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Posts tagged ‘Orlando State Attorney’

28
Dec

looking back

English: Casey Anthony has been booked into th...

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2011 is coming to an end.  The year has flown by.  Every year don’t we all say, “My, this year has really flown by?!”  And the years do go by pretty quickly, especially as we age.

Time seemed to crawl when I was young.  Was it like that for you, too?

This year flew, though it seemed to stand still, too, at times.

I wrote a blog post every single day in 2011.  To date, I have 608 posts. This one will make 609.

I never thought I’d actually write something every day for an entire year, but I did.  In fact, I wrote a post every day in December 2010 so this is month 13 of my Post-a-day challenge.

It was pretty easy, really.   The Casey Anthony saga gave me so much material!  There were the lawyers on the defense team – how bizarre they were.  The defense attorney’s gave me a lot of colorful content.  And, the Anthony family, Cindy and George and their antics, provided all kinds of fanciful copy as well.

I was very critical of the Anthony defense team, especially Jose Baez, because he deserved it. His courtroom antics were gross and demeaned the legal profession, at least in my opinion.  However, as far as George and Cindy Anthony go – I was too hard on them, at times.  Most bloggers were.

The mainstream media helped sensationalize the situation, as did the overflow of documentation made possible by Florida’s Sunshine law.  Still, bloggers had a field day with the Anthony’s.  I did too.

I am sorry I jumped on the bandwagon and made hay out of the George and Cindy stories – the discovery that was released in the case.  I feel badly, looking back at the last three years of this case, that I judged and criticized them too often, as I know I did.

I think, in hindsight, that I forgot they were real people.  They are hardly perfect and as capable of making stupid mistakes as I am.  I think that comes from being human.

I have never lived under a microscope, I have never had a daughter or a granddaughter, I have never known anyone who either committed or was a victim of murder, not to mention a murder as heinous as Caylee’s was.

During the trial, I felt sorry for both Anthony’s.  In hindsight I realize they only ever wanted to do the right thing for a daughter they doted on.  As despicable as her acts were, the Anthony’s loved her.  She is their daughter.  She destroyed them and they allowed it to happen because they thought that was love.  They thought they were loving and perfect parents.  I think all parents believe they are.

I did some research and reading about how parents – whose children were murderers, behaved and learned that the Anthony’s were not so unusual after all.

Some parents will protect their children no matter what the cost.  Even the most law-abiding people will convince themselves their son/daughter couldn’t possibly be guilty, despite solid evidence that says otherwise. Parents will usually ride a ship called denial across the Nile river for the rest of their lives, if that’s what it takes to maintain their sanity and their love for their child.

It’s easy to believe I’d be different from the Anthony’s, but until I’ve walked in their shoes, how can I know?

Having seen George brought to his knees by his own daughter during the trial makes me feel badly that I judged him.  Watching Cindy Anthony literally crumble on the stand as she relived the pain of loosing both her daughter and Caylee, makes me feel very badly to have judged her at all.

Weren’t the Anthony’s just ordinary people who were thrown into an extraordinary Orlando firestorm?    I think so.

All the crazy proselytizing Cindy did in the media to make Casey into a saint and a good mother helped to make the Anthony’s seem all the more dysfunctional.   Little did they know they were inadvertently putting themselves in front of their own daughter’s version of a firing squad.

The video tapes we saw of the Anthony’s were of them at their most vulnerable.   George and Cindy Anthony seemed to take a wrong turn and make the wrong decision constantly, and we saw it unfold, moment to moment.

I’d like to think I would have acted totally differently in every regard.  But then again, I’ve never been in the lion’s den for three years, let alone three minutes.

The Anthony’s were living their lives as best they could.

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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!

4
Dec

what’s in a name? Not “Fernandez”

I haven’t completely lost interest in the ongoing fallout from the Casey Anthony murder trial, which resulted in the surprising Not Guilty verdict earlier this year.   Every now and then I get sucked back into the newsy-ness of the remaining civil lawsuits against Casey Anthony.

I’m particularly interested in the defamation lawsuit that Zenaida Gonzalez has brought against Casey via the prominent Orlando law firm, Morgan & Morgan.  This lawsuit is becoming ugly as a result of Anthony defense attorney Charles Greene’s public statements that demean Zenaida Gonzalez quite badly.

