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March 26, 2011

40

the state of the mind excuse

by Andrea O'Connell

At the end of Thursday’s hearing, there was a discussion initiated by Jeff Ashton asking about the two new witnesses the defense plans to add.  I’m referring to Dr. Jeffery Danzinger (his website), and a Dr. Weitz or Weiss.

Ann Finnel, the attorney charged with representing Casey Anthony in the penalty phase of the trial, which begins immediately after the guilt phase, spoke Thursday of these two new witnesses.  Judge Perry asked Ms. Finnel what these witnesses will bring to the defense case.  She waffled a little, then said, “State of Mind”.  The Judge asked, “whose state of mind” (I bet he was thinking of Jose Baez!!!).  Ann Finnel said to the Judge, “Ms. Anthony’s.”

Of course the Casey Anthony defense is not a “mental health” defense, never has been.  So, why at this late date would the defense entertain this?

Judge Perry stated that when he hears “state of mind” he thinks:  “diminished capacity.”  Ann Finnel advised the Court it was not about claiming diminished capacity.

Apparently the opinions of these two psychiatrists only became available to the defense recently, which is why the late notice to the court and to the State.  Ann Finnel promises to have the reports to both the Judge and the State on Monday.

So what is this about?

As far as I am aware, when you talk about “state of mind” it would go to Casey Anthony’s behavior.  But, what behavior is the big question.

Ms. Finnel said these two doctors were being planned on the penalty phase only, but as a result of the opinion they’ve given, they have decided to add them to the guilt phase.

Could the state of mind question lead back to the “ugly coping” that was bandied about for a while?  If so, will they try to white-wash the party girl image, the tattoo loving thief?  Good luck with that.

Perhaps the state of mind question will apply to the murder (or accident – if the defense goes with the pool accidental drowning), and attempt to explain away Casey’s behavior right after the death?

Will they claim that mentally she was able to almost disconnect from herself in an effort to deny Caylee’s death?  Well, that’s all well and good, but she sure did go to great lengths to hide Caylee’s little body.  She dealt with that aspect for a few days.  She knew what she was doing.

Is the defense going to attempt to explain, via these doctor’s, that Casey is indeed innocent, but her mental capacity to accept the trauma of her daughters death did not allow her to deal with it, hence the cold and callous demeanor?

I bet that’s what they will try to do!  Like Casey, Baez will never allow Casey’s guilt to be discussed.

It’s too late now for a mental health defense, though that would have been the clearest choice to defend her, so it will be interesting to learn how in the world the defense will deal with state of mind at this late date.

I really do doubt an attempted explanation of any kind of mental defect would change a jury’s state of mind regarding this crime.

Wouldn’t change mine. Would it yours?

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40 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 26 2011

    Nice write up, Andrea. If these Dr’s are for after the conviction why are they being discussed now?

    Also – no, I see nothing that would change my mind

    31 days

    Reply
    • Mar 26 2011

      Hey Kim… They were initially for only the penalty phase – after conviction, but now, based on the recent opinions of these two doctors, the defense wants to use them in the guilt phase – aka the case in chief.
      You got that right – the 31 days cannot be erased in anyone’s mind.

      Reply
  2. Diana
    Mar 26 2011

    Well, She definately has a few screws loose, but she knew right from wrong or she wouldn’t have hid the body for a month and lied about it. What normal person would sit there doodling while they are discussing your daughters death?
    I loved to see Baez try to squirm out of the question about the head Drs. He said it was a SENSITIVE matter! Ha ha ha…..Casey doesn’t want to admit to being crazy. Too late for that!

    Reply
    • Mar 26 2011

      There is a lot
      Casey doesn’t want to admit but it is fascinating that after 2 days of listening to people discuss her baby decomposing in the trunk of her car being called of ‘diminished capacity’ is what rocked her conscience

      Reply
      • Mar 26 2011

        You are so right, Kim! And it’s just so sickening – horrible. I know she’s mentally ill, but like Diana says, she knows right from wrong. Anyway, you said it perfectly, Kim….

