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October 11, 2011


will it be belly up to the bar for Jose Baez?

by Andrea O'Connell

It has come to pass that Jose Baez, Lead Defense Attorney for the acquitted  Casey Anthony, is in the cross-hairs of the Florida Bar.  The Orlando Sentinel reported just today that there are two separate Florida Bar complaints against Mr. Baez.

Two complaints!  We don’t know the seriousness or the purpose of the complaints.  We don’t know who filed them.

What Led Up to the Current Bar Complaints? 

Jose Baez has been the subject of a lot of criticism.  His personal and professional life has been extensively reported on by the media.

Mr. Baez’ past is marked by behaviors that delayed his acceptance into the Florida Bar as a lawyer for a few years.  The Florida Bar took its time before it granting Mr. Baez his license to practice.   It was only in 2006 that he was admitted by the Bar.  He became involved in the Casey Anthony case in July of 2008.  Hardly time for the water to dry behind his ears, though that didn’t stop him.

It didn’t matter to Jose Baez that his experience was minimal at best in criminal cases, and he had NO experience with Capital Murder cases.   And, boy did it show.  He was like the court jester; but no one was laughing with him, they were laughing at him.

To be (somewhat) fair, Mr. Baez did improve as the months and the years wore on.  Oh, but his rogue-dog attitude never left him.

In my opinion, having closely watched his performance, I thought he was completely lacking ethics.  He was, in my opinion, a total sell-out to the truth.  Granted, Defense Attorneys have to be zealous advocates for their clients and ensure the government can prove the charges beyond any reasonable doubt, the goal should be to seek the truth, or am I being naive?

Both sides of the attorney aisle are adversarial by design.  They have tricks under their sleeves, but they usually don’t sell their soul to the devil to win a case.  Right?

Jose Baez in court. Photo credit: Red Huber, the Orlando Sentinel June 21, 2011

Jose Baez put his entire career on the line with this case; but he won it.  He won the case of a lifetime.

Was it a fair win?  I don’t think so, personally, but I accept the verdict because it is final and it is binding.  No one will be able to investigate Casey Anthony’s involvement into Caylee’s murder again.  It’s over and Casey Anthony should be left alone to live out the rest of her life.

If, like OJ Simpson’s foray into crime after his acquittal, she should engage in another criminal act, and get caught, she may see those grimy jail bars again, just like OJ did.  Time will tell if she can be rehabilitated.

Perhaps someday Casey Anthony will have an anonymous and happy life.   It’s debatable – the deck is stacked against her.

Who Filed the Complaints, and What is the Cause?

Of course, I am only guessing about this, but I have an idea of a couple of individuals who may have filed the complaints.

Judge Belvin Perry?

At the end of the trial, Judge Belvin Perry planned on having a hearing with regards to what sanctions to bring against Jose Baez.  However, when the defense won the case, nothing further was publicly addressed about this issue.  It was left on the table.  I thought at the time that it would seem like sour grapes, or prejudicial, to bring the sanctions up so soon after the verdict was announced.

I tend to think that Judge Perry took up the issue with the Bar in the form of a complaint rather than address it publicly in the Orlando Court.

I wrote an article about the violations that plagued the trial; it’s titled, Yet Again, Judge Perry says Legal Violation by Baez.

The fact is, Judge Perry and the State of Florida, particularly Jeff Ashton, had constant run-ins and legal battles regarding Discovery rule violations by Mr. Baez, who pretended he was unaware of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure which details EXACTLY how lawyers are to obey the rules of Discovery.

Was it Jeff Ashton?

Did one of the complaints come from Jeff Ashton?  Mr. Ashton was constantly thrown under the bus by Mr. Baez’ deliberate refusals to turn over evidence or expert reports.  (Perhaps it was  another attorney in the State Attorney’s Office, though I can’t see Linda Drane-Burdick filing a complaint, it’s certainly possible.)

There was a big issue about expert reports that were not filed.  Mr. Ashton wrote a motion that requested the Court hold Jose Baez in contempt.  I wrote an article about this, titled:  Show Cause or Else Be In Contempt.   This motion required Mr. Baez to argue why he should not be held in contempt.   As it turned out, he was not held in contempt, he was sanctioned – I believe the total was approximately $500.00.

Was it Stogskill Court Reporting?

Then there was the Court Reporting Fiasco in which a firm outside the state of Florida was used by the defense.  The issue here was the defense wanted to pay Stogskill Court Reporting Services, (after the work had been done) a rate that was lower than what the firm charges.  The owner of the firm wrote a letter of complaint to Judge Perry, stating he was lied to.  It is possible this firm could have written to the Bar.  The story is titled, More Defense Woes? 

Could it Be Brad Conway?

