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Posts tagged ‘Judge Belvin Perry’

12
Aug

Judge Perry supports Judge Strickland’s probation orders

Today, as expected, Judge Belvin Perry held up Judge Stan Strickland’s amendment to his original order of probation in the Casey Anthony Check-Fraud case.

It has always been my opinion that Judge Strickland was right to amend the order for probation when it became apparent that his order of probation was not followed.

We are governed by laws and penalties for breaking laws for a specific reason.  When a law is broken, as in the Check-Fraud case in which Casey Anthony plead guilty, there are sentencing guidelines that include probation.  Judge Strickland specifically ordered probation, and his order from the bench, in open court, was not applied.  What is more, the defense team KNEW Judge Strickland’s order of probation was not applied as ordered.

And, what’s more, Jose Baez ARGUED, back in 2009, that Casey Anthony’s probation NOT be applied while she was in jail.  It was Prosecutor Frank George who argued for probation while Casey Anthony was in jail!   (The State was so sure they would get a conviction in this case, hence their request for applying the sentence.)

Whereas, Jose Baez was certain that Casey Anthony would be found guilty of a lesser charge and eventually be released from jail.  Baez wanted her to serve probation for the Check-Fraud charges, I believe, rather than probation on a more serious felony, like manslaughter.

You cannot pull any wool over the eyes of Judge Perry, Mr. Baez!

Today’s order from Judge Perry is a thing of beauty – it is brutally frank and professorial in its lecture and criticism of Jose Baez.   I must quote some of the most telling pieces of Judge Perry’s order for posterity, and also because his narrative comments in the order explicitly tell Jose Baez that Judge Perry questions his judgment, candor, and advocacy as an officer of the court.

First, Judge Perry cited established case law that indicated it was within Judge Strickland’s jurisdiction to amend an order that, because of a clerical error, did not correctly reflect the spoken court order.  A defendant should not benefit nor should they be harmed by a human clerical error.

With regards to the defense argument of “double jeopardy,” Judge Perry wrote:

This case does not involve additional punishment proscribed by the double jeopardy clause nor does it involve a punitive effect by requiring the Defendant to serve probation twice.  The Defendant was in jail and unable to meet the goals and requirements of the probationary sentence.  The Defendant could not comply with the standard thirteen conditions of probation while incarcerated on a[nother] pending charge.  

Probation is a rehabilitative tool that facilitates the Defendant’s reentry back into society after being found guilty of a crime.  “In society” is the operative word and is the testing ground of the probation period.  The defendant is being tested to determine if he or she will be able to maintain themselves in society and not causing harm to others.   Being in jail during probation is hardly equal to being in society. 

With regards to allowing Casey Anthony to forgo probation, Judge Perry wrote:

To permit the Defendant, whose counsel was well aware that the probation was to begin upon the defendant’s release from jail, to avoid serving probation now, would take a lawfully imposed sentence and make it a mockery of justice. This would allow a defendant to take advantage of a scrivener’s error and be rewarded.  This is not the message the courts want to send to the public or the defendants.

One’s duty as an Officer of the Court

Because the next section of the court order is so impeccably written, and so on-point with regards to the defense shenanigans, I want to provide you with these candid, and rather searing, words:

Finally, this Court would like to address the issue of what duty does an attorney, an officer of the court, owe to our system of justice to see that the lawful orders of courts are followed.  The defense acknowledged in court that Mr. Baez knew about the error, but contended he did not have any obligation to inform the court.

It was absolutely blistering comment from Judge Perry’s, when, toward the end of the ruling, he cites specific conduct from the Florida Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct.  Judge Perry clearly believes that Mr. Baez may find good counsel via studying the standards of conduct set forth by the Florida Bar.

Belly up to the Bar, Baez!

PS…. The order is priceless.  Click here to read.

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6
Aug

Judge Perry: The Chaos Theorist?

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!

5
Aug

a hot mess of a legal morass – just another day in an Orlando courtroom

So, it was déjà vu all over again, or so it seemed to me as the lawyers and Judge Belvin Perry held a hearing with regards to whether Casey Anthony will be required to serve probation in her check fraud case.

The defense lawyers stated the issue of probation is moot now.  They claim that Anthony already served probation while in jail awaiting trial for the murder of her own daughter, Caylee Anthony.

But did she?  Can probation be served while in jail?  The answer is No, but sometimes, Yes –  but in the right circumstances.

The “probation” that Casey Anthony served while awaiting trial, was hardly probation.

As we know, Anthony was found (cough) not guilty of the murder charges.  However, in 2010, she plead guilty to felony counts regarding the check fraud case against her.  Judge Stan Strickland, the original Judge in the Murder One case, heard the check fraud case back in 2010.  At the time, the Judge sentenced Anthony to “time served” and one year of probation – upon release, as he said in open court.

The problem, as you probably know, the Department of Corrections inadvertently put Anthony under probation while in jail, which was not the intent of the Court.  When Judge Strickland realized this, he amended his order and ordered probation for Anthony.

Judge Perry held a hearing on the matter today as Judge Strickland recused himself from the case.

Judge Perry heard the arguments today and told the lawyers he will take time to rule because, he said, “It’s a mess.”

My sense, based on listening to Judge Perry, is that he is leaning slightly to the side of issuing probation.   He discussed case law in which he told the lawyers that issuing probation does not necessarily measure up to Double Jeopardy.  He also needs time to research this question to determine if there  is any authority already decided as it relates to the facts in this case.

The expressive Judge Perry

Defense Attorney Lisabeth Fryer, argued the law today.  She is a very capable attorney and I imagine she will have a very bright future ahead of her.  However, it was unnecessary, in my opinion, for her to attempt to malign Judge Strickland’s reason for amending the court order so it would be clear. She said, and I paraphrase:  ‘Judge Strickland’s made this vindictive decision based on not agreeing with the verdict.’

Judge Stan Strickland would NOT act in such a manner, neither would Judge Perry!  The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland is beyond reproach, and the defense, as we know, have no problem shooting off at the mouth with contemptuous nonsense.

Perhaps Attorney Fryer has spent too much time with certain defense lawyers and now thinks that all persons are as vindictive and rude as her boss – the one with the fat middle finger that he enjoys extending upwards?

I do believe that Judge Perry’s arguments, which did support Judge Strickland’s decision, tended to support applying probation in this case.  Judge Perry appeared to base the situation on a scribner’s error.

Assistant State Attorney Frank George, appearing on behalf of the State Attorney, pointed out that the very purpose of probation is to facilitate the individuals re-entry back into the community.   And that is exactly what is at issue.  Probation is a critical part of the rehabilitation process and should not receive short shrift.

