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Posts tagged ‘Jeff Ashton’

17
Jun

I’m still here!

I know, I know…. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve popped in to blog – I even missed the last two Weekly Photo Challenges…. Horrors!  I plan to do those momentarily.

I’m having this battle with myself about taking time to blog.  I feel guilty taking the time when I have so much work to do….  I’m working from home now – doing Instructional Design consulting.  Yeap.  I took the plunge to work for myself!

I’m working on a website and two business blogs right now – it’s a huge task.  I have them all set to go as far as how they look and feel, but still developing the content, which is the major task.

I haven’t been following the Casey Anthony goings-on, but have heard that a movie, based on Jeff Ashton’s book,  is in the works.  Good for him!  I’m glad he’s doing so well.

I heard through the grapevine that Jose Baez has a book out, or has one coming out – I’m not sure which it is.  I’d venture to say few people will want to read it.  What can Jose Baez say other than “I told ya’ so!” (Which no one in their right mind believed was possible at the time.)

It still floors me.  We all thought, no way can such an inexperienced trial lawyer win that case!   Hah!  He did it.  We all wore eggs on our face after that, big time.

I’m amazed that the Casey Anthony story continues to generate news!  It’s so crazy!  I get Google-Alerts on the topic of Casey Anthony and it never fails that EVERY day, somewhere – someone is talking about something related to that trial.  It seems to be a foregone conclusion that little Miss Beautiful Life is going to have a perpetual OJ Simpson-like reputation for life.

Well, life goes on, doesn’t it? It doesn’t change much, but it goes on!

Here’s a little gift from me:

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3
Jan

will 2013 bring a new State Attorney to Orlando? you betcha!

On the steps of Orlando’s Ninth Circuit Courthouse, retired Assistant State Attorney and all around great guy, Jeff Ashton, announced his candidacy for State Attorney!

It’s a good move by Jeff.  You can’t help but like him, right?  He surely has the visibility and name recognition to get votes.  His visibility in the public as a result of the Casey Anthony trial, where he’s known for putting on a really good fight with colleague Linda Drane-Burdick and Frank George, was effectively expansive.  His book is doing well, and his history with the State Attorney’s Office is memorable considering his ground-breaking work with introducing DNA, and other scientific methods, into the justice system for the first time.

As far as his track-record as a prosecutor, I don’t have specifics, though I have only heard glowing things about his record.  The big question:  Is he fair?  I believe he is.

Regarding the loss of the Casey Anthony trial, I cannot imagine anyone would blame Jeff and the other prosecutors for losing that case.  If the State Attorney’s office deserves any blame (and I’m not convinced it does), it could be argued that Jeff’s boss. and now rival for State Attorney, Lawson Lamar, could take some of the blame for over-charging Casey Anthony with the death penalty.

Jeff Ashton campaign image via http://www.electjeffashton.com

But, this story is not about Casey Anthony.  This is about Jeff Ashton and his announcement to run, as a Democrat (yet another reason Jeff is my guy!), for the State Attorney’s Office.

I have never met the man, but have grown to respect and admire him.  I would vote for him!  Well, if I lived in the Orlando area, I would.  I’d definitely want to work on his campaign, too.  That would be great fun.

To access Jeff Ashton’s new campaign website, the URL is http://www.electjeffashton.com.

Here’s his logo (below).  Click on the logo to go to his website.  You can sign up for email alerts, volunteer to help, make contributions and endorse Jeff at the website, if you’d care to.

Jeff Ashton logo via http://www.electjeffashton.com

More Big News…

On a separate note, with regards to the Casey Anthony trial, I have a BIG surprise for my readers!

I have had the great fortune to interview one of the major players in the Casey Anthony trial.   I am really excited and will post the interview tomorrow.

Stay tuned!  I think you’ll like it.  🙂

27
Dec

Casey Anthony – can we give her the not guilty verdict, finally?

As my Orlando vacation nears its end (I’m heading home tomorrow morning), I suppose it’s fitting to discuss the Casey Anthony saga, which like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps going and going and going….