Maybe Brad Conway filed a complaint?   Was Mr. Baez aware that Laura Buchanan was going to falsify Texas EquuSearch (TES)  documents?  Brad Conway was inadvertently put in the middle of the TES fiasco.  Here’s a story about that issue, titled: Big Trouble for Baez?          

How a Bar Complaint Works 

According to the Anthony Colarossi, Orlando Sentinel Reporter, the two Bar complaints are concerning professional conduct during the Casey Anthony trial.   There are different levels a Bar complaint has to wind its way through.  The first level is a staff review.  Apparently, if the complaint ends at the Staff Review, it will go no further.  The other complaint against Mr. Baez stopped at this level.  In this instance, however, both complaints are headed to a grievance committee.  Below is how Anthony Colarossi explains it:

The Florida Bar confirmed Tuesday that two complaints over professional conduct filed against Casey Anthony attorney Jose Baez have progressed to a grievance committee.  This means the complaints have not closed without discipline and moved from staff level to the next point in the process.  The volunteer grievance committee is the rough equivalent of a grand jury. The nine-member panel will ultimately help determine whether to bring charges against Baez under Florida Bar rules of conduct.  It is not exactly clear what the two complaints involve, but they do cover Baez’s representation of Casey Anthony, according to Francine Walker with the Bar.

I’m told that Bar complaints take a while to process through the review phase.  It will continue to be a waiting game for Mr. Baez.  Something tells me he’s not worried; he’s beat these complaints once already….

I wonder if his Teflon will hold up?

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 12 2011

    Andrea sez:
    In my opinion, having closely watched his performance, I thought he was completely lacking ethics. He was, in my opinion, a total sell-out to the truth. Granted, Defense Attorneys have to be zealous advocates for their clients and ensure the government can prove the charges beyond any reasonable doubt, the goal should be to seek the truth, or am I being naive?

    If you are being naive, so am I! Like Jesse Grund said, “This was not about finding the truth. It was about winning.” Even Bill O’Reilley made me agree with him when he said, “If alleged murderers can get acquitted based on theoretical fantasies, then our entire justice system has collapsed. It’s that simple.”

    My opinion is that he used his inexperience to buy time and do things that were not according to legal procedures. Maybe this is the fine line he crossed with Judge Perry and Ashton and Conway and maybe even George Anthony to bring about the complaints.
    Baez is looking forward to seeing these complaints dismissed just as the others were. he believes its part of his martyrdom for the cause of justice as a defense attorney. I hope the Bar can humble this arrogant esquire.


    • Blanca Graham
      Oct 12 2011

      Sherry I agree with you. I don’t know much about law, but I could tell the inexprience of Baez. I saw in him a person with no ethics, insolent poking fun at Ashton and when he was laughed at by Ashton, he got mad. Yes I saw that he did unethical things claiming he wasn’t aware that what he was doing was wrong. So why did the Judge let him go on for ever. This case should have lasted a couple of weeks only…but by dragging it, he confused the jurors. I do believe there was enough evidence to give Casey at least manslaughter, but Baez dragged, put her parents on the stand for many times unnecessarily. I feel very sorry for him, he shouldn’t be in a criminal court case ever again.

  2. Oct 12 2011

    Cute title!!!


  3. Oct 12 2011

    Andrea, Mr. Baez’s conduct during the Casey Anthony trial is truly revolting. It is hard to believe that an accused murderer could find an attorney whose morals are lower than theirs are. How long will this Teflon pot and her pan continue to slide their way past the heat they deserve. Eventually justice will catch up with both of them. Even John Gotti, the original, “Teflon Don, “met his justice. No doubt this sad case has left most of us with a bad taste in our mouth. Truly, it has made me feel disgusted at our legal system. Caylee deserved much more from the justice system. One has to remember Casey’s mother was very much a part of the drama of this case. No doubt she cleaned out the car, and helped Baez, with his smoke and mirror defense. I often scratch my head at the jury’s behavior. Did someone influence them? We will never know. I would not put anything past the devious morally bankrupt Baez. Most of the legal eagles discussing the case state that Baez did not win because of his skills. It was luck. In addition, the dozen or more attorney who worked pro bono on the case, surly gave him an advantage Hopefully Baez will be punished by the Florida bar. Don’t hold your breath waiting.

  4. Oct 12 2011

    Andrea,”the goal should be to seek the truth, or am I being naive?”

    IMHO it depends on which table you are sitting in court. The prosecution with it’s evidence is seeking and trying to display the truth whereas any defense attorney will go beyond and even to the point of being admonished to try and win their case. I think we were all naive! I watched all the motion hearings from the very beginning. How many times did I hear judge Strickland or Ashton correct Baez in court because of the way one of his motions were written. They actually told him what was left out of a filing in order for it to work. This continued on with judge Perry. I wondered if it was an act,lack of experience or was Baez really reading the case law his researchers put into the motions. I like others waited for one of the judges to ask the defense team for a new lead attorney from the team. They couldn’t…they had a DP attorney on the team and Casey herself was asked in court if she thought her representation was what she wanted, she did not waver.