I do believe Judge Perry will attach some means of probation for Anthony as she is deserving of it, clearly.  However, nothing is a sure thing, and Perry did also mention the issue regarding Anthony’s safety in the community, and he indicated he will consider this in his decision making.  Also, Judge Perry discussed that the Defense would agree to Administrative Probation.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Administrative probation is defined as follows:

Administrative Probation is a form of non-contact supervision in which an offender who represents a low risk of harm to the community may, upon satisfactory completion of half the term of regular probation, be placed on non-reporting status until expiration of the term of supervision. The department is authorized to collect an initial processing fee of up to $50 for the offender reduced to administrative probation. Periodic record checks are completed to ensure the offender has not violated the law.

Frankly, I would like to see her serve probation, but serve it far, far away, out of sight and out of mind – finally.

Writing about this case

I keep expecting that my concentration on this case will begin to decrease, but when interesting things happen in this case, I can’t help but write about it!  The comings and goings of the players in this saga continue to fascinate me.

So, when something happens with regards to this case, I will continue to write about it….

After all, this case has provided me a wealth of content to write about.  And it’s certainly helped me to stick with my commitment to write every day in the Post-a-day-2011 challenge!  (I’ve posted everyday since the first of January!)

It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A! 

And, I have some great news…

I am taking the advice of Jeff Ashton, and others, to look outside of my four walls and my blog and do something to help children in my community.  (I wanted to be a Big Sister, in the Big Brother, Big Sisters program, but they have more “Bigs” than kids, at this point.)  So, I’m getting involved in the YMCA, specifically in the children’s activity areas.

A few days ago, I was approached about serving on the Board of the YMCA. And today, I went to a YMCA luncheon.

After a presentation about the good work of the YMCA, I attended a show put on by the children in the summer camp.   Let me tell you, it was incredible!  There were children everywhere, clapping in unison to a varied beat – so focused! They danced and sang their little hearts out!  It was such fun to see them!

So, the YMCA is going to have me, if they want me.  I want them, that’s for sure!  I should know in a couple of weeks what their decision is.  They’re looking for professionals who can bring a variety of skills and abilities to the board….

It will be a terrific and rare opportunity to make a difference to so many kids lives!!!

Singing…. “Y  M C  A  …. it’s fun to stay at the ….”

4
Aug

hearing tomorrow – Anthony probation issue

It was a Project Runway night which meant I have been glued to the T.V.!

I do love that show!  However, I often don’t pick the winning look; worse than that, I often like best what the judges like least!  But I always learn something and end up appreciating the opportunity to see the design from the eyes of the judges.

Tonight’s design challenge was to construct something unconventional from items purchased at a pet supply store.  Josh, the designer sent home during tonight’s episode, made an outfit out of quasi-fabric material – he used umbrella fabric, and a black piece of material used in a fish tank.  The sad thing about his design, it was very dated: A halter top and short skirt.  Not exactly unconventional. The other designers used bird seed, feathers, dog toys, hamster bedding material, dog food, and other non-fabric material.

I thought the worse design was the skirt constructed from dogie pee-pee pads.  The outcome was off center, in a bad way and prompted a stream (pun intended) of cynical retorts!

Tomorrow’s hearing about probation in the Casey Anthony probation issue

Judge Belvin Perry will hear defense arguments concerning the probation issue.  It is difficult to know how Judge Perry will rule on this – many experts have differing opinions.  Whatever the decision of Judge Perry turns out to be, I’m sure it will be the correct one.

I found it interesting that Lawson Lamar, the Orlando State Attorney, made a statement regarding the opinion of his office.  Lamar believes that should Anthony be forced to serve probation (again) it would amount to double jeopardy, which is unconstitutional.

Far be it from me to know the truth of the probation matter from a legal perspective.  Lawson Lamar would know far better than I, but I question that statement never the less.  My opinion is that Anthony did not serve probation in jail – on paper she did, but it was not real probation.

The question for me is: Do we value probation as an important tool to lessen the behavior of the criminal who we want to rehabilitate? Are we treating Anthony differently?  Clearly, she is given far more consideration than another person charged with the same kind of crime.  What other defendant would be able to serve probation while in jail?

Whatever the outcome is, it will be for the best.

3
Aug

probation for Anthony on hold – for now, anyway

It was another newsy day with regards to Casey Anthony.

First, the Honorable Stan Strickland recused himself from the Anthony fraud case in which Casey Anthony plead guilty and was ordered to serve probation.  At issue, as you’ve most likely heard by now, is the oversight in the probation orders typed by the court, as well as the interpretation of the orders by the Orange County Corrections.

The wording, in the written order, states there is to be one year of probation.  Because the sentence lacked the words “upon release” (from jail) it was not clear when the term of probation should commence.  Huh?

Probation is what it is – isn’t it?!!    It’s supposed to be an extension of the custodial process, right?  Who ever heard of probation happening while an inmate is in jail?  Well, perhaps if the inmate is in prison with out the possibility of parole, perhaps then it may be used.  Even then, if the inmate is in jail, it sounds like a redundant process, doesn’t it?

It was the Dept. of Corrections who took it upon themselves to set up Casey Anthony’s probation while in jail. Why they did this is anyone’s guess.  Someone failed to take the time to think this one through.

Judge Stan Strickland, the original assigned Judge in this case, when he realized that his order of probation was omitted, he amended his order to include it. And, oh the firestorm it caused!

Judge Strickland recused himself from the Check Fraud case today, and Judge Belvin Perry took the reigns.

The first thing that Perry did was to issue a stay as it relates to when the probation should begin.  The Court will hear arguments on Friday, August 5th, and will rule as to whether to enforce the probation, or dismiss it.

There’s every reason to believe that Judge Perry will uphold Judge Strickland’s position, unless Perry can find a legal reason to change the ruling.

I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that probation is an important part of the rehabilitation process and should not be taken lightly, whether your name is Casey Anthony or Anthony Casey.

Regardless, Judge Perry knows his case law, and follows the law to the letter; if the law calls for probation, then it will begin.

In what ever decision he reaches, Judge Perry will have to weigh the safety of Casey Anthony.  If it’s possible to move the probation to another state, perhaps that is an option – I don’t know.  We’ll find out on Friday what fate befalls defendant Anthony in this regard.

I firmly believe her deeds in the check fraud case should have a period of real probation – not “pretend” probation as she served while in jail.

TMZ photos and video

Someone working for TMZ.com got pictures of Casey Anthony doing what she loves best: Shop!  She’s in Ohio, says TMZ.  Take a look at the pictures, do you think it’s her?  I do.

There’s a video, too.  You can view it at this link: TMZ.Com Video.

