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August 6, 2011


Judge Perry: The Chaos Theorist?

by Andrea O'Connell

Quite a while ago I wrote a post about the “Butterfly Effect,” (which is synonymous with the “Chaos Theory”), and it just occurred to me that the recent events in the Casey Anthony saga might be explained using that  model.

About the Butterfly Effect and The Theory of Chaos

The Butterfly Effect is part of the theory of chaos, and asks the question: If a butterfly flaps its wings a long way off, say Brazil, will that very sensitive little ripple of air reverberate elsewhere, causing unknown weather effects in Orlando Florida, or Paw Paw Michigan?

It’s very, very possible, says Norton Lorenz.

The term “butterfly effect” was coined by Edward Norton Lorenz, who was the first to ponder the chaos theorys application to weather patterns as something nonlinear and chaotic.

The Butterfly Effect or Chaos Theory is a very complex mathematical and meteorologic theory of how weather patterns align out of chaotic nonlinear events that may eventually become entwined.

A Chaos Theorist, then, tries to find some kind of order in a series of events that are nonlinear and chaotic.  The Chaos Theorist, may look at human behavior, or natural events, and try to find order.

Judge Perry as Chaos Theorist

In the fallout of the Casey Anthony probation issue, Judge Belvin Perry has been charged as the Chaos Theorist of sorts.

Like the flapping of a butterflies wings, a multitude of events converged to create the situation the Court is now in.

An event may get set off quite simply.  As in this situation, it started when a data entry clerk overlooked typing the words: “Upon release” to a court ordered probation.  Upon which, Judge Strickland, trusting that a court clerk correctly typed his orders, when in fact she hadn’t, overlooks reading the very same document.  And then, a defense lawyer, for whatever reason, doesn’t question that his client is on probation because a Department of Corrections employee, acting alone and out of a sense of duty, applies her own spin to a written order… and on and on.

All these things, and more, led up to Judge Strickland’s realization that his probation orders were not carried out.  With that realization, he is bound by law to correct it.

Though the defense lawyer Lisbeth Fryer claims it is out of vindictiveness that Judge Strickland acted, nothing can be further than the truth.  As is typical, when this defense team has a weak argument, they resort to using verbal diarrhea, and it’s disgusting.

The Legal Morass

Since the Chaos Theory can also be applied to human events or human systems, it could easily explain how a series of different events created what Judge Belvin Perry characterized as, “A legal morass.”

So, the question is this: What happened here?

It began with the underlying conflict of Jose Baez and the State Attorney, Frank George, each believing something different about how future events would unfold, meaning would Casey Anthony be found Guilty or Not Guilty in the murder trial?

At the time, Attorney Frank George argued that probation should happen immediately, while Anthony was awaiting trial for murder.

On the other side of the aisle, Jose Baez argued NO, he did not want probation to occur while Casey Anthony was in jail since she was not in jail for the check-fraud case.

It was clear that probation was warranted here.  After all, the charges were: 13 counts of check fraud, theft and fraudulent use of personal identification (using Amy Huizenga’s I.D. fraudulently).

The outcome was that Judge Strickland withheld adjudication on 7 charges but adjudicated her guilty on six counts.   And, being a very fair and thoughtful Jurist, Judge Strickland, acting Solomon-like, split the baby in half, and said:

We can’t withhold adjudication unless there’s a period of probation attached to it.  So we don’t know what the future holds here. If the State’s correct, there’ll be a conviction and lengthy prison sentence, or worse. If the defense is correct, there will be an acquittal and she will walk free.

I remember that day.  I remember when Judge Strickland said, “…or worse,” referring to the death penalty.

What is warranted?

I think many of us believe that probation is warranted and is only fair in this case.

Judge Belvin Perry, having reviewed the transcript of the hearing, reminded Jose Baez that he wanted probation to wait until the end of the  murder trial because he felt she would be found Not Guilty!

Sounds to me that Jose Baez wanted probation to start AFTER the trial, wouldn’t you agree?

Another question remains, why did the defense allow the probation to happen?  Was the State Attorney’s Office aware of this, too?

I seriously don’t believe the State Attorney’s Office was aware of this error and problem.  But the defense should have known!

I feel that most professionals understand that by allowing a mistake to fly by – keeping it under the radar, is a bad idea.  Mistakes like this one have a funny way of returning and biting you when you’re least expecting it (the universe seeks order, not chaos).

So, why did the defense not complain or bring up the mistake to the court?  Did they just not realize it was happening?  If so, that’s a very lame excuse and very unprofessional.  Of course, they would be loathe to admit this either way because it does not put them in good light.

It was a domino effect of errors.  And, because the original intent of the order was clearly for probation, I believe Judge Perry will find probation in this case is warranted.

After all, the Department of Corrections mistake caused no harm to Casey Anthony – there was no violation of her rights as far as I can tell.  Where is the double jeopardy?  Being visited by a probation officer, in jail, versus serving real probation, can’t equate to double jeopardy, in my opinion.

For a legal treatise on this subject, the popular and likeable Orlando lawyer, Richard Hornsby, wrote a great piece on this issue.

READ Richard Hornsby’s post here: For Judge Perry’s Eyes Only.

Video of Judge Strickland’s orders on Wesh.

The rest of my day….