    The new bar complaints seem to have a little more teeth to them because they have advanced to the next step in the process. I don’t think it matters who filed them. Then there is the talk of Jeff Ashton and how he should be sanctioned for a bunch of reasons, guess what, I can’t find a complaint filed with the bar against anyone on the prosecution side. There is a minority out there that believe Ashton should be disbarred, Judge Perry should be stripped of his position and the State of Florida needs to make restitution to Casey Anthony for wrongful prosecution. Oh, how it makes me laugh!!! In being fair I have to say that after three years and at end of trial Ashton was loosing his cool. 20 years of prosecuting and I think even he was taken by surprise on what Baez was trying to get away with.

    Personally I still hold him responsible for the many times he went before a news camera, starting July 18, 2008, and said Caylee was alive and were actively investigating the baby sitter in several states. Just a few days before the remains were found Baez was on camera saying Caylee was alive. Then you have the opening statement filled with things that could not be proven but could throw shock to a jury. As an average person no one can tell me it did not fester in the juror’s mind. I wonder how it would be if the State Bar operated along the same lines that Baez does in court….what a thought.

  5. Oct 13 2011

    What bothers me most is that Jose Baez, in his opening statement, accused George and Lee Anthony of incest (using very shocking, inflammatory and vulgar language, intended to get the jury’s attention). At the end of the trial, it was clear that there was no truth to his accusations–which is why he never repeated them–but the jury still heard them, and I think some of them believed they were true.

    As I understand it, the law allows an attorney to say anything he wants during his opening statement, based on the theory that it was told to him by his client, and therefore is privileged. Therefore, George and Lee Anthony could not sue for defamation.

    I don’t think this was fair, and furthermore we’ll never know how much those accusations played a part in the jury’s verdict.

    If Jose Baez gets away with what he did, I can foresee a whole rash of bogus theories in future opening statements.

    Does anybody agree with me?

    • Oct 14 2011

      Hi misstier,

      Your points are excellent; and it’s true that what the lawyer says in opening is not evidence and doesn’t have to be “true”. But, lawyers can’t lie, either. Most attorneys will never promise a piece of evidence they cannot back up to the jury because they’d totally loose credibility. It seems that Baez didn’t care about that, he was desperate and pull out all stops to save Casey’s life. I don’t think he ever thought he’d get her acquitted, neither did the lawyer with the fat middle finger…:)

      Anyway, we’ll see how these bar complaints go.

  6. Lee Wells
    Oct 19 2011

    Baez is the worst possible excuse for a lawyer that I have ever witnessed. What really made me upset wad when Cindy Anthony started testifying about the chloroform searches, You could tell that he pretty much knew what she would say. It is bad enough that Casey got away with murder but add Baez into the mix and what you have is a lot of people who have made a mockery of our justice system. We all know it is true so why not just say it. That is why so many people want her tried in federal court for lying to the Feds. I don’t think it really matters what for, just so she gets there. It is nice that so many Americans are angry about the death of Caylee because it shows that it matters and we care what happens to defenseless people. I will never forget Casey Anthony. As long as I live I will wait for justice. As I have always said, “Justice isn’t always on time, but it will get here”. Casey will never have a normal happy life. That is a fact.

  7. Tmhco
    Nov 6 2011

    Thank you for this post. Of all the characters in this travesty, he is the one that gets to me the most. Who lets their client face the death penalty for an accident? He had neither the experience nor the resources to go to trial with this case. The fact that she was aquitted does not lessen that. He was lucky. That is all.

    Had this trial turned out the way it should have, he would have been a laughing stock.

    The prosecution was called bullies for knowing the law and using it in their favor. Ridiculous.

    I still laugh when I think of his opening statements. How vile do have to be to accuse your father of molestation to save your own skin? If it was an accident, really Casey, you couldn’t tell the truth to save your life?

    Now the networks are touting him as a legal expert? I will not have it. I will fight tooth and nail to make sure he is not rewarded for his immoral, disgusting, and unethical practices.

    I will never get to a point where I tell my kids that this is how our court system works. Maybe I was naive, but no longer.

  8. Sammy Jean
    Nov 6 2011

    I will always Believe Twat-mom & her legal team made fools of the Entire US legal system, I do not understand why they were given so much room to make false alligations, and engage in known perjury? And I am also curios to know how many lawyers, house & protect thier clients after they are aquitted for crimes? this entire team seems to have stepped outside the ethical boundries roles where Casey is concerned?


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