Since the story began, in 2008, I was enthralled with it.  Anxious to know the truth about how and why the darling Caylee Anthony, just two years old, could have been murdered, I read nearly everything about the case.  I even signed up for daily Google emails that provided links to the bigger stories related to the case.  I still receive the Google daily emails since there continues to be plenty of stories about the Casey Anthony saga in the news.

Today my Google email contained a link to Hal Boedeker’s blog, in the Orlando Sentinel.  Hal is the “TV GUY,” and regularly writes about the Casey Anthony coverage on TV.  I always enjoy what he has to say.  He never fails to deliver the goods.

And then there was a story from “The Examiner dot com,” which is a local online news outlet.  The Examiner is kind of like a big blog that delivers news stories that don’t usually make it to the big media outlets.

The Examiner’s Casey Anthony story today makes the claim that Casey Anthony took “The Fifth” in her recent deposition for the Zenaida Gonsalez civil law suit, because she may fear Federal charges.

It is amazing that a news outlet would even proffer that idea!  Perhaps the Examiner simply wants to stir up their audience.  As most news media know, the Casey Anthony story continues to sell. So, milk it, milk it, milk it!

The facts, however, remain.  Federal charges are just not going to happen in this case.  Clearly some followers of the trial in which Casey Anthony was found Not Guilty, desperately want Casey Anthony to pay for a crime she is believed to have committed.

The Examiner was wrong to write such a story without providing details and facts. Instead, they say:

Anthony’s decision may have less to do with financial repercussions resulting from pending law suits and more to do with the very real possibility that Anthony may be tried in Federal court for her role in the child’s death.

Since Anthony’s acquittal, numerous petitions have been brought forth by angry members of the public demanding that justice be served. Petitions filed include those directed at the United States Attorney General, seeking federal charges against Anthony.  Link to story here.

The Examiner provides a link to the petition, but fails to report that the petition is no longer active.

Not Guilty means Not Guilty

The Casey Anthony verdict was very upsetting, there is no denying that.  However, the verdict was final.   There is nothing anyone can do to Casey Anthony about the murder of Caylee now.

Casey Anthony is NOT guilty.  She’s free, physically, but hardly free in any other sense.

She will be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life, afraid of the nut-cases in the world who would like to do her harm.  And, that is very, very sad.

I will take flack for saying this, but I have some compassion for her situation.  She is legally free – our system let her go.  She should be able to have a normal life, but she never will. Well, perhaps when she’s an old woman, has changed her name, and moved well away from Florida she may experience the freedom the legal system handed to her.

And so, the Examiner story is not only misleading, it’s also not credible.  For Casey Anthony to face Federal charges would be double jeopardy under our legal system.

There are plenty of bloggers who disagree with me, and tell me as much when I write about this topic.   People like to bring up a law called “Dual Sovernity.”   These bloggers contend that the FBI and the Federal government should prosecute.  Our system doesn’t work that way.  Without going into a long description of dual sovernity – Here’s a big-picture definition: It affords the US government certain rights, allowing them to retry certain aspects of a case, even when a defendant was found not guilty.  I believe it’s a law rarely used.

The important fact to remember, in the Anthony criminal case, the Federal government had no jurisdiction whatsoever – they still don’t.  Plus it is the State who brings the charges in a criminal matter.

The argument I hear people make is, “Well, Casey Anthony lied to the FBI.”

No, she did not lie to the FBI. She was never interviewed by them.

The day Casey was indicted, when the two FBI Agents spoke to her (which we all saw on video), she was protected by the US Constitution, particularly, by her Sixth Amendment right to counsel and her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.  (This is commonly a protection that people use when they “Plead the Fifth,” which Casey Anthony has done in the law suit brought by Zenaida Gonzalez.)

So, when the FBI talked with Casey the day she was indicted, she had already invoked her right to counsel, therefore, anything she said could not be used in a court of law against her.  Period.

This is how our US Constitution protects us – you and me and Casey Anthony, too.  Be happy about that.

If the Federal government were able to press charges against Casey Anthony, that would mean the government would have absolute power over the citizens of this country.