Casey Anthony, Credit: TMZ.com

2
Aug

flippin’ probation

Why must Cheney Mason’s motions always contain personal and snippy vitriol?  More importantly, why must he consistently act like a high-school boy who’s only able to communicate via a middle finger, with a bark and a scowl?

Oh yes, Mason displayed his middle finger again today – flipping it in the direction of a driver, reported Kathi Belich of WFTV.

There’s something wrong with a grown man, nearing retirement, acting like this.  It’s uncouth (also uncool), for a lawyer to behave that way!  It’s bizarre – beyond the beyond of bizarre.

And, what’s worse, Mason told a reporter that Anthony will NOT comply with the probation order.  Hm.  Perhaps he wants to loose his law license?  By suggesting that Anthony will not appear, he – an officer of the court – is asking his client to break the law.

Cheney Mason, who once had a very good reputation in the Orlando area, is risking his law degree, and his reputation, for Casey Anthony?  Really??  It makes absolutely no sense to me.

The motion that Mason “walked” to the courthouse today (all he needed to do was file it electronically), was done to assure he had an audience.

In the motion, titled “Emergency motion for hearing to quash, vacate, and set aside court’s order,”  Mason writes that Judge Strickland’s “order was fraudulently entered.”

Mason also states that Judge Strickland, having amended the probation order, “Showed a reckless disregard for Ms. Anthony’s Due Process and Civil Rights.

I cannot fathom that any lawyer would make such offensive allegations against a sitting Judge, especially a Judge as thoughtful and fair as I believe Judge Strickland is.  It’s offensive.

Perhaps Mason believes that his career is over anyway, and so he doesn’t care who or what he insults.  If so, that’s hardly an excuse.   As an officer of the court and having taken an oath to follow the law, how can a lawyer act with such disregard for the law, and all behalf of Casey Anthony?  It makes no sense.

Here is the emergency motion, filed by Cheney Mason, filed on the CFS News13 website.

Richard Hornsby, a smart (and sometimes sassy!) criminal defense attorney that I admire, wrote a post on his blog that is excellent and that I encourage you to read – the link to his blog is on my blogroll and a link is available in the quote below.

Richard concludes the following with regards to the sentencing orders for probation:

While Judge Strickland’s intentions were clear, there seems to have been some confusion because the sentencing minutes that were generated after the hearing, and which Judge Strickland signed, simply stated credit for 412 days jail followed by one year of supervised probation. Notably, the sentencing minutes never contained the magical words “upon release” at the end of the sentence – not that they needed to.  ~ Richard Hornsby, Criminal Lawyer

The real question is whether Judge Perry will hear this emergency motion tomorrow on behalf of Judge Strickland.

If the order stands, and I think it will, Anthony will have to report to an Orlando probation officer Wednesday, August 3, 2011, by 5 pm, or she will have violated the terms of her probation.  When that happens, a bench warrant for her arrest will be put in place, and back to jail she’ll go.

Anything could happen at this point – and it probably will!

It’s difficult to read the tea leaves on this one.   Oh boy!  Stay tuned….

12
Jul

an honorable OCSO; an honorable Judge Strickland

It was another interesting day in Orlando as the Law Enforcement and Judicial community resolve to accept the Not Guilty decision in the State V. Casey Anthony trial.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), today held their first and only press conference to discuss the work they did over the three years the case progressed.  (The men and women of the OCSO are the best of the best – literally.)

The well-spoken Sheriff Jerry Demings attended and discussed the devotion and the hard work the men and women of the OCSO put into this case.  He also mentioned that the Caylee Anthony case, as a father and grandfather himself, personally affected him.

At the press conference it was confirmed that George Anthony was never a suspect in the disappearance of Caylee Anthony.  There is an open investigation into witness tampering with regards to Laura Buchanan and it is on going.  Detective Eric Edwards is leading that effort.

You may remember that it was Laura Buchanan who the defense team wanted to use to prove that Caylee’s remains could only have been placed at her final destination only AFTER Casey went to jail.  The problem, as it turned out, Laura Buchanan (or some one else), attempted to fabricate a Texas EquuSearch document so it appeared that she had searched in the area where Caylee was found, when in fact she had not been in that area.

The defense wanted Joe Jordan to provide a similar story, but as we heard in the trial, Jordan was mistaken about where he searched and admitted he had not been in the area where Caylee was found.

This mystery will continue to unfold.  The question on the table is whether Laura Buchanan created the paperwork herself, or if the document, and the story, was manufactured by someone from Jose Baez’s office.  The OCSO is not talking about it at this point since it is an open case.

There was a very large picture of Caylee on display at the press conference.  When asked about the picture, the replies given were heart-felt.  “It was always only about Caylee,” was the unanimous response.

If you missed the OCSO press conference, the WFTV website has included the video in two parts.  Click here: Part One.  Part Two.

The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland

Judge Stan Strickland, snipped: WESH.com

Reporter Bob Kealing of WESH, did an excellent interview Judge Stan Strickland, who was the original Judge assigned to the case prior to Judge Belvin Perry.

Those of us who were following the case closely during the early days were thrown for a loop when Judge Strickland recused himself.  Like Judge Perry, Judge Strickland proved to be an extremely fair and balanced jurist – thoughtful and kind, but no-nonsense.  It was a great loss, we all felt.

Judge Strickland’s style was somewhat more restrained than Judge Perry’s.

I especially liked him because he is not one to sentence death, unless the law demands it. In fact, he told Bob Kealing that the thought of Casey Anthony facing the death penalty kept him up a few nights.  In contrast, Judge Perry, as a former prosecutor, did have a history of leaning toward Capital Punishment.

It was the defense’s doing to get Judge Strickland recused from the case – and the reason for it was nonsensical – so it was ironic for the defense when they were handed Judge Perry who is pro-death penalty.  Judge Strickland, in his recusal from the case, wrote with regards to media attention, “The irony is rich indeed.”

Linda Drane-Burdick used the line, “The irony is rich indeed,” in her closing argument, too.  I’m certain she was expressing a respectful homage to a very fine Judge.

Here is the full interview with Judge Strickland. It’s excellent! Click here to watch on WESH.

In other news

Cindy Anthony will not face perjury charges; and Tim Miller of Texas EquuSearch, filed a lawsuit asking for $112,000  in damages against Casey Anthony.  There is a bill pending from the State of Florida, too, which will recover costs from Casey Anthony for the investigation into Caylee’s disappearance.

Justice

That’s about all the news I have for you tonight!  In the meantime, I will leave you with this thought, from Dr. Martin Luther King:

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Even though a final decision was made by unsuspecting men and women regarding the guilt in the death of Caylee Anthony, we have to accept it.  This is our system – and, here on earth, there is none better.

