There were three new motions filed in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony case published today.
In one motion, MOTION FOR EXAMINATION BY MENTAL HEALTH EXPERT, the State of Florida is objecting to the testimony of defense experts, Drs. Danzinger and Weitz.
In the next motion, MOTION IN LIMINE AS TO TESTIMONY OF MENTAL HEALTH EXPERTS, the State requests that the court allow their mental health expert examine Casey Anthony, too.
The defense responded to these two State motions with its own motion, DEFENDANT’S RESPONSE TO MOTION FOR EXAMINATION BY MENTAL HEALTH EXPERT.
In short, the defense wants to present the two mental health experts in their case in chief, but seeks to block the State from examining Casey Anthony with their own mental health experts. So much for playing fair!
The defense is seeking to preclude any psychological examination that the State will order of the defendant.
If a state expert examined Casey, it would be disastrous for the defense. The State is likely to conclude she does not suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), nor is she able to claim “diminished capacity”. The State’s mental health expert just may conclude that Casey is an evil, cruel, callous individual who also happens to be a murderer.
If the defense seeks to explain away the 31 days, countering the State’s consciousness of guilt evidence the 31 days insinuates, doesn’t it seem as if the defense, by trying to argue away the 31 days, are in a sense stipulating that a consciousness of guilt exists?
If I were on the jury and mental health experts attempted to explain away conduct during the 31 days, I would weigh it against other factors. Those other factors would be: The multiple witnesses in the State’s case who will testify to the defendant’s actions, behaviors, and general countenance PRIOR to and DURING those 31 days.
The jurors will hear testimony from people who experienced Casey Anthony during the time surrounding the murder, rather than an expert who interviewed her in the jail, only to conveniently conclude her actions are excusable and are due to PTSD.
The jury will hear from Tony Lazarro, Ricardo Morales, Amy Huizenga, and dozens of others who will help the State paint a picture of Casey Anthony as a party girl during those 31 days, and before. No one with PTSD acts like Casey did during the 31 days – jurors aren’t stupid!
As the State points out in their motion, the defense cannot “explain away” those 31 days without also hearing from the State’s experts. In addition, the State points out in their MOTION IN LIMINE AS TO TESTIMONY OF MENTAL HEALTH EXPERTS, that experts should not testify unless Casey Anthony gets on the stand to “explain away” her actions in the 31 day time frame.
We know that Casey Anthony will not testify – that would be suicide. Therefore, it stands to reason that these experts will be seen ONLY in the Penalty Phase of the trial, which is the proper assignment for this testimony if Casey does not testify.
The defense needs these experts, but they cannot have their cake and eat it, too. The State must be allowed to present reciprocal mental health evidence.
The defense wants to use these experts as rebuttal against the consciousness of guilt factor, but as the state points out, the defense is not proffering that Casey suffers from “any clinical or personality disorders as recognized by the American Psychiatric Association,” nor does the expert testimony comport with any of the charges in the State’s indictment.
What I found most bizarre in the defense motion is they want to proffer hypothetical scenarios that will explain away the 31 days. It appears they want to use a hypothetical person whose hypothetical behavior in a hypothetical 31 day time frame was based on PTSD.
In other words, the defense will not say this scenario is true of Casey’s actions, but can be applied to the defendant. Really?
The defense, in their motion, wrote about using hypotheticals:
This will give jurors an understanding [of] the issues of this case and provide an alternative explanation other than consciousness of guilt.
If only it were that easy.
Is the defense conscious of their clients guilt?
I would say, it appears so.