Without the protections of our US Constitution, although I am not an expert on it, we would be nothing more than slaves to another entity, a government or a dictatorship, or a King…..etc.

So, give Casey Anthony her Not Guilty verdict.  She has earned it. Sad it is, but she is not responsible, under the law, for the death of her daughter.

For all of these reasons, I find it profoundly sad that any media representative would hint at Federal charges in this case.

Smarmy!

The other story I wanted to talk briefly about was Hal Boedeker’s article about what Jeff Ashton said on HLN with Vinnie Politan, about Jose Baez.  Ashton called Baez “smarmy.”  I nearly choked on the yogurt I was enjoying as I read that!

Oh how most of us agree!

According to Hal Boedeker, Ashton also discussed the “lies” (Ashton’s words) told by Jose Baez during the trial!  Holy Cow…. Oh Golly, Miss Molly!  He actually said THAT?  Yeap!

You’ll just have to read it the Boedeker piece!  It’s too good to miss.  Here’s the link.

I heart Jeff Ashton – big time!

21
Dec

random casey anthony news

It’s almost midnight and I’m not finished with this blog post! Plus, I still have to do some online banking, finish my photography gallery, and pack for Orlando.  Hah!  I was also going to make brownies.  I don’t think so!

So, I’m heading out to Orlando to visit my brother (I hope it’s cold there, it’s HOT in South Florida), for about a week.  While I’m there I plan to meet Dave Knechel, aka Marinade Dave.  What a super nice guy he is! He and I have chatted on the phone, but we haven’t yet had a chance to meet.   I am looking forward to hearing all his stories about the Anthony case.  I am so looking forward to meeting you, Dave!

And, I’m going to meet another blogger, Susan, who often comments here, and who followed the Casey Anthony trial with the rest of us. That’s going to be fun!

And, speaking of the Anthony saga, I hear that Roy Kronk, the angel who discovered Caylee Anthony’s remains in December of 2008, is definitely going forward with his lawsuit.  I’m not a fan of lawsuits, personally, but if anyone deserves to be compensated for the horrible lies the defense spread about him, Roy Kronk deserves his due and his day in court.

The way I understand it, he’s suing Casey Anthony herself, not her defense team. It was the Anthony defense team, namely her lawyer, Jose Baez, who did a job maligning Roy Kronk.

Mr. Kronk was accused of every evil deed imaginable via the Anthony defense.   It’s horrible that a man can be dragged by his ear through the mud and muck by a sneaky, snarly and salacious lawyer.

What the heck!  You would think a lawyer would have to have some kind of proof before he casts such stones and throws mud on a poor little guy, right?

According to Anthony Colarossi, Orlando Sentinel reporter, the crux of Kronk’s lawsuit against Casey Anthony, goes like this:

“If Casey Anthony’s story is true that Caylee Anthony drowned in the family swimming pool on June 16, 2008, then she knew that the statements she authorized and permitted her agents to publish were false,” the Kronk suit states.

“In an attempt to find someone other than herself to blame for the tragic death of her child, Casey Anthony authorized and permitted her attorneys, as her agents, to make false and malicious statements against Kronk, and to portray him as the murderer of her child,” the complaint adds.

The lawsuit also says Anthony, through her attorneys, refused to retract the damaging statements about Kronk.  Read the story.

If Zenaida Gonzalez, who also has a lawsuit against Anthony, was treated like Mr. Kronk was treated, she might have a real lawsuit, too!  What happened to her was like first-grade bullying compared to the out-and-out “Destroy Roy Kronk campaign.”  

The sad thing about the Roy Kronk lawsuit?  He has to get in line and wait with the other plaintiffs. He, and the other plaintiffs, have to wait until Casey Anthony’s gravy train comes (which is likely to be never), before he’s made whole.

The only way Casey could earn any money to pay off the lawsuits is to score a TV or book deal.   But that won’t work, I don’t think as there’s not a television network anywhere in the vicinity of the United States who wants to touch an interview with Anthony.   The public would turn on any network faster than you could say “Exorcist.”   And that horror story, by the way, is better suited to rerun than any Baez/Anthony interview.

Any one have pea soup for dinner?