But, there is a balance in the universe; and I believe that someday Casey will be forced to see her crime and she will be punished according to the laws of Karma, and the Universe.

That’s what I believe, anyway!

8
Jul

juror groupthink, learning, listening & the system

The news about the acquittal of Casey Anthony, in her First Degree murder trial, is only a couple of days old and still the stories have legs like spiders weaving more sticky situations.

There will be questions and stories for days to come. I’d always thought that once Casey Anthony was sent to jail for the rest of her life, this story would fade away until it became a small memory in our minds.

The acquittal of Casey Anthony, completely unexpected by virtually everyone, including the media, is now a story with enormous interest.   Now that a complete acquittal has occurred, this story will drag on longer than necessary, because we need answers.

The media is all over every second of the story, and I can’t help but follow the news, tweets, and the stories that continue to come out.  That’s because, I am still in shock, I guess.

One recent story is Casey Anthony will have to appear before the glaring lens of the depo-cam in the law office of Morgan and Morgan!  This is in regards to the  civil case filed by Zenaida Gonzales, the person who was originally thought to be the real “Zanny the Nanny,” but was quickly cleared.  To have Casey Anthony in front of the camera for this civil deposition will be huge news, and certainly very interesting.

This Zenaida Gonzales has claimed she lost her good name, her job, her car, and was kicked out of her apartment because of being associated with the disappearance of Caylee.  I don’t have an opinion about this, though I am thankful for Morgan and Morgan for pursuing this case!

The video deposition is scheduled for July 19th; two days after Casey Anthony is released from jail.  The subpoena was delivered to Casey Anthony already.  It’s not clear to me if she can ignore this subpoena or not.  I wouldn’t think so, but one never knows!

The News of Late

The media is telling us, Casey Antony’s jail sentence will end July 17th, on a Sunday versus the original date, July 13th.  The additional four days were added by the Department of Corrections when it was discovered they miscalculated time served.

The costs of the prosecution of Casey Anthony are being calculated by the State Attorney’s Office; HLN reports the numbers could be in the area of $500,000.

Lighting struck a tall tree in the area where Caylee’s remains were found and the TV hosts were all over it, anxious for manic responses like, “It’s a sign, it’s a sign!  God has spoken!”

I don’t mean to belittle any of these kinds of divine intervention beliefs. But I’d be more apt to ask, “If God were to gesture to earthly beings, wouldn’t He want attention to focus on the millions of children suffering in Haiti, Africa, and even in the US, as children are going hungry on our very own soil?”

A darling Caylee, was brutally murdered in Orlando Florida, and the one charged with caring for her will soon be living “La Vida Loca.”  But, our justice system has spoken, though I believe justice got this one wrong.

The jurors are human beings like me and you.  Our world can be unfair; there is injustice everywhere and no where are there easy answers.  It is difficult to rationalize why.

The Jury System – Broken?

There was a dialog in the 1990’s about changing the jury system when the OJ Simpson jurors got it so wrong.  How to revamp the juror system would be a positive dialog to have.

Having regular human beings judge a complicated murder case, where a life is on the line, does not make sense to me.

They are to be the “Trier of Fact” and I believe in the jury system totally and completely, but times have changed.  Trials are sophisticated events.

Jurors are not lawyers, and we expect so much from them.  We expect them to deduce and reason like lawyers, but they are regular folks with regular lives and worries and issues.  They are not active participants in the process, they are passive listeners though we ask them to listen actively.

Active listening is very difficult when it is one-sided.  I am quite sure they  only really heard ten percent of the evidence.

Adults Learning and Listening

There is research into Adult Learning that tells us that human beings can only retain a minimal percentage of what is heard – the percentage is between 2% and 10%.

If you think back to the lectures in high school or college that you listened to – what did you learn, really?  How much of that lecture do you think you retained?

What Jose Baez did with the defense exhibits – using pictures of the evidence and pictures of witnesses, although it seemed really simple, was extremely effective as a learning tool for the jurors, in my opinion.  These exhibits were a sort of “job aid” for the jurors to use to help them frame the concepts of the case in their minds.

There’s a great deal of learning required of jurors during a trial.  But, helping jurors to learn is not the goal of our system of justice.

Courts do not present evidence or testimony from a learning/retention perspective.  But, it would behoove lawyers to use Adult Learning theories in the way they communicate to jurors.

Did Deliberation Occur?

It is being reported that some jurors originally voted for guilt but changed their minds.  Could the bond and the closeness that the jurors formed have anything to do with changing their minds?

I wonder if sequestration for such a long time is detrimental to individual thinking?

And, I wonder if the jurors cared more about each other than they did their duty?

You never can tell what kind of dynamic was at play – group dynamics can be confounding and it would take a strong person to stand alone in such an environment.

There’s that phenomenon called “Groupthink” that could have come into play in the relationship of the jurors as a group. Psychologist Irving Janis, coined the term and defined Groupthink.

I learned about the phenomenon of Gropthink in relation to group dynamics in the workplace, but it can be defined in every group situation.  Fortunately, it is not always present in every group.

Irving Janis defines Groupthink this way:

…occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment.”

Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions…

A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.   Source:  Janis, Irving L.  (1972). Victims of Groupthink.

One of the jurors, reportedly, was going to miss a cruise if the jury did not come to a decision by a certain time.  Was this a popular juror in the crowd?  Did the jurors want to be sure to decide quickly to ensure the cruise went as planned?  Maybe.  But, I think Judge Perry would have stepped in to help that situation so the juror did not lose money.

I’m at a loss for answers, but I do realize it’s futile to expect answers as to why justice for Caylee was heinously denied.  Or was it?  Not according to Cheney Mason, Jose Baez, or Dorothy Sims.

This is our system and, like it or not, they will say it worked.

I disagree that the outcome was justice, but I respect it nonetheless and realize that common sense was not common here…

6
Jul

not innocent

To say the verdict in the State v. Casey Anthony is shocking is an understatement.

I am dazed, overwhelmed at this jury decision.  Are we in an alternate reality where wrong is right and right is wrong?  It seems so to me.

But, I have to accept it.

Even though Casey Anthony was found not guilty yesterday, it does not mean she is innocent of the death of her daughter.

Apparently, the jury did not have an abiding and sure belief of guilt.  And I have to accept and appreciate their decision.

But, it’s difficult to do this because I see this as a miscarriage of justice.  Then again, a worse miscarriage would be finding an defendant guilty when they are innocent.

That would be far worse, and so I’m taking that to the bank.

What went wrong?