    • Mar 26 2011

      Hey Diana – You are absolutely right – she knew right from wrong but didn’t want to DO what was right. Just like Cindy and George, they know right from wrong, but they’re above the law so it doesn’t matter.
      Casey is definitely a far cry from normal – but perhaps for a sociopath, she’s pretty typical. Now, isn’t that scary!

      Reply
  3. Venice
    Mar 26 2011

    What happened to:
    “My client is innocent and we will all see the truth at trial”.

    L O L!

    Reply
    • Mar 26 2011

      This is a very good point, Venice. Between that and Mason walking Casey out on his arm – seems we lost a bit of bluster

      Reply
      • Venice
        Mar 26 2011

        Zuben really thought Mason was going to walk Casey out on his arm. Good Lord! His exact words were: “Why would such a high-profile lawyer take on a case pro-bono”? L O L! He also thinks Linda Kenney Baden believes in Casey’s innocence, but she’s too busy to come to Orlando. L O L!!!!

      • Mar 26 2011

        Let them have their fun, Venice. It acts as a counter weight to the reality of the situation.

      • Mar 26 2011

        Oh dear, Venus. He is a bit off the mark, I’d say. Linda Kenney Baden is not my favorite lawyer; she’s so annoying, she would make it worse for Casey… IMO…

  4. Mar 26 2011

    Would it change my mind as a juror? No as far as guilt and maybe as far as the DP. Anyone who murders is out of whack mentally. The prisons are full of narcissistic socio- and psycho-paths.

    Great write-up, Andrea. I loved the part where you bet HHJP was wondering if it was Jose’s state of mind. That should be checked out, too, imo. lol!

    Reply
    • Mar 26 2011

      Hey Sherry! I thought it was funny when Judge Perry (as smart as he is) said “whose state of mind”…. of course it’s Casey’s, but I thought maybe it was his little way of making a joke!!! I’m sure that’s not the case, but it struck me as funny at the time!

      Reply
  5. char
    Mar 26 2011

    Do you think the defense is going to go with the ugly coping theme again? I don’t think it will work because the state can show that she did the same things (lies, stealing etc.) before Caylee died the only difference is she didn’t go home to sleep an steal more money she just took from her so called friends instead.

    Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      Hi Char! I don’t know if they will go for the ugly coping theme – I think it may be too much of a stretch. I think they are going to use George as reasonable doubt…. And, you’re right that Casey did the same things before June 16th, too. I think it’s the big blow out with her mom that set her off, I really do… Now, whether the State can prove that is another story….

      Reply
  6. Linda
    Mar 27 2011

    Hi Andrea I think the defense should just put a sock in it… The jury is going to hear all about Ms Casey during the trial.. What is going to be the defense for all the rotten things she did before she killed Caylee? Lying and fooling everyone about her none job,looking up missing childrens web site, chloroform,neckbreaking,missing phone#s, Zaniada FG #s, stealing thousands from her mom……all her boyfriends and 1 night stands…not naming Caylees dad…….the list goes on and on………. What are they going to use for all of those excuses? I believe the jury will see her we do….Oh I forgot to mention stealing from her grandma and grandad……thats even low for her……. I think they will look at her for what she really is a liar, a thief, conartist, spoiled, selfish,and a bed-hopper……..I think after the jury hears all this, it won’t matter what these 2 doctors have to say…….after all its just the way Casey is……..

    Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      Hey Linda… I sure see your point, but all that you mention is NOT murder, and she’s been prosecuted already in the fraud/stealing case. I believe that George was not home when those Chloroform searches were done on the family PC, so it’s a fairly good guess that it was Casey who performed those searches… but, there is no proof of that, really. The more I think about this, the more I am sure the defense is going to make a strong case that the killer was George, and due to Casey’s state of mind with regards to George (they were not close, and she stated she was afraid of her parents), she couldn’t come forward – she was protecting George.
      That is the ONLY defense I think the nightmare team can come up with.

      Reply
  7. offthecuff
    Mar 27 2011

    The defense will use anything they can. A good sob story or “state of mind” angle can emotionally mess with any juror, even as they intellectualize the case. That’s what many doctors do. They take the right and wrong out of a situation and explain actions away as something else.