Okay, it’s after midnight now.  Before I go, I wanted to say that there was another odd story out today in the Anthony saga.

This story has to do with Dr. Keith Ablow’s, the forensic psychiatrist who recently published a book about his take on Casey Anthony’s pathology, titled “Inside the Mind Of Casey Anthony.”  I believe this book was released around the same time as former prosecutor Jeff Ashton’s book “Imperfect Justice” was released.

According to Anthony Colarassi, of the Orlando Sentinel, Dr. Ablow was approached about working a book with Casey Anthony while giving her psychological treatment.  Now if that isn’t a nutty idea!

Dr. Ablow declined the opportunity to get reeled into a book.  Though, Ablow countered their offer and suggested he treat Casey at no charge, to help her recover.  They said, No.

It’s too bad.  It was good of Dr. Ablow to offer (I bet he’d write another book, too!  Hah, that would really frost them!)

Seriously, Casey Anthony should get the help she needs.  Sadly though it sounds like the Anthony “team” have their priorities backwards.  It sounds like they are focusing on money first, health later.

Never a very good idea.

Oh nooooooo!

So, now it’s well past midnight, and I still have finish this blog post, do my banking, finish my photography gallery, and pack for Orlando.

See you soon Dave & Susan!

22
Nov

SRO for Jeff Ashton

awwww!  The Orlando Sentinel has a story about Jeff Ashton’s book signing appearance at the Orlando Public Library last evening.  It was Standing Room Only – SRO for the former Orlando Assistant State Attorney!

I like the fact that Ashton is receiving accolades.  It is well-deserved feedback for an interesting book and a great fight for justice for the little victim, Caylee Marie Anthony.

But, darn!  I just missed seeing him!  I’m heading to Orlando today.  Taking my mom and dog to spend Thanksgiving with my brother.

Mom and I plan to shop until we drop, visit a little town called Cassadega, which is a spiritual colony, I guess you could call it.  It’s a small community of people who offer metaphysical arts – a whole community of Physics!  It’s near Orlando.

Mom and I also plan to rest and relax and read – a lot!

And speaking of Cassedega….  I wonder if this community of people, since they were so close to Orlando, used their physic ability in the Anthony case?  I wonder if they get involved in any missing persons cases – there are a lot of them in Orlando!

We know there were psychics involved in the Anthony case.  I can’t remember the name of the woman who Dominic Casey supposedly spoke to on the phone while poking around in the swamp near the area where little Caylee was eventually found.   Perhaps they were from this little place called Cassadega that my mom and I want to visit?    I’ll look into that while I’m there.

I am not a 100 percent true believer in psychic power – but I enjoy speaking to Physics, when they are good.  The reason I am skeptical?  There are pretenders out there.   There are people with a true gifts who are able to reach a universe outside of the one we live on.  Maybe they have access to a higher intelligence and are able to see a community of people who have left our lives.  I have talked to total strangers (physics) who described to me what my dead relatives looked like, and even described words they’d commonly use in conversation.  I have to admit, it is a bit unnerving.

Getting back to my Orlando trip, I do hope to visit the Orlando Courthouse tomorrow, if there is time.

I don’t plan to visit the area off Suburban Drive where Caylee was found, or go anywhere near the Anthony home – I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

I’m sure I’ll travel on roads I’ll recognize from the Anthony case.   I trust my GPS will steer me well away from HopeSpring Drive.

Here’s the story by the Orlando Sentinel of Jeff Ashton visit to the Public Library: click here.

21
Nov

See the big picture, whack #7 as applied to Casey Anthony jurors

I like to talk about big pictures and today’s Creative Whack #7 is right on the money.

Jeff Ashton, one of the Prosecutors in the recent Casey Anthony case, makes a point that the Anthony jurors, in finding Casey Anthony not guilty of murder, totally missed the big picture.

I completely agree with Mr. Ashton’s assessment.  I would add, though, that the jurors also completely ignored the chain of evidence.  Those chain links should have come together very neatly for the jurors, that is if they even attempted to consider their solemn oath and the Golden Rule of jury service:  review the evidence!