Some Legal Eagles and Talking Heads are saying, “Well this verdict is an example that the system worked.”   I can’t quite agree with that, but I do understand that I have to accept the verdict because this is our system, and it’s the best in the world.

I think the heart of this decision boils down to the jury not wanting to have the burden of sending Casey to jail for the rest of her life.  Maybe they thought if their decision was wrong, it’s better to be wrong via an acquittal then to be wrong via finding guilt.

My belief in Casey’s guilt is abiding, and I think the jury made a decision that speaks to their fear of getting it wrong, so they erred on the side of caution.

We all believed that because the jury took only eleven hours to come to their verdict, they must have found her guilty.  I was so sure that was the case.  I can’t help wondering that this jury did not delve into the evidence because they wanted or needed to get home.

My head tells me, this jury, who are supposedly people without vendettas, without prejudice, without agendas, have made the best decision because we have trusted them to do so, and twelve of them have sacrificed two months of their individual lives to fulfill their promise.

And so, I should accept the jury’s verdict, just as Assistant State Attorney, Jeff Ashton so gracefully accepts it.  I’m struggling with this.  Really struggling.

Jeff Ashton was on the Today Show this morning.  He has accepted with grace and understanding this verdict.  Watch Jeff Ashton on the Today Show:   http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/43651905#43651905

So, what went wrong?  I never, never expected things to go this wrong.  How did it happen to go so wrong?  Were Casey Anthony’s parents partly to blame because of all the lies they told?  Did the family muddy the water just enough that the jury did not know who to believe?  Did the jurors think that the garbage in Casey’s car explained the smell of decomposition?  Did they believe Jose Baez’s claim that Caylee’s death was a tragic accident?  Did the jury sympathize with Casey and did not want her to pay with the rest of her life?  If that is the case, what about Caylee?  Were they only thinking about Casey and nothing about Caylee?

The charge must fit the crime.

Did the State of Florida overcharge Casey Anthony?

The charges, though fitting of the crime in my view, must fit the jury’s ability to grasp all of the elements of the crime.  Was the case so convoluted and muddied to such an extent by the defense, they took reasonable doubt to an even higher standard?  No cause of death. No eye witness. No CSI moments.  Just a lot of circumstantial evidence.

The death penalty and circumstantial evidence may be a hard sell for a sentence of death, or life in jail.

Did publicity hurt this case?

Scott Peterson was convicted of Capital Murder with much less evidence. That trial was not televised.  Did the TV play too big of a part in this case?  Did the transparent and liberal public records law in Florida damage the case?

I read so much of the discovery in this case, there was no doubt in my mind of who was responsible for this crime.

If the State of Florida had to do it again, would the charges start with 2nd degree murder?  I believe, though in hindsight, this would have been just since the cause of death, tragically, was ruled unknown.

Had Caylee been found the first time Roy Kronk relieve himself in those woods, it would have been a very different case, obviously.

There are many more questions than there are answers.

Theory of the Defense

I believe that Jose Baez and team floated theories that were deceiving and not at all a search for the truth.  I felt this defense team was unethical.  Do they teach trickery in law schools?

Why couldn’t the jurors see the tricks and the deception of the defense team?

I truly thought that a reasonable person should see through the smoke and mirrors and see what the defendant did to her very own child.

Why didn’t this jury at least ask themselves, “What is reasonable about not reporting a child’s absence for 31 days?”   Answer?   It is NOT reasonable!  It would never be reasonable!

Didn’t the State of Florida make it clear that this mother NEVER, for 31 days, cared one bit for her child and lied about her whereabouts?

Did the jury buy the drowning accident?  I think they must have. Didn’t they want evidence of drowning?

Was this jury just so anxious to get home?  Is that why they did not review the evidence?

What’s reasonable?

When reasonable doubt is the standard, shouldn’t the penalty be reasonable, too?

Reasonable doubt is a high standard, as it should be.  If this standard did not exist, the possibility of a Police State could easily become our governing system of justice.

To me, reason and justice are entwined.  Maybe the problem is that reason means different things to different people.   Is it as simple as knowing right from wrong?  Not exactly.

I think reasonable doubt is sometimes an unreasonable concept for people to understand.  This is the “reasonable doubt” the jurors were told to apply, as written in their jury instructions:

Whenever the words “reasonable doubt” are used you must consider the following:

A reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt, a speculative, imaginary or forced doubt.

Such a doubt must not influence you to return a verdict of not guilty if you have an abiding conviction of guilt. On the other hand, if, after carefully considering, comparing and weighing all the evidence, there is not an abiding conviction of guilt, or, if, having a conviction, it is one which is not stable but one which wavers and vacillates, then the charge is not proved beyond every reasonable doubt and you must find the defendant not guilty because the doubt is reasonable.

It is to the evidence introduced in this trial, and to it alone, that you are to look for that proof.

A reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant may arise from the evidence, conflict in the evidence or the lack of evidence.

If you have a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty. If you have no reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty.

Because the definition both of “reasonable” and “doubt” are subjective, it stands to reason why the court attempts to define it in such as way as “reasonable” people can apply their own ethical thermometer to the amount (or level) of reasonable doubt they apply to the question of guilt or non-guilt.

Reasonable: 

adj.1 having sound judgment. 2 not absurd. 3a not excessive; inexpensive. b tolerable; fair.

Doubt:

n.1 uncertainty; undecided state of mind. 2 inclination to disbelieve. 3 uncertain state of things. 4 lack of full proof.  v.1 tr. feel uncertain or undecided about. 2tr. hesitate to believe or trust. 3intr. feel uncertain or undecided.  4 tr.  call in question.

My reason tells me:

  • A child in the woods whose face is covered in duct tape is wrong.
  • An accident made to look like a murder is wrong.
  • A mother not reporting her child missing is wrong.
  • A car with the smell of human decomposition means something is wrong, just as Cindy Anthony said, “There’s something wrong…”
  • A mother thinking her life is beautiful now her child is gone, is that mother’s right, but it is wrong by every ethical standard.
  • A Father molesting a daughter is wrong.  Did it happen?  There is no proof either way except a liar says it is so.

I also think that how a person’s individual definition of right and wrong plays into their understanding of reasonable doubt. What I think is wrong and what you think is wrong, may be different.

Maybe this is problematic with juries.  Maybe we need a better way to define what reasonable doubt means.  It would be good to give examples to jurors.

Or, maybe we could give potential jurors a test – if they fail this test, they cannot be jurors!

That may be prejudicial though.

How about we change laws about lawyer credentials – insist they take a test to prove that integrity and ethics are values they hold dear.

If only.

5
Jul

Verdict Watch day 2 – We Got a Verdict!!!!!

Day two of jury deliberations in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony trial.

