frankly, I doubt the state would allow, at this point, a plea to occur since it’s gone this far and they want to see it through. But, I do think it would be a great solution for all parties if she just gives it up once and for all. However, Judge Perry may not be amenable to LWOP, he may want this case to get the DP… who’s to say. Regardless, it’s a tough call; on the one hand, I hardly think Casey would give it up, on the other hand, I also think the State would not give it up!

  9. CptKD
    Mar 20 2011

    Morning my friend! Good day to all. . . Andrea, I wasn t thinking of a plea deal with the State. I was thinking more along the lines of an plea before the HHJP. I believe it’s called an “Alford/Alfred” which does NOT involve the State. Of course, from there JP could still possibly sentence her to DEATH. I doubt she ll ever admit guilt, but she about to board a legal boat, that is going to potentially take her down, drowned and sentenced to DEATH anyways….To be cont.

    • Mar 20 2011

      Oh my goodness… That’s what I was talking about, too, but didn’t know it had a name…. Yes, it would happen without a jury, the defendant pleads guilty as a result of all the evidence against them being too much to defend against. That’s exactly what I think should happen in this case. Why put the state of Florida through this cost? But, in truth, Casey would not admit guilt, i don’t think. And, she has a right to hear the evidence against her…but, sheesh, when faced with a veritable tsunami of evidence, there comes a time when you run before you’re plummeted….

  10. CptKD
    Mar 20 2011

    If she were to throw herself at the mercy of the courts, avoid the costs of this huge trial and come clean to the Judge, he may just sentence her to LWOP. Yes, he could still sentence Death to her, but would he, if she finally put a stop to this.? As for her admitting guilt, it is a stretch, but faced with nothing else but a potential Death sentence – Might that finally shake Inmate Anthony free frm her high & mighty tree? I guess it depends on her DT’s honesty w her. I sense its a lose-lose!

    • Mar 20 2011

      I think you’re absolutely right. She won’t jump off that tree… unless she’s scared enough and wants to avoid the DP….

  11. jon
    Mar 21 2011

    Hi Andrea: As much as I’d love Casey to stand up in court and admit her guilt, I doubt she’ll ever do it, although stranger things have happened…. If she had decent attorneys, they’d advise her to do so since they’re got to realize that they’re on a sinking ship. Personally, I think Casey probably loves the idea that she’s costing the state as much as she is. Who else would spend this much money on her?

    • Mar 21 2011

      I agree, if she had decent attorneys-
      I think Baez’ ego trip has always been a factor in this case with Casey not pleaing out. He loves the money spent as much as she does.

    • Mar 21 2011

      Hey Jon, Yes, I hardly think Casey has it in her to confess. But, this particular plea doesn’t require the defendant to admit to guilt, BUT, there’s no guarantee what sentence the Judge will give out. My guess is they will want to take their chances on a jury versus having the judge sentence death himself, which I don’t doubt he would do.

  12. jon
    Mar 21 2011

    Sherry: totally agree!


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