Each each chain link of circumstantial and forensic evidence should have wound around Casey’s wrists and ankles for a very long time to come.  That’s even true in Fairy Tales, but not in this tale.

The fact that Casey Anthony got away with murder despite so much evidence is no Fairy Tale.  It’s unbelievable – incredible.  It certainly seemed like the perfect storm happened when these jurors were put together, as fate would have it, in Pinellas County.  How twelve completely like-minded people could come together without any dissenting  opinion is eerie.

Was it a matter of “GroupThink” where the threat of thinking differently from the group is too upsetting to an individual?  When in the throes of  GroupThink, it’s nearly impossible to stray from the one mind that has developed in a group.

Just like the Iowa farmer saw only tracks and trains, the simple jurors seemed to hang their not guilty verdict on the Medical Examiner’s inability to state a cause of death.  This is perfectly understandable since little Caylee Marie’s body was completely skeletonized.

Since there was no cause of death, did the jurors think a murder couldn’t be proven and therefore never happened?

Even though the manner of little Caylee Marie Anthony’s death was determined to be homicide, it also stated “by undetermined means.”   Did the jurors question whether a homicide even happened as a result of the “undetermined means” part?

So, had the jurors looked at each piece of the chain – like the train tracks and the locomotive follow a path – they would have known:

  • 100 percent of the time people cal 911 for help in drowning situations.
  • Only a mother guilty of a crime against a child fails to report their child missing.
  • Children are not double bagged and dumped in a swamp with duct tape around their face.  That is murder plain and simple.  Whether it was strangulation or drugging doesn’t really matter in the big picture, it’s still murder.
  • When forensic experts, multiple law enforcement personnel, cadaver dogs, and others familiar with the distinct smell of human decomposition and testify that death was in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car, that should be proof-positive that it was not the odor of a bag of garbage.
  • When it is proved that a strand of Caylee Anthony’s hair showing dark banding at the root because of decomposition, it should mean the child was in the trunk.
  • When NO evidence is produced linking George Anthony to Caylee’s death, it means he should not be considered as a murderer.
  • When NO evidence is provided that remotely suggests George Anthony molested his daughter, it means that is not a factor in deciding guilt.
  • When a mother whose daughter is missing for a very long time gets a tattoo that means “Beautiful Life” it would suggest things are better without the daughter.
  • High levels of chloroform found in air samples from the trunk of the mother’s car and mixed with the odor of decomposition, suggests it is reasonable to believe chloroform  was used to subdue little Caylee Marie.
  • When a Google search and page hit about “How to make chloroform” is found on the unallocated file space of the mother’s computer, chances are good that chloroform was used in the murder.

There are more factors that taken together, provide a clear picture AND a complete picture frame around this murder.  The jurors should have painted such a big picture for themselves and come to the only conclusion possible:  Murder.

This jury, rather than paint the big picture, inhaled the paint fumes and in the end couldn’t even paint by the numbers.

16
Nov

dig deeper, whack # 5

 

I have so many things I want to talk about, but I don’t have much time because I’ve had my nose in the Nook reading Jeff Ashton’s book, which I am enjoying so much.  

I love his attitude toward the sickening defense and their inane theories, especially the George Anthony lie, which the State called the Nuclear Lie.

I am enjoying reading about the back story regarding the defense’s obnoxious Discovery violations, and all the excuses Baez made.  I love how Mr. Ashton describes the situation in which Baez stipulated about the Dr. Vass testimony, and then like a petulant child, said he was coerced into signing it  except it was Dorothy Sims who wrote it for Baez to sign!

And there are many other interesting stories and thoughts that are fascinating in retrospect.

Anyway, I have another Creative Whack to share!  This one is titled, Dig Deeper, and it’s one of my favorites, and absolutely true in every sense:

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it’s the only one you have.  ~ Emile’ Chartier

I would like to make a button with those words and wear it on my lapel every day at work…. but that would be rude.

Better to tape it to my forehead!

15
Nov

look somewhere else, whack #4

Here’s another Creative Whack from Roger von Oech, creator of the Creative Whack Pack – a deck of 64 amazing cards to “whack” us out of old and habitual ways of thinking, allowing us to see with fresh eyes and an open mind. 