    Andrea, you gave some scenarios in which these doctors may maneuver the facts. Perhaps, they will try to explain that Casey comes off cool and confidant as a “defensive mechanism” whenever she’s truly scared, intimidated, and bullied. This is perhaps something her inner persona has built up through years of parental abuse (according to the Drs). “Normal” emotional reactions were seered off during childhood.

    Her parents expected perfection she couldn’t give, so she lied and got better and better as it “worked” with her parents (who let it go) and later in trying to keep up a good front with her friends’ perception of her.

    This is different than ugly coping. It would be explaining that she truly feels but comes off as stoic. She was truly grieving and looking for Caylee, but couldn’t express it properly, and looked like she was having a good time. She was truly scared during the 911 call, but came off sounding annoyed or like she lost a library book. She was truly bullied and terrified by LE but sounded like she was in complete control and emotionally dead, even gleeful. Her constant preening is a nervous acting out of this emotional disturbance.

    Yeah right. But we’ll see what they twist.

    Reply
  8. Hilde
    Mar 27 2011

    offthecuff, I really like Your take on this and I agree with Your Theory, it’s a very possible one.
    I can see the Defense going in that Direction in Order to explain Casey’s Demeanor while her Daughter was missing and after her eventual Arrest.
    JMO

    Reply
  9. Hilde
    Mar 27 2011

    Andrea, great Post!
    I also believe the Defense is going in the Direction of using a Mental Defect as Casey’s ultimate Defense. As of now the Defense doesn’t have a believable Case that is why the Mental Defect Strategy maybe is the last Straw for them to hang on to . 🙄
    Will it persuade the Jury’s State of Mind if the Mental Defect Defense Theory is used?
    I highly doubt it, it would not change my Mind!
    Casey knew right from wrong ! The Planning which went into discarding her own Daughter Caylee after her Death and dumping her little Body bagged in a Trash Bag in the Woods proved it. JMO
    The Jury will concentrate on All the Evidence and then only then will they be able to make a Decision, I will trust it will be the one who will bring Justice to Caylee.

    Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      Hey Hilde… Well, they can imply it, but in order for “mental defect” to be a defense, they would have to establish an insanity defense – they haven’t entertained that and I believe they would need to have done that in the beginning. But, “state of mind” can be used to explain away some of the behavior she exhibited…. I am sure they will have answers to all her reactions and her behaviors….BUT, they will have a tough time getting over the fact that Robyn Adams will say that Casey knew about the black bag, and the baby blanket – which only the killer would know. However, the defense can discredit Robyn since she’s serving a felony sentence right now. It will come down to whether Robyn is believable.
      I think, as horrid as the defense seems, they are going to try to bring forward some sleezy tricks to try to fool the jury…. I am sure of it.

      Reply
  10. carol
    Mar 27 2011

    I hope that judge perry will stop letting the dream team bring in more
    lawyers. Baiz is wasting the tax payers money and he thinks that everything is a big joke. Just like Casey herself. Make her take the state lawyer and get on with this case. Enough is enough. Baez will just give every body the run around. They can’t face the fact there there clainet murdered her daughter.
    Tell them to open there eyes. This is been going on for almost 3 years. And nobody else would get away with it like she does. Lets have justice for poor Caylee that never got a change in life because of her own mother that murder her so she can go out and party. You can see she doesen’t even miss her. Casey loves getting all this attention and things everything is a big joke.

    Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      Hi Carol, Yes. It’s a “waste, a huge waste” to the people of Florida – I’m one of them and it makes me furious! I really believe that the state is going to have their hands full, and will have to be very vigilant, when it comes to the nightmare team. As we’ve seen with Jose, he does try to circle around the truth of the matter and get witnesses to say what he wants them to say – He was unsuccessful with Dr. Vass because he was far too intelligent to be slipped up by Baez. But, I worry (just a little bit) that Baez, in his sneaky ways, may be able to twist things in just the right way to confuse a well-meaning witness and get them to agree with him…. That’s why the State will have to be on their toes… which I am certain they will be. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Yo
    Mar 27 2011

    Wouldn’t she have to say that she actually murdered her child for this defense to come into play? She’s still saying that she didn’t do it so how are they going to say that this was her way of coping. I mean, if she finally said that she did it and was coping horribly because of parental abuse or whatever cockamammy story she came up with, it seems it would only work if she came clean.

    Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      Hi Yo, I don’t think so. She can use this to explain her state of mind to explain the reaction, the 31 days, the partying, etc. I really, really think they are going to use the George did it angle and explain her reaction via her state of mind. And I agree with you, it is a cockamamie story! Big time cockamamie! “)

      Reply
  12. offthecuff
    Mar 27 2011

    No, no, of course Casey didn’t murder Caylee. But Caylee was gone! So her mental defect would explain why she didn’t call for help, why she reasoned (poorly) that she could find Caylee on her own during those 31 days, why she lied to everyone, and why she appears so guilty.

    Get rid of the trunk evidence or pin it on someone else and Casey is a poor mother with poor judgment and abnormal response mechanisms but not a murderer.

    But isn’t a mental defect of any sort a “diminished capacity” or mental illness with some name attached?

    If the Anthonys want Casey out so much why doesn’t one of them confess to the crime? All the same evidence could easily point their direction.

    Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      Hi Off the Cuff – Your comments are so thought provoking!
      I think your interpretation could be really close to what the nightmare team is considering. I think they will use George as reasonable doubt – he was nearly the last one to see Caylee, and because of Casey’s fear of George, his abuse, etc., she flipped out. However, I think that Casey would need to get on the stand to talk about the abuse – I’m not sure, but I think so. If it’s not brought up by the prosecution, the defense will not be allowed to discuss it unless Casey takes the stand. I am certain the State will not go in the direction of any abuse of Casey – it opens too many doors that could generate some sympathy for Casey (maybe – a big maybe to the sympathy part!)
      There is NO WAY Baez would risk Casey on the stand…. The state would eat her up and have her for lunch. So, some of the things the defense would want to use, they might not be able to bring up but through Casey herself.

      Reply
  13. EDRN
    Mar 27 2011

    Hi Andrea….bet you thought I dropped off the face of the earth…anyhoo.
    Did I hear Dillbeck (maybe another trial) mentioned at trial? Someone on another site posted about it and I was reading up on it and it talked about diminished capacity due to Fetal Alcohol Effects/Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAE/FAS). I wonder if they are going to throw Cindy under the bus and say she drank while she was pregnant with Casey.
    http://depts.washington.edu/fadu/legalissues/cc.21.html

    Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      EDRN!!! Yes I was wondered where the heck you’ve been! I thought maybe you were on vacation! Kim and I sure have missed you. 🙂

      Anyway, that is really interesting!! They surely may try to splain things via that condition….But, in florida they don’t recognize diminished capacity in criminal courts – I heard Judge Perry say that. BUT, there is no telling what they will try!
      I’ll take a look at that link now – thanks a bunch!
      Hugs!!! Missed you!

      Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      I just read the FAE/FAS info you’ve provided… They could use this in the penalty phase, I believe. Now I am confused, however, I didn’t think diminished capacity is permitted in Fla., I’ll have to ask my attorney friends……..

      Reply
  14. EDRN
    Mar 27 2011

    Maybe they won’t use the words diminished capacity…but some other euphamism they think up.

    Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      You got a good point there! And EDRN…Thank you so much for bringing this forward…. and especially for bringing the info for all to read… 🙂
      The more I think about it, the more likely it sounds. And, please someone correct me, but I THINK (not sure) that a condition that Lee had in his teens was a result of her taking a certain drug during pregnancy with Lee (it was not an illegal drug). There may be someone to testify that Cindy has or had a problem in the past…. I have no idea if that’s true, or not….

      Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      EDRN!!!!!!

      YAY!!!!!

      Waving!! 😀

      Reply
      • EDRN
        Mar 28 2011

        Waving and jumping up and down….hi ya Kim!!!!