All the attorneys, sans Jose Baez, assembled into courtroom 23 at 8:30 a.m., to receive the jury.  (Other reports say Baez was present in the courthouse, but in the hallway.)

Judge Belvin Perry gave the jury his usual admonitions and sent them on their way to deliberate.  It took about 60 seconds!

Casey Anthony was there.  She will wait in the holding cell at the courthouse. What a long wait it must be for her.  I wonder if the reality of what she’s facing has hit her?   Is she in total denial, or has she accepted what ever fate deals her?

Has she come to terms with living in jail for the rest of her life?  The jail employees say she’s a model prisoner.  She’s easy to deal with and pleasant.  Jose Baez wanted these jail employees to testify, the judge would not allow it for obvious reasons.  What has the opinion of jail guards have to do with the death of Caylee Marie Anthony?

This morning, Kathi Belich, of WFTV, tweeted that Juror #3 was in a suit today.  WESH reported that many of the jurors are dressed up today.   Hmmm.  Are jurors thinking a verdict would be delivered today and they’d be appearing before the cameras tonight?

It’s all speculation …. One never knows when it comes to deliberations.

So…. we wait.

4
Jul

whose life was better…?

Today proved that Caylee Marie Anthony has indeed been sitting with Linda Drane Burdick, Jeff Ashton, and Frank George all these many months and years leading up to the trial.

Caylee's Team. Photo credit:"lil toad."

Prior to the rebuttal argument today, in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, Jose Baez argued an issue to Judge Belvin Perry.  I can’t really remember what his  argument was about, I believe it had to do with restricting the State’s closing argument.  When the Judge turned to the State to ask for their response to this defense argument, Linda Drane-Burdick said, “Mr. Baez has already made his closing argument, Your Honor.”

In other words, she stuck a pin into Jose, deflating him so perfectly!  It’s over, Jose, she seemed to say!

Yes, Jose Baez has had his time – his show.  His show of shows.  It’s time to sit down now.  It’s time to let common sense and truth  prevail as justice for Caylee Marie Anthony.

You have to give it to Jose Baez – he battled right until the very end – even though the defense presented probably the most nonsensical defense theory anyone has ever witnessed.

Jeff Ashton and Linda Drane Burdick effectively explained to the jurors how fantastical and bizarre the defense arguments were.  The State skillfully explained how absurd the defense theory is; how their version of events could not possibly be true.

The State’s use of audio and video to support their argument was powerful, too!  They used John Allen’s questioning of Casey at Universal Studios, where he’s explaining how he’s had to deal with many mother’s who’ve lost their children by tragic accidents, etc.

The state played the jail video of Casey saying “Surprise, surprise,” to the idea that Caylee may have drowned.  The call that Casey made to her family that first night she was jailed, was played.  The jurors heard again Casey’s single-minded need to get her boyfriend, Tony’s, telephone number and completely ignored any mention of her daughter. If anything provides a look into the real Casey, it’s that phone call.

I was very pleased that the Anthony’s, George and Cindy, were discussed as the loving and doting, grandparents they are.  The way Jose Baez characterized George Anthony was nothing short of vile.  No doubt this will not be lost on the jurors.

The idea of Caylee’s death being portrayed by the defense as a drowning accident was put to rest once and for all today.  If Caylee’s death had been an accident, why would anyone try to make it look like a murder?

Why would anyone make it look like murder?

That is the singular question with regards to the absurdity of the defense’s case.  That, and the powerful question asked today by Linda Drane Burdick:

All you really have to do is ask yourself a simple question.  Whose life was better without Caylee?  That’s the only question you need to answer in considering why Caylee Marie Anthony was left on the side of the road, dead.

Following this powerful question, we saw, side by side, pictures of a dancing Casey in a “Hot Body” contest, and a picture of the “Bella Vita” tattoo emblazoned on Casey. A few seconds passed, giving the jurors time to allow the images to sink in.  Then, Linda Drane Burdick spoke these final words, “There’s your answer.”

And that was it.

It was powerful, incredible and final.  I’m going to watch it again and again; it was the perfect ending to the heartbreaking story that has lived with me – with us – for so long.

We have no way of knowing how long the jury will deliberate.  I personally believe this jury will not need a lot of time to decide.

Although I have vacillated about what the verdict  might be, I do think they will find Casey Anthony guilty of Felony Murder One.  That is if the jurors doubt the Chloroform searches during the Month of March, 2008.  If they are convinced that Casey Anthony searched the Internet for how to make  Chloroform, I think the verdict could be Premeditated Murder One.

Of course, the defense will appeal and appeal and appeal.  They will write one motion on top of more motions.   It doesn’t matter. Casey will still be found guilty.

It’s nearly over, that’s true.  But, not really; I will always mourn the loss of little Caylee Marie.

Happy 4th of July.

 

3
Jul

can you blame him?

Drama was in full swing today when Jose Baez, during his over-the-top argument to the jury, suddenly screams, pointing to Assistant State Attorney, Jeff Ashton, and says “…that laughing guy!”

And, well, Ashton was smirking, there’s no doubt about it.  Regardless, it completely infuriated Judge Perry when he heard Baez shout, “that laughing guy.”

SUSTAINED,” Judge Perry screamed at the same time Jeff Ashton bellowed, “OBJECTION!”

Judge Perry immediately sent the jurors out, while the attorneys went into chambers.  Then, the next thing we knew, the Judge, in his shirt and tie, is seen stomping in the courtroom hallway flanked by three uniformed police officers.  Everyone thought contempt charges were imminent.  The thought of Jeff Ashton being charged with contempt was horrifying; a nail-biting time.  Thankfully, Judge Perry softened, giving the attorney’s another chance to maintain decorum as the Judge had previously ordered they do.

It is unclear to me whether Mr. Baez was going to face contempt as well.   It seemed obvious that the real infraction had to do with Jeff Ashton’s facial expressions – he’d tried to hide a smile by putting his hand over his mouth, making Baez livid.  Frankly, I can’t blame him.  Jose’s antics were maddening and laughable at the same time.  Nonetheless, Ashton was wrong to react as he did.

I was shocked not only that this serious situation was playing out in the courtroom, but also at what Jose Baez did to help the situation.  Mr. Baez, magnanimously, asked Judge Perry to not hold Mr. Ashton in contempt.  He then apologized for getting caught up in the moment.   After both attorneys apologized the proceedings continued as usual.

Assistant State Attorney, Jeff Ashton - video snip of InSession video stream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dramatic day began with a brilliant and cohesive closing argument by Jeff Ashton.  The State’s opening lasted only 77 minutes.  Baez and Cheney Mason (who literally put me to sleep), used the full four hours given to them to argue their case.