Initially, Zenaida Gonzalez never signed up for being dragged into a national media maelstrom.  It appears now she is enjoying the lime light.

For the first few days of the case, as the supposed nanny, she’d been under the microscope of the media as a potential suspect in the disappearance of Caylee.  But, in no way was she a lasting suspect, nor was her involvement a theory in the case because the police were pretty secure about Casey’s involvement.  After all, before you could say Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, Casey was behind bars.

These images come up with the search of Zenaida Fernandez Gonalez

It all started in July 2008 when Casey Anthony blamed her “Nanny,” a Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, as the one responsible for absconding with her daughter, the adorable Caylee Marie Anthony.

Caylee  was about a month shy of her third birthday when her mother, Casey, went on the lam for 31 days without so much of a mention that anything untoward had happened to her daughter.  When Casey needed a cover-story for Caylee’s whereabouts, she made up the Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez kidnapping story. We found out soon afterwards that story was a fantasy and Casey knew where her daughter was but refused to share any information.

As we know now, Caylee was already deceased while her mother partied, stole from friends she was living with, and basically thought she’d finally found “the Good Life” or, Bella Vita, as she had tattooed on her back.

When Casey told the police that her nanny, Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, had taken Caylee 31 days ago, the Detective assigned to the case immediately followed up.

The Detective learned that a Zenaida Gonzalez had filled out a guest card at the Sawgrass Apartments where Casey claimed Zenaida lived and where shed’ dropped Caylee off into Zenaida’s care.    The police interviewed the Zenaida who’d filled out that  Sawgrass Apartments guest card.  It was an odd coincidence that Zenaida had visited Sawgrass Apartments where Casey claimed she’d often left Caylee.

Zenaida denied knowing Casey.  And, Casey, when shown a picture of this Zenaida Gonzalez, claimed she was not her nanny.

Sooooo, what’s the fuss, you might be thinking.  Well, Zenaida was wrongly portrayed as a potential kidnapper and was in the glare of the media.  And that, she claims, harmed her reputation and defamed her in the public.

The irony is she is now in the glare of the cameras constantly.  Had she remained in the shadows, her name would have been forgotten within a week of when the police cleared her as a suspect – which they had done immediately, I might add.

But, we’re only human and Zenaida was looking at her chance appearance in the over-sensationalized Anthony case, as a cash cow.

When she hires the law firm Morgan and Morgan (who have a big reputation and bigger voices), they dove into the story and fast.

Morgan and Morgan had a grand time inserting themselves into the media driven soap-opera that had become a circus of many characters and clowns.

It never seemed to be about justice for Zenaida Gonalez.  (But, it was a good bit of media attention for her and her lawyers.)

When they (Morgan and Morgan), video-taped George, Cindy and Lee Anthony’s depositions and released them to the media, it was a gold mine for them – the videos made the national news, and so did Morgan.  The Anthony family was not at all liked by the populace and they were recalcitrant and harsh in the video depositions which made Morgan and Morgan smell like a garden of roses.

Fast forward to 2011 and the same Zenaida Gonzalez lawsuit is full steam ahead, but seemingly getting derailed by their own hubris.

Now we find out that this Zenaida Gonzalez does not have “Fernandez” in her name.  Well, her lawyers used Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez in the civil lawsuit against Casey Anthony…. and no one corrected the media that she was not Fernandez-Gonzalez either.  Everyone was led to believe that her full name was Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez.

Is that deceitful?  If not, it is curious.

Zenaida Gonzalez now says she doesn’t know why her lawyers put that name on the lawsuit.  Could it be they thought their suit might get more attention if the names matched?

Zenaida claims she got unwanted attention as a result of being interviewed by the authorities in connection with this case, though she was never charged with anything.  And now she is saying she wants an apology from Anthony.  And now she claims that she wasn’t fired from her job – she quit her job.

The Casey Anthony case has always been about band-wagons – jumping on the band-wagon for the attention, payout, notoriety and national media attention.

Back in September, 2008, Zenaida filed her law-suit and shortly after appeared on Good Morning America (GMA), to announce it to the nation.