      • Mar 28 2011

        😀

  15. EDRN
    Mar 27 2011

    For those who are interested……just a possibility I guess
    Dillbeck v. State
    643 So. 2d 1027 (Fla.)
    This case holds that in Florida courts evidence of FAE should be admitted at the guilt phase of a trial if offered to show that the defendant lacked the mental state (here premeditation) that is part of a crime.

    Dillbeck was charged with premeditated murder. The trial court refused to admit evidence of FAE at the guilt phase. Once Dillbeck had been convicted, the judge did permit introduction of that evidence at the sentencing hearing, and concluded that the defendant did have FAE. 643 So. 2d at 1028.

    The Florida Supreme Court held that Dillbeck should have been allowed to offer that evidence in order to establish a defense of diminished capacity.

    “Evidence concerning certain alcohol-related conditions has long been admissible during the guilt phase of criminal proceedings to show lack of specific intent. . . . [I]f evidence of a self-induced condition such as voluntary intoxication is admissible, then so too should be evidence of other commonly understood conditions that are beyond one’s control, such as epilepsy . . . . Just as the harmful effect of alcohol on the mature brain of an adult imbiber is a matter within the common understanding, so too is the detrimental effect of this intoxicant on the delicate, evolving brain of a fetus held in utero. As with ‘epilepsy, infancy, or senility,’ . . . we can envision few things more certainly beyond one’s control than the drinking habits of a parent prior to one’s birth. We perceive no significant legal distinction between the condition of epilepsy . . . and that of alcohol-related brain damage in issue here–both are specific, commonly recognized conditions that are beyond one’s control.”
    643 So. 2d at 1029-30.

    Although this decision is binding only in Florida courts, it should be persuasive authority in other states, most of which permit proof of intoxication or other conditions to show a lack of specific criminal intent.

    This decision also holds that the brain damage caused by alcohol use is a “commonly understood” phenomenon. 643 So. 2d at 1029. That may be important where a criminal defense attorney has failed to investigate the presence of FAS/FAE, and the defendant asserts that he or she was denied the effective assistance of counsel.

    The passage in this opinion which stresses that the disabilities caused by FAS/FAE are beyond the capacity of the victim to prevent may be helpful in arguing that FAS/FAE should be a mitigating factor in sentencing.

    The court concluded that the error of the trial judge in excluding the evidence would not have affected the outcome of the case, because there was substantial evidence that Dillard had carefully planned the crime.

    Reply
  16. Hilde
    Mar 27 2011

    Very interesting Comments inhere today! Makes One think what in the World the Defense will come up with when it comes to the Trial. 🙄
    I do agree with You Andrea, the Defense most likely will bring some sleazy Tricks to the Trial, that is pretty much guaranteed and won’t be no Surprise.
    Will the Jury be fooled by Baez’s desperate Attempt to confuse the Jury, I would think NOT!
    As the time gets closer to the Trial we will see more desperate Attempts in the form of unreasonable Motions being filed by the Defense. It should be very interesting where all this will lead.
    Judge Perry sure doesn’t have an easy Job with this Case. JMO

    Reply
  17. offthecuff
    Mar 27 2011

    Wonder what Judge Perry does to unwind from a long Baez day?

    Does he just sit back and chuckle and chuckle?

    Is he writing his memoirs or putting some ideas together as a ghost writer for a new, upcoming sitcom?

    Maybe he cries until he falls asleep…

    Reply
    • Mar 27 2011

      racquetball?

      anything that involves slapping something, anything good and hard, over and over again

      Reply
  18. damagdpets
    Mar 29 2011

    There seems to be quite a few ideas in the realm of what these doctors could come up with. Based on news articles I started to wonder if they could come up with a new one ” Battered Daughter Syndrome.” FAS is noted and has been used and the ugly coping set precedent last year. What needs to be understood is that the only way to qualify the doctors would be to have testimony from the Anthony family. Just like trying to qualify and accidental death they would have to put KC on the stand to do so. The defense could try to testify for her but will not work for a jury that needs an explanation.

    Reply

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