I like the message of this card in particular.  I don’t know about you, but I get into ruts from time to time.  I am in a pesky rut these past couple of weeks as a result of allowing negative people in the workplace get to me.  People who are so old-fashioned and stiff, I feel like I have to salute them.

Needless to say, my workplace operates with a very old-fashioned mindset.  The work I am doing now is the same kind of work people were doing in the early 1980’s.  Not only are the tools I have to work with antiquated, so is the vision of some people in my workplace.  That’s what happens, I guess, when the leaders in an organization stay in positions for years and years.  It’s always good when outside perspectives are allowed in.  Allowed is the operative word, however.  Therein lies the rub.

It’s like how Jeff Ashton describes the personalities of Cindy and Casey Anthony in his new book, Imperfect Justice.  (Which I am really enjoying but only half way through.) When you refuse to accept new ideas; if you refuse to see the reality of your current state of affairs, any new idea or new vision is exorcised in favor of the habitual comfort of old ways of thinking.  Cindy Anthony grew so used to Casey’s lies, she began to accept them as reality so as not to shake the boat.

Jeff Ashton writes:

From all that we’d seen of their interactions and heard from those around Cindy, it was unlikely that she would ever admit the unvarnished truth about Casey.  It was a lethally toxic co-dependent relationship.  One person was skilled at lying to others, while the other was skilled at lying to herself.

Cindy Anthony would not allow herself to see the truth about Casey: “Cindy was in denial about her daughter on a colossal scale,” wrote Jeff Ashton.

That is why this message is so important.  We have to look beyond what we know and discover new ways of seeing.  If we continue to do the things that are comfortable, we grow complacent, dull, and miss the really important stuff, like pretending the smell of human decomposition is really pizza.

 

13
Nov

Jeff Ashton’s book release is around the corner

Retired Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton, who famously prosecuted the Casey Anthony murder trial, has a book coming out on November 15, 2011.

Mr. Asthon’s book, Imperfect Justice:  Prosecuting Casey Anthony, promises to discuss never-revealed details about the case, including information related to the psychological examinations  performed on then defendant Casey Anthony.

Cover image of Jeff Ashton's soon to be released book

He will also be discussing the book on the Dr. Phil Show, Wednesday, November 16, 2001.   No doubt the book will generate a lot of interest.

I’ve per-ordered a copy on my Nook.

If the Barnes & Noble Nook website is any indication, the book should do well.   On the Barnes & Noble Nook page for the book, already nearly 60 “customer reviews” have been written!  This is despite the fact it’s not even released yet!  People are adding their thoughts about what they “think” the book will disclose…and of course they are arguing.

Cheney Mason reportedly is writing a book also.   I have absolutely no interest in reading it because, frankly, I wouldn’t know what to believe.   By the way, Mr. Mason is in a Daytona hospital after feeling ill during a conference in which he to speak.  I certainly hope it’s not a serious issue keeping him in the hospital.  I bet he’s cranky as hell in that hospital!  I bet he’s shooting the bird at just about everyone, too!  I hope so, that would mean he’s on the mend.

Anyway, back to Jeff Ashton’s book.  I really am looking forward to reading some inside stories about the case and sure hope the book is long on character details!  There were some colorful characters involved in the Anthony case, and it would be interesting to read about them.

Coincidentally, I was perusing Facebook this evening and stumbled upon “The Official Jeff Ashton Page.”  Oh, it’s wonderful – lot’s of very nice photos, too!

Seeing some of the great photos of Mr. Ashton and his wife, Rita, his colleagues at the State Attorney’s Office, including Linda Drane-Burdick, and pictures of his Koi pond that he and his wife built – affirmed for me that he is not only a phenomenal attorney, he is also a down-to-earth, very nice guy. Someone you can’t help but like because he oozes charm.

There were many folks on the State side of the case who I really admired: ASA Linda Drane-Burdick, of course, was incredible.   I admired the folks at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, too.  Yuri Melich – loved him!  Eric Edwards –  loved him!   John Allen – loved him!   Who else?   Just too many good people to name.   Oh! I almost forgot ASA Frank George!  Loved him!

