Before discussing the news of the day, I want to tell you about my new blog look! It’s the newest WordPress blog theme – just released today.
The theme is called iTheme2; created in appreciation for Steve Jobs, and Apple.
What do you think? Do you like it?
I’d love to hear your constructive feedback. Is it easy to read and navigate in? My favorite thing about this blog is the sliding post feature at the top of the Home page!
Now for the news of the day
The Orlando Sentinel’s Anthony Colarossi, is reporting that the Florida Bar has disclosed the nature of the two (2) complaints against attorney Jose Baez.
Complaint One: As expected, one of the Florida Bar complaints against Jose Baez is regarding his failure to produce expert witness discovery. This took place in January of 2011, when Judge Belvin Perry ordered the defense to produce expert witness discovery by a certain deadline date. When the defense failed to comply, Judge Perry concluded that the defense willfully violated its court order and ordered sanctions.
Prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, frustrated by the refusal of Jose Baez to follow the rules of discovery and the court, advised the court that the defense had a history of deliberately skirting deadlines, and contempt or sanctions should be imposed.
Jose Baez was sanctioned by the court – ordered to pay $583 as penalty.
This is the very issue now up for review by the Florida Bar.
I wonder if the Bar is also looking at a similar violation that occurred in June 2011, during the trial, over defense witness Dr. William Rodriquez.
This was another typical scenario in which Baez attempted to hide certain aspects of Dr. Rodriquez’ testimony, clearly to ambush Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton. Baez must think that “Perry Mason Moments” are a make it or break it strategy in the courtroom. The truth is, defense lawyers want to win, and some of them will do whatever it takes to get a leg up – rules be damned.
If the Florida Bar fails to act, it will set a bad precedent, perhaps encouraging other lawyers to bend the laws, too. We can’t have that!
Complaint Two: This complaint surrounds the felony check fraud charges that Casey Anthony was found guilty of prior to the murder trial.
The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland found Anthony guilty on 6 of the 13 charges of check fraud.
Judge Strickland sentenced Anthony to time-served, and one year probation to be served after the murder case is concluded. Judge Strickland, who, by the way, is retiring at the end of this year, was very clear in his ruling, but a court clerks written report erred in its description of how the probation was to be served. The error only came to light at the conclusion of the murder trial. Judge Strickland realized his court order was not followed and resubmitted the probation order.
The defense fought hard to throw out the probation. They were desperate to prove that applying probation would be akin to double jeopardy, since Anthony served probation while in jail.
That argument, so weak, went no where and Judge Perry ordered Anthony to serve her probation as Judge Strickland originally ordered.
During the hearing concerning this issue, it came to light that Baez knew she was serving probation in jail, but didn’t correct the situation.
It’s against the law for you and I to violate a court order. When a lawyer willfully disobeys a court order, there should be consequences. If a lawyer cannot follow the basic rules of procedure required for an officer of the court, the system is in trouble. Let’s hope the Florida Bar agrees.
Early retirement for my favorite Judge
I just read this evening that the Honorable Stan Strickland is retiring from the Bench beginning December 31, 2011.
Judge Strickland has served Central Florida in the 9th Circuit Court for 21 years. He spoke briefly to Anthony Colarossi, reporter for the Orlando Sentinel today, and said:
Once it becomes tedium, it’s hard to continue on. It’s hard to explain: You just know when it’s time, and it’s time. ~Judge Stan Strickland
Reporter Colarossi asked Judge Strickland if the Casey Anthony case had anything to do with his decision to resign, the Judge said:
Did that have a part in the wearing process? Sure. But not a part in the ultimate decision.
I am happy for the Judge, but sorry for the people of Central Florida who are losing one of its finest.
So many of us – everyone visiting this blog – have shared their thoughts regarding Judge Strickland’s nonpareil service to the Casey Anthony case; he is held in hight regard here.
I have the highest regard for Judge Strickland. Not only is he an excellent Jurist, he’s a very nice man.
Socrates, writing in approximately 470 B.C., wrote the following, which I think sums up perfectly who Judge Strickland is:
Four things belong to a judge:
to hear courteously,
to answer wisely,
to consider soberly, and
to decide impartially. ~ Socrates
It’s as if Socrates had Judge Strickland in mind here, don’t you think?!