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):
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.