What to do, what to do!  I am still exhausted from the last two weeks of teaching seven hours a day.  It’s grueling, but great at the same time.  And, I have another class beginning this Monday, also for two weeks.   So, I thought I’d have a long day of rest-up today.  Reading, watching a movie maybe, too.

Tomorrow morning Beau (my cat) has to go to the vet because he’s acting like a mad, mad cat – ravenous for food these past few weeks.

Beau has literally stolen food out of my mom and my hands!  Once he ran away with an entire sandwich in his mouth! And once he had a huge piece of a chicken carcass in his mouth!  My mom caught and held him while I pried the chicken out of his tightened jaw!

He’s never acted like this – it’s a total 360, as he’s normally quiet, inconspicuous, like a rag-doll.

I talked to my vet and she explained that his behavior sounds very much like Hypothyroidism, which, I’m now discovering, cats frequently suffer with.

Needless to say, Beau will be a mad as a wet hen in the morning, should he see the cat carrier before it’s time to go to the vet.  I’ll have to plan for this  covert operation and strategically place the carrier when he’s not looking!

It’s funny how animals scope you out and know exactly what you’re planning for them!  My dog, Jazz hates a bath.  He can tell when a bath is on the horizon.  All he needs to see is me taking a towel to the kitchen – he knows that means it’s time to run.  (He gets his bath in the kitchen sink.)

And then, when I put the towel surreptitiously in the kitchen area and begin to get his shampoo ready, or run the water in the sink, he runs!

Even when he’s in another room, his radar can sniff out trouble like a wizard.

Come to think of it, I don’t enjoy his baths, either.

I get soaked.

But, as much as he hates his bath – REALLY hates it – he LOVES when it’s over so he can race around like a flibbertigibbet on speed.

Okay… I’m off to start his bath…. I bet he can sense it’s coming even as I write this – after all, he’s a gifted mind-reader of a dog!  Aren’t they all?

There’s nothing like a dog!

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 6 2011

    Great post! I sure don’t envy HHJP.I do hope he thinks like Hornsby!

    Jazz sounds just like how my mini~ poodle was. He loved racing around the house then would race out to the back-40 and race around the veggie garden. I called it his spin cycle. I sure hope Beau will be OK.

    Have a lovely night~

    • Aug 6 2011

      Hi Sherry,
      I sure hope he reads Richard’s blawg too! And yeap, that’s just what Jazz loves to do – race around like Andretti!
      Thanks for the well wishes for my Beau baby. The vet says the medicine will really do the trick – I hoping it won’t cost a fortune.
      Hope you have a lovely night, too. I’m about ready to watch a movie – The Black Swan, which I never did see when it was released.

  2. Aug 6 2011

    I usually prepare the carrier the night before a scheduled visit to the vet. If the cats hear the clang of the door opening, they vanish. Impromptu visits are very, very tricky to arrange.
    I hope Beau’s health improves. A friend’s cat has hypothyroidism. He’s up in years but seems to be getting along well.
    Re: probation. I haven’t been following the Casey Anthony trial/aftermath, but it looks as if the For Want of a Nail Theory applies as well. One little prepositional phrase omitted from a legal document…

  3. Aug 6 2011

    P.S. Thanks for listing me in your blogroll. I appreciate it.

    • Aug 6 2011

      I see mine in the blogroll, too! Thanks, Andrea…now I am going to check out Kathy’s place…

      • Aug 6 2011

        You’re welcome, Sherry! I meant to post your link before now, and thought I had, but I must have forgotten to press “save” I think. It was an oops!

    • Aug 6 2011

      Hi Kathy! Thank you for visiting! I clicked on your link and fell in love with your writing and your blog! I look forward to reading more! Love the “for want of a nail theory” perfectly true! 🙂

  4. Aug 6 2011

    Andrea, I really liked your “butterfly/chaos effect” analogy. And, Shyloh’s statement ealier, referencing the “media” fear factor, got me to thinking of the countless times that the Defense Team has used the “media” as a shield, and as a sword, playing it to the hilt! (Used bloggers to hone their defense during trial, and as the continuous, preverbial death threat to her safety). When Casey left jail why was she not fitted with a bullet-proof vest, if they truly believed the threats were real? Why is she out shopping in broad daylight if they believed she was in any real danger? Why? The paper tiger, Administration Probation, that’s why. And, I’m betting my last nickel, Casey got plastic surgery, and the Defense will do anything to keep her from appearing.

    • Aug 6 2011

      Hi RahRah,
      You are absolutely right that the defense used the media as both sword and shield! Now they want to use the media as a ticket to wealth but Judge Strickland has put a monkey wrench in their plans and they are bursting with anger – fighting mad now! LOL! Gotta laugh at it, ii guess. 🙂

  5. Aug 6 2011

    p.s. Patchabelle has the same aversion to her carrier, I cover her in a bath towel so she can’t see the carrier, in another room, open and awaiting her and the towel!

  6. Aug 7 2011

    Blogroll? Ah, jeeze, I’m missing out again! (I was going to joke about the only roll i see going on is on my tummy, but that’s just not funny, lol!) Wow, that is really awesome to support one another like that! ~ the road to a friend’s house is never long!

  7. Aug 17 2011

    I’m putting together a short series explaining the implications of chaos theory on climate modelling, and I’ve just posted an article discussing the history of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ – it’s a really interesting story how Lorenz overturned everyone’s assumptions about how the world works almost entirely by accident (being observant and curious also helped.)
    The article is here, if you are interested:


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