Day 2: Defense in frye free fall
There is an abundance of material to talk about after the events of today’s Fyre Hearing, and today’s desperate motion for a rehearing on the Miranda and Agents of the State issue.
Dr. Arpad Vass, (who has the patience of a saint), is the States scientist from the Oak Ridge Laboratory who tested air samples, and the carpet from the white Pontiac driven by Casey Anthony. Thanks to WFTV, I am able to watch the testimony and the the cross examination by Jose Baez of Dr. Vass. To say the cross examination was entertaining is an understatement. There was one moment in particular that was shocking to me. I am referring to the fact that Baez had stipulated (agreed) to NOT refer to the use of an instrument used in the decomposition studies by Dr. Vass.
When Baez began a line of questioning that was wiggling in the direction of what was stipulated to, Jeff Ashton objected, reminding the Judge of the stipulation. Then, Baez nearly lost it! He claimed that he felt “coerced” and his “hand forced” by Jeff Ashton on this issue – as if Ashton tricked him into stipulating. Then we hear that Baez agreed to this stipulation in exchange for Ashton backing off the contempt charges.
Baez claimed that he was tricked into agreeing to this stipulation when Ashton decided not to pursue contempt charges. Not true, said Ashton. The stipulation was a result of this instrument being tested and accepted in the scientific community; it was sound science, therefore not necessary to argue this in a Frye hearing (it’s not a novel science).
Baez raised his voice to a shrill; he was absolutely livid. Then Judge Perry told Mr. Baez it was his fault for accepting the stipulation in the first place. Baez argued that he needed to address this “methodology” with Dr. Vass, as there is a crucial bit of testimony he wants to get to. Baez blamed Ashton for the situation. The Judge jumped into the middle.
Judge Perry: If this was so important to your case, why stipulate to it? Baez claimed that the issue he wants to bring up is different. Not so says Judge Perry. Then Judge Perry asks Baez if this has to do with discovery ambush? Then it came out that Baez held this bit of testimony OUT of discovery.
When it was discovered he did this, Attorney Ann Finnel came to the podium, whispered to Baez (clearly telling him the trouble he’d face), and Baez asked for a recess. A five minute recess was called and Baez returned with his tail between his legs, and apologized.
You know, and I know, that Mr. Baez has a habit of holding back information in order to create an element of surprise – to ambush the opponent. The bottom line here, is the fact that the State will not be fooled, the Judge will not be fooled, and Baez will either learn his lesson quickly, or face some kind of consequence, I’m sure.
I also wanted to add that Dr. Vass, during Ashton’s direct examination, made two remarkable statements. He stated the levels of chloroform found in the samples of Casey’s trunk were 10,000 times greater than what one would normally encounter. (There are small amounts of chloroform found in decomposition as a general rule.) Dr. Vass stated that the chloroform “peaked” and he’d never before seen it this high in any of the hundred’s of cadavers he’d studied.
The other important revelation was a result of Dr. Vass’s reaction to opening the container holding the piece of carpet from the car, caused him to jump back two feet, it was so strong.
Dr. Vass was an excellent witness though clearly exasperated with Jose Baez.
I must also mention a moment during the cross examination of OCSO K9 handler and trainer, Jason Forgey when Baez attempted to ask about his Grand Jury testimony! Judge Perry warned Baez and warned Forgey not to answer, but Baez asked it anyway and then stated he’d be writing a motion regarding this grand jury testimony. The way Baez stated this, I got the sense that he intended to put the Judge on notice, so to speak. This is purely my take on the situation and I say this as a result of hearing the tone of voice he used, and the self important demeanor he wore when he said it.
Today’s Motion by the Defense
In the event you haven’t heard, the Miranda and the Agent’s of the State motion ruled on by the Judge last week, has been reopened by the Defense. It appears the defense is painfully aware of the harm this ruling will do to their case. To solve this problem of theirs, Mr. Cheney Mason wrote this motion claiming a myriad of mistakes, and outright biases that Judge Perry made in these two rulings. Read it here.
It is shocking to read, and is an outright attack on this Judge by Mr. Mason. The defense dissected Judge Perry’s ruling and listed the mistakes he made! Mason (who was not in court today) literally accused the Judge of bias, of misstating facts, not correctly applying the law, and more.
Reporter Anthony Collarossi, of the Orlando Sentinel, does a good job of explaining how this motion tends to mirror the movements made by the defense when they attacked Judge Strickland, who ultimately recused himself from the case. He writes:
The latest defense motion brings about recollections of the defense team’s successful effort to get Circuit Judge Stan Strickland to recuse himself from the case last year.
In that motion, the defense argued “Judge Strickland seeks publicity in his own right, and that his rulings and decisions from the bench could be improperly influenced by his desire to secure the outcome that maximizes that publicity.”
Courthouse sources familiar with the case said they seriously doubted the defense would “get a second bite of the apple” if the attorneys are considering having Perry removed.
Mr. Collarossi also reports that Judge Perry will have an answer to this motion early Friday morning.
No matter what type of low and devious tricks the defense wants to pull, there is no disputing the fact that the actions of the defense in this case are contributing to the demise of their own case. No attorney’s want to win a case this badly – there is something going on here that smells to high heaven.