Jeff Ashton methodically laid out the lies Casey told.  Ashton noted Casey Anthony’s ability to keep her lies together was a result of her intelligence.  She’s a smart girl, he told the jurors, she seamlessly moves from lie to lie to lie.  “Her lies are impressive,” Mr. Ashton, added, with a good dose of cynicism.

I began to take notes as I listened to Ashton, but abandoned them because his argument became incredibly compelling and I didn’t want to miss a word!

Mr. Ashton pointed out that Casey needed to do away with Caylee because she was beginning to talk and could inadvertently blow Casey’s cover.  If George or Cindy had asked Caylee about Zanny, it would be all over for Casey.  Therefore, argued Mr. Ashton, Casey needed to “get rid” of this problem.

Ashton described how the three pieces of Henkel duct tape were applied to Caylee, and were proof of premeditation.  The first piece of tape covered her mouth, the next piece covered her nose, and the third piece placed over the two previous pieces to ensure the air was blocked.

And, like so many of us hope and pray, Ashton said, “One can only hope that that chloroform was used beforehand (before the tape was applied).”

In a very poignant moment Mr. Ashton pointed out the terrible irony that the tape used to kill Caylee, was also used by George Anthony to implore people to find her – to hang the missing Caylee posters.

The Baez Closing

Jose Baez began his argument rather weakly, then built up steam, only to climax in the middle of his argument into a screaming meme!  Baez kept this loud, angry, screaming tone that had to get old fast for the jurors. How would you feel if someone is less than three feet in front of you and screaming their head off for three and a half hours?

Baez’s arguments were sustained in excess of ten times during his argument.   Though many talking heads were praising Jose’s work.  Even my favorite attorney, Bill Shaeffer, gave Baez a B-plus.

Granted, Baez made some good points, but he never got any “ah-ha” moments, in my estimation.  I felt his arguments fell flat with a loud bang.  And, Baez was really sarcastic and used the word “slut” in relation to Casey Anthony three or four times.  He called her a liar, too.  Childish, in my view.

In his argument, Baez heaped much of the blame on George Anthony, of course.  Roy Kronk was a target, still, too.  Baez called the State’s evidence “a fantasy.”

It was painful to listen to Jose Baez today as he twisted facts and massaged testimony to benefit the defense.  It’s very aggravating to write about Baez’s closing – it was so annoying I nearly turned it off.  And then, Cheney Mason got up to speak and he lulled me right to sleep so I missed the majority of his closing.

Baez had quite a number of visual aids.  The visuals were nicely done and expensive looking.  Baez had the pictures of the witnesses on magnets and then shifted them into groups on a poster board, aligning and moving the photos according to the story he wanted to spin as he trashed the State’s case.

The jurors were tired; Judge Perry, sensitive to their needs, saw that they were and the day concluded for them at 6:30 pm.

The lawyers and Judge Perry had not agreed on the Jury Instructions, they worked through lunch and into the evening to finalize both the jury instructions and the charging document for the jury to use.  They recessed at approximately 8:00 tonight.

Tomorrow, the State of Florida will finish their closing arguments beginning at 8:30 am. Linda Drane-Burdick will begin for the State.  I hope Jeff Ashton has an opportunity to argue again, too.  I hope that Frank George is given an opportunity to argue as well.

Today was pretty amazing, and tomorrow will seal the deal for the State.

They will state their case beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt for this jury.

No doubt here!

2
Jul

counting down…

I don’t know about you, but the fact that the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony is nearing its conclusion, hasn’t really hit me yet.  It’s so amazing that we are so close to the end now!

Pretty soon we’ll realize that  justice for Caylee has happened.  Of course, justice for Caylee will never be enough, some kind of closure will be good for our souls and sanity.

I have no doubt there will be justice for Caylee. The State has delivered a strong case, and the defense, uh well, it was the worst defense case known to man. Their case was a total debacle replete with histrionics and peppered with untruths the likes of which we will probably never again see in a court of law.

Like so many of you, I began to follow this case from day one.  When the documents and the discovery began to be released, the story became uglier and uglier and absolutely confounding.  The more I read, the more I needed to understand Casey Anthony, and the more I began to fall in love with little Caylee.

I got so hooked.  I am still hooked – will continue to be – there will be fall-out after the fact, as we know.

The Case That Wouldn’t Let Go

In July 2008, my niece was the same age as Caylee – born just two months earlier than Caylee.

My niece has just turned six; ready for first grade.  Caylee would be six, heading for first grade, too.  She’d be like my niece, Elizabeth, absolutely over the moon to be able to say, “I’m six, I’m going to first grade, and my front teeth are loose!”

My niece, Elizabeth with April (favorite doll), and my dog, Jazz

That was her big news today!  “I went to the dentist and he said I have four loose teeth,” she said jumping in place!

Elizabeth is beyond excited that her teeth will be falling out, but more excited that the Tooth Fairy will visit her for the first time.  And, of course, she already has a plan in place about meeting the Tooth Fairy.

Here’s the plan: First, she will keep her eyes open all night and she’ll set up her Mom’s camera by her bed to get a picture of the lovely fairy for me to see, too.  Elizabeth is sure the Tooth Fairy wouldn’t mind just one picture.

Elizabeth is quite sure she’ll be able to lay in bed and not fall asleep the night the Tooth Fairy is going to come.

I spent a lovely day and evening with Elizabeth.  We worked on puzzles, we even played lawyer and judge (her dad is a lawyer), we drew and created beautiful artwork, we played with dolls and read “I Spy” and I’m worn out.

I’m just now sitting down to write my daily post and wanted to be sure to remind everyone that tomorrow, at 9:00 a.m., closing arguments begin!

I wish Caylee were safe and sound in her little pink room, excited about loose teeth, wondering about Tooth Fairy’s, loving her dolls, growing, and filled with the wonder of being a first grader.

Tomorrow & Decisions

I’m as excited about tomorrow morning getting here as my niece is to meet the Tooth Fairy…

If the rumors are correct, both Jeff Ashton and Linda Drane-Burdick will share the closing statements for the State of Florida.

I have heard that Cheney Mason could be handling the majority of the defense closing.

I believe this will be a short deliberation for the jurors.  I would not be surprised if they return a verdict on Monday.

What will happen after the verdict?  That’s up in the air.  But, chances are, if the verdict is Murder in the First Degree, the Penalty Phase to determine if Life or Death is the appropriate sentence, should happen shortly thereafter.

Then, Judge Perry will sentence Casey Anthony.  The sentencing usually occurs at least two weeks after the Jury’s decision.

In short, there will be many tasks to handle after the jurors reach their verdict in the guilt phase.