Anyway, my Nook is ready for the Imperfect Justice download!

Thanks in advance, Jeff Ashton!

18
Oct

anthony case news

Andrea - only dreamin'

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?!

11
Oct

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

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?

1
Oct

jail video release – the First Amendment wins

The jail video within a jail video released yesterday?   It is much ado about nothing, as far as I’m concerned.

The video of a jail video is much ado about nothing

It’s hardly even distinguishable anyway.

The jail was unable to extricate the original file from their video player, so a video of that video was shot, hence the grainy appearance.

This is the video that had originally been ordered under seal by Judge Stan Strickland, he believed it may have been prejudicial to potential jurors in the case.  The prejudice would lie in how it would be interpreted and debriefed in the public and in the media prior to trial.   That was certainly a valid concern for Judge Strickland.

The fact is, on its face, the video could be translated as a picture of a grieving mom just learning that her daughter’s remains have been found. Or, it could be positioned as a consciousness of guilt.  If a jury had information about how the reaction to the Blanchard Park discovery of bones elicited no reaction, this juxtaposed non-reaction may have been harmful  to the defense, maybe.

The State of Florida chose not to use this video tape.   I tend to think there was too much baggage with it since they’d have to put Robyn Adams (convicted felon and Casey jail friend), on the stand to discuss Casey’s reaction to Blanchard Park.  Putting Robyn on the stand may have been a risk the State didn’t want to take.   I believe the State was confident in the case they laid out.   Were they a bit too confident?  I don’t know.  I do know I admired the work they did.

The video had to be released.  Judge Belvin Perry had no choice, really.  Jose Baez’ argument about the HIPPA violation was a long-shot, and I’m sorry it didn’t work for him.  But, Judge Perry did what he needed to do – uphold the Bill of Rights – the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The video is just sad, in my opinion.  Its release does nothing more than pick at an old scab – opening it up and pouring salt on it.

Why do that to ourselves?

27
Sep

random vacation stuff

Vacation feels like what heaven must be made of.

I enjoy doing nothing so much as spreading out on the couch with my dog under one arm, and my Nook cradled in the other. That’s what I plan to do most of the day tomorrow, too.

I’m not one to spend much time in shopping malls, though some of them are fun to visit, malls are not my thing.  But, I do love to find bargains.  I have a friend who knows every thrift and consignment shop in Broward County, Florida, and I love tagging along with her to find treasures.

We have a Talbot’s clearance store nearby that has amazing bargains.  My Mom and I went there today, after I took her to the eye doctor and to Sears to get a new battery for her watch, we tackled Talbots.

And what bargains we got!  I purchased a lovely salmon colored light sweater that was originally $55.00, marked down twice, and then the cashier took 60 percent off, and the final price was $7.98!  I purchased two lovely sweaters and a blouse for less than forty dollars!

Mom did even better than me.  She got six items for less than fifty dollars!

Shopping is exhausting…. The best part of shopping is when it’s over.

I’m thinking of taking a little trip to Naples, which is on the other coast, or I may just enjoy my vacation at home!

Jeff Ashton and Linda Drane-Burdick Photo credit: WESH.com

I finally caught up with the Casey Anthony case this evening.  I was curious to see what the news of late happened to be, and I saw some interesting tidbits that I will write about tomorrow, but there is one quick story to tell you…  Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton, it is rumored, is running for Orlando State Attorney!  Well, it’s still a rumor, but I kinda think it’s true.  And, what a great idea!  I hope he makes Linda Drane-Burdick his right hand person, what ever that role would be…. What a pair they’d be!

I would surely vote for him!

I found this picture on the WESH website – click on the picture above to read the accompanying story.

28
Aug

prosecutor Jeff Ashton to pen a book; Dr. Phil dangles carrots

The Washington Post is reporting that Jeff Ashton is in the process of writing a book about the Casey Anthony case.  According to the Post, the book, aptly titled “Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony,” is due out in November.

This is one book I will read.

