What happened today and Saturday is exactly what the State of Florida predicted would happen.
I’m not a lawyer, but it’s plain to see what went on today. For Jose Baez, and Casey Anthony, the fallout will be very, very serious, if the Judge applies the ultimate sanction of excluding defense witnesses.
Watching a few minutes tonight of HLN, a few talking heads, for their dramatic pleasure, were calling into question Mr. Ashton’s supposed failure to take depositions. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The talking, babbling heads are just plain wrong. But, drama sells.
Mr. Ashton, although he’s emotional and gets riled when Baez does not play by the rules, is following the rules; he knows what the rules are and he knows that Jose Baez is very slimy and conveniently excludes expert witness reports, which is a direct violation of court orders.
If you or I ignored a court order, we’d be in jail! Jose Baez, on the other hand, has violated court orders, not once, not twice, but THREE times.
When a lawyer willfully violates a court order that many times, I feel confident to say that Judge Perry will charge Baez with contempt of court when this trial is all over.
Contempt of Court is a criminal charge, requiring a trial. Baez will need to be represented by counsel. It is very serious.
Not only that, Jeff Ashton is proposing sanctions against Baez. Previously, when Ashton requested sanctions, the Court required that Baez pay fines.
There’s a big difference between sanctions and contempt. Contempt is very serious.
If Judge Perry charges Baez with contempt, the penalty could be revocation of the law license, fines, suspension, remedial classes, or jail time.
What happened today was NOT Jeff Ashton’s fault
Granted Mr. Ashton and Mr. Baez have a lousy working relationship, and though there are two sides to every story, I can tell you that Mr. Ashton is one hell of a lawyer, and he plays by the rules.
Mr. Baez, on the other hand, ignores the rules. Baez doesn’t like the rules of the criminal court, so he skirts them.
Baez said over and over today that Mr. Ashton had all the time in the world to take depositions, but he did not do it. Baez told the Court that Ashton has refused to take the deposition of Rodriquez and another expert witness regarding trace DNA.
Baez asked Judge Perry for sanctions against the State since they have not taken depositions, claiming the State “chose not to do so.”
If there’s no report there’s no retort
What Baez conveniently forgets are the rules!
There can not be a deposition of expert witnesses UNLESS THERE IS A REPORT FILED! (Sorry for yelling!)
This is where Baez is making up his own rules. As a result of the defense failing to provide the State (back in 2009, 2010, and 2011), with discovery, the Court was forced to lay down rules requiring that the defense provide expert reports.
As Judge Perry reminded Baez today, there were previously two Court orders on this matter. The first order was dated December 10, 2010. See the court order: Order Granting State’s Motion For Clarification To Compel Compliance With Order For additional Discovery
In this order, Judge Perry laid out, in plain English, what Baez must provide:
- The expert’s curriculum vitae or qualifications of the experts;
- The expert’s field of expertise or medical specialty;
- A statement of the specific subjects upon which the expert will testify and offer opinions;
- The substance of the facts to which the expert is expected to testify; and
- A summary of the expert’s opinions and the grounds for each opinion.
When the above Court order failed to move Mr. Baez into action, Jeff Ashton, since he is handling the expert witnesses, was livid and called for sanctions.
Judge Perry agreed with Mr. Ashton. Fines were imposed, and Court orders were re-written very specifically with regards to the reports required. These reports, ruled the court, must contain the following:
2. The defense shall provide written reports to the state from all expert witnesses which shall include the following information: a complete statement of opinions the witnesses will express and the reasons for those opinions, and any data or other information considered by the witnesses in forming their opinions or conclusions.
The above order from Judge Perry, on Jan. 6, 2011, outlines what Baez must do to comply with the court, and contains the sanctions imposed. This order is contained in the link below. See the Court order: Order Granting States Motion for Sanctions – Motion to Compel
“This Court Doesn’t Make Threats” ~ Judge Belvin Perry
Judge Perry advised Baez that he will not threaten, he will apply the rules of law as they apply. And, if anyone knows the rules of law, Judge Perry does.
It must be noted that because of Jose Baez, the State of Florida’s case is hampered and hurt. Discovery is a reciprocal process and when one side does not follow the rules, it results in ambush of the other side.
Jeff Ashton cannot take depositions if he does not have reports. So, here we are, in the middle of the trial, and Baez is lying, and disobeying court orders to gain advantage.
A trial is supposed to be a search for the truth. Baez does not have to prove anything, that is the State’s burden. Yet, he makes bold assertions about George Anthony, drowning and other such nonsense, attempting to prove Casey Anthony did not act alone. Of course, these assertions were made in opening statements, which does not have to be true – though most lawyers lay their case out as truthfully as they can in opening, it is NOT evidence. (By the way, the only way these allegations can be raised are by Casey Anthony.)
In reality, the only thing the defense is proving is they are burdened with a guilty client who is represented by a lawyer who will make up the rules as he goes along.
The truth and Mr. Baez are strangers.