Still, it’s going to be over before we know it – I’m glad it’s coming to an end, really.

Once justice is delivered, it will be a great relief to let go, don’t you think?  We’ll never forget, of course, but letting go is good.

1
Jul

when does justice begin?

Here we are, Friday morning, waiting for the continuance of the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, and shenanigans are in full swing by a defense team in a boat with gaping holes and no paddles.

The Court is in an indefinite recess this morning while the defense deposes State rebuttal witnesses.

Interestingly, the defense is charging  that the State is “ambushing” them “again” by failing to disclose reports or information about computer searches, and about issues regarding a forensic anthropologist/toxicologist, rebutting testimony by the skull-clutching, Dr. Werner Spitz.

The Defense rested yesterday only to realize how deeply they’ve sunk, how desperate they are.  The defense has not raised a scintilla of doubt about anything Baez promised in his opening.

The defense has put on an empty case – an empty search for the truth as it is demanded by true justice.  It’s quite interesting that Jose Baez’ website is still as empty as the case it just rested.

Justice does not BEGIN with this defense team, as Baez Law Firm website says, it snoozes and is entirely lost:

It’s as if this empty website is a ruse or a facade because there are no working links still, after three years.

Furthermore, the photo on this website has the caption:  “BATTLE OF JAILHOUSE TAPES.”

We know, there was NEVER a battle over the Jailhouse tapes!  As a result of the jailhouse tapes, Jose Baez was totally humiliated.  The jailhouse tapes had disparaging comments from the Anthony family about Mr. Baez’ motivation and abilities to represent Casey.

Perjury?

I have some doubt the defense knew Cindy Anthony was going to LIE about being at home and searching for Chloroform.  However, Jose KNOWS that Cindy has lied in the past, however, whether Jose put on false testimony via Cindy would be difficult to prove. After all, Jose has to present testimony and evidence if its exculpatory, the State of Florida must provide all exculpatory evidence as well.

But, Cindy’s testimony has nothing to do with discovery or exculpatory evidence. There should be no surprise that the State moved to verify Cindy’s testimony as FALSE.  The State will prove Cindy was at work when those computer searches happened, they will also prove there  were  NO searches for Chlorophyll either, as Cindy testified to.  And the State will further PROVE Cindy did not have remote access to her work computer (from home).

There should be NO surprise to the Defense that the State of Florida has proved Cindy is a bald-faced liar, desperate to assist her daughter.

If the state of Florida puts Casey Anthony at that computer, making those 84 searches for “How to Make Chloroform,”  it is most damaging and goes to premeditation.  The State, if they prove this, will move very, very close to proving this aggravating factor for the death penalty:

The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.

Rebutting Dr. Spitzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

In its rebuttal case, the State of Florida will put on evidence to directly rebut Dr. Spitz’ testimony about the “cranial wash” and whether it is protocol to open the skull of a victim.

So, we wait this morning.  The trial is going to start again soon.  This is simply delaying the inevitable and ultimate sinking of the defense dingy.

30
Jun

a dog day afternoon

In the IMDb (Internet Movie Database), for the movie, Dog Day Afternoon, it says:

A man robs a bank to pay for his lover’s operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

In the case being tried right now in Orlando, The State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, it was a real dog day as the Anthony defense team focused on the Anthony family pet burials, and the testimony benefited the State of Florida.

A Dog Will Have its Day

Had the Anthony defense team stipulated that Casey Anthony learned how to double-bag dead family dogs in a blanket, wrapped up in a bag, and taped with heavy-duty tape, it would be one thing.  BUT to HAND this testimony about burying dogs in a pet cemetery directly to the State is quite another thing, and is totally unbelievable!

The Defense asked Cindy, Lee, and George specific questions regarding the burying of animals – their intention was to illicit testimony that duct-tape was used, and George was the primary person burying the beloved dogs.

Clearly, the plan backfired in way that was justifiably poetic because one could not help but be left with the sense that Casey Anthony bagged Caylee this way because she’d learned and seen how it was done since she was a young girl.

The icing on this case was Jeff Ashton’s question on cross:

  • Jeff:  Did you ever take a dead pet and throw it in a swamp?
  • George: No.

When Cindy testified about the dying dogs, Linda Drane Burdick followed up and asked Cindy if she’d ever given her animals chloroform, or taped their mouths shut with duct-tape?

Brilliant!

The Defense Rests

It is amazing we have come this far – that the end of this case is almost here!  Indeed, today marked the end of the Defense case (unless they’re allowed to put on Sir Rebuttal testimony), and it ended with a whimper, it fell flat as a decomposing pancake.

What did the Defense prove?

In opening statements, Jose Baez promised….

  • Molestation by Lee of Casey.  No evidence of.
  • Molestation by George since age of 8.  No evidence of.
  • Drowning. Suggestive of evidence, but no direct evidence.
  • Put Duct tape in George’s hands. Proven to be available to George, and Casey.
  • Smell from garbage.  Not proven.  Too many State witnesses testified to smell of decomposition in trunk.
  • Roy Kronk in possession of body?  No evidence of.
  • George throwing Caylee in woods?  No evidence of.
  • George is a ladies man?  Possibly, but irrelevant.

Granted, it is not incumbent on the defense to put on a case; but they have put on a case, to their detriment.  I can barely think of a single fact they have proved, can you?

It appears to me that absolutely nothing was presented to support the wild claims Baez made during his opening statement.

Cindy Anthony’s Big Blunder to Save Her Daughter

Last Friday, Cindy Anthony made the grave mistake of testifying that her work records were wrong to indicate that she worked during the week of March 17th to 21st, 2008.

Although her records say she was at work, and the State understood there was no dispute of this, Cindy Anthony got on the stand and testified that she was home and had made the searches for Chloroform.

The State of Florida turned to the company where Cindy worked at that time – Gentiva – and procured those records, proving that Cindy was indeed at work and could NOT have performed the search for Chloroform.

A serious question left on the table, did Jose Baez knowingly put Cindy Anthony on the stand knowing she would LIE?????

This is a serious matter, if true.  We will hear about the fall out from this after the trial, if there is any truth to it.

River Cruz aka Crystal HollowayAn Affair to Remember?

I want to believe George’s version of this affair with Crystal Holloway; however, the conclusion I ultimately come to is, So what?

George is not on trial, his daughter, Casey, is.

In essence, I felt this testimony also backfired on the defense.  It was explained that it was Casey, not George, who Crystal indicated George was referring to when he said mentioned the “accident snowballing out of control.”  Crystal supported this and indicated that she never thought George was involved.

There were other defense dogs today, but it’s too late in the evening…

…. and I am dog-tired!

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