I’ve included the Washington Post Story at the bottom of the page.

The Dr. Phil show is already marketing its interview with the Anthony’s.   The show is billed like its got something salacious to say:  Casey Anthony’s Parents Spill Death Secret on My Show!”    Can we believe Dr. Phil will get the Anthony’s to say what they did not say in court?  Anyone’s guess.  I don’t guess there will be much truth told.

The Dr. Phil video promo wants to persuade viewers that the Anthony’s are going to spill some major beans about who they believe killed Caylee.

Dr. Phil obviously thinks people are going to buy into this silly promotional nonsense.  It’s annoying.  When shows or networks try to hype something this way, I think it’s because the show will have little substance at all.

Other innuendos on the video promo have Dr. Phil advising Cindy Anthony that the country “…wants to shake you awake.”  Dr. Phil also says, “You know the truth, don’t you?”

With regards to the drowning story, Dr. Phil asks, “Do you buy it was an accidental drowning?”

The Anthony’s don’t talk in the promo piece.  Heck, they wouldn’t want to give anything away!  Franky, I sincerely doubt there will be very much truth told, nor anything shocking, but I will record the show.  So, if you don’t want to watch it, no worries, I’ll tell you everything!   I have included a link to the story with a video, but not the video itself, at the bottom of this page.

It’s really only about money now.  Maybe it always was.

One last bit of news…. The next hurricane will be named “Jose.”

That’s all we need!

The Washington Post article about the upcoming Jeff Ashton book, Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony, is here

The story about the Dr. Phil Show is located here, on TMZ.


26
Aug

some really good news!

It was nearly six weeks ago that I attended a YMCA Board Member Recruitment luncheon.  It was a neat experience, too.

A good friend of mine, a YMCA Board member, invited me to the recruitment luncheon because he knew I was looking for a program to make a difference in kids lives – to promote change, and give back to my community. 

After the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, I felt disappointed, frustrated, and defeated.  That soon changed, though, when I heard what former Orlando Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton had to say.

Jeff Ashton, the passionate Prosecutor in the Casey Anthony v. State trial, appeared on a few television programs to talk about the aftermath of the verdict.

Mr. Ashton talked about taking the anger you feel – a palpable anger was rising in the community – and turn it into action to support children in your community.

It was a perfect idea.   Doing something like this would be a healing and healthy way to diffuse the sense of defeat – turn it into positive energy and action for kids.

I decided right then that I was going to become a force for change for kids.

I emailed and called the “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” program in my area but, sadly,I learned they have more “bigs” than kids.  It is going to take a while to be matched with a kid.

And then, the next day, my buddy Ken invited me to the YMCA Luncheon, and…..

Today, I learned that they chose me for the Board! 

I’m the newest member of the Board!

I am going to put my heart and soul into this opportunity.  I want to make a difference for the kids – for the future, for my niece’s generation.

I will be an Advisory Board member of the Broward County Children’s Advocacy YMCA Family Center.  My first official Board meeting is September 22!

If you click on the YMCA Logo (above), it will take you to the website for the Broward County YMCA.

This will be a great activity to blog about, too!

Speaking of blogging….I broke down Wednesday and purchased a new PC.  And what a difference it makes!  It’s much easier to write when the PC doesn’t crash or freeze on me.

My old computer was loaded with VISTA.  I think I am one of the few people on the planet who liked VISTA!  I really did, but it was buggy, too.

This new PC is unbelievable!  It has Windows 7, and Office 2010.

It has a real good graphics card, 8 GB of memory, and one TB of space.  TB refers to Terabyte, that’s bigger than Gigabyte or GB.

I tell ya what, this PC is blazing fast!

Office 2010 is awesome!  And, I especially LOVE Windows Live, with SkyDrive. 

The university I work for is launching Windows Live with SkyDrive – known as Live@EDU, on Monday to the student population.   And, that’s part of the reason my week was so stressful – I had an incredibly short timeline to put together the training materials for the project, which I delivered today in two classroom sessions.   The trainings went very well, so all the stress paid off.

So, today was the end of a fabulous week!

Thank you, Jeff Ashton!

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