Her lawyer, John Morgan, was on the GMA show as well.  Neither blinked when they referred to Zenaida using the middle name “Fernandez” as you can see in this ABC news story:

Though Fernandez-Gonzalez was cleared by police, she said she lost her job, cannot find an apartment and received threats from Anthony supporters. She filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against Anthony.

Fernandez-Gonzalez, a 37-year-old mother of six, said today on “Good Morning America” that she looked at an apartment and filled out a form at the complex where Anthony said she dropped off Caylee before she disappeared.

“I just went to look at an apartment and filled out an information card,” Fernandez-Gonzalez said in an exclusive interview today with “GMA.” “My suspicion is they probably gave her [Anthony] the information from the card.”   The card included the names of two of her daughters and the make and color of her car, which is the same information that Anthony gave the police, said Fernandez-Gonzalez and her attorney John Morgan.  Link to GMA Story:  click here.

In every story and every appearance I have seen in relation to the civil law suit, the name Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, is referred to.

The Anthony’s knew this and they tried to point it out during their humiliating video-deposition in the civil lawsuit.  No one really listened at the time.

I wonder if anyone is listening to the latest bits of intrigue?

Take a peek at these stories:

http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/full-deposition-be-released-civil-suit-against-cas/nFnrx/

http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/2011/december/352401/Who-is-Zenaida-Gonzalez.html

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_tv_tvblog/2011/12/casey-anthony-her-attorneys-say-zenaida-gonzalez-is-sad-and-bad.html

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.

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?

6
Sep

try casey anthony in federal court???

Every day spam is scooped up by the excellent WordPress spam-blocker and deleted.  Sometimes I have to manually delete the spam because occasionally legitimate comments are mistakenly caught.

I found one of those “legit” comments tonight.  Although, it wasn’t exactly a comment, it was a link to a petition about the Casey Anthony trial.  It’s a legitimate link and an actual petition that already has 48,000 signatures.

48,000 people agree with this petition.

The petition, on change.org,  is intended to convince the legal and political community in this country to consider trying Casey Anthony in Federal Court,  with a federal crime!  What federal crime they believe Casey Anthony committed, I cannot tell you, but the petition refers repeatedly to the murder of Caylee Marie Anthony.

The petition will be sent to:

  • Office of Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll (Jennifer Carroll)
  • United States Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida (ROBERT E. ONEIL)
  • State of Florida Attorney General (Pam Bondi)
  • Governor of Florida (Florida Governor Rick Scott)
  • United States Attorney General (The U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder)
  • Director in Charge FBI Headquarters Washington DC (Robert Mueller)
  • Assistant Director in charge FBI Headquarters Washinton D.C. (James W. McJunkin)
  • ORANGE COUNTY STATE ATTORNEY (LAWSON LAMAR)
  • FBI Orlando Headquarters (Special agent in charge Steven E. Ibison)
  • President of the United States (President Barack Obama)

Though I am loath to publicize this petition, if you would like to review what is written, here is the link:  http://www.change.org/petitions/united-states-attorney-general-try-casey-anthony-in-federal-court

Apparently, there are 48,000 people who don’t know the reason for the double jeopardy rule of law.

The concept of double jeopardy is based on the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. “Nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”

The reason for this protection?  To make sure that We the People are not abused by the government via repeated prosecution, or other abuses.

If repeated prosecutions were legal,  it would amount to a form of  oppression that denies human rights.

In Communist countries the government has total control over such things, and will convict because they can.  Communist countries also control religious beliefs, political parties, and the distribution of wealth.

As we know from WW2, Hitler’s goal was to design a type of German individual that fit his liking.  Under Hitler it was a crime to be Jewish.  13 million people were given the Death Penalty because of their religion.  Catholics, and homosexuals were singled out, too.

Communist countries don’t have trials.  They have convictions.

Casey Anthony was already tried for the crime of murder.  She was found Not Guilty.  Yes, the verdict is difficult to swallow.  Yes, it seems like a travesty of justice, and yes, most of the country believed she was guilty.   But, to even consider trying her again is chilling.  Think about what it would mean if citizens could be tried twice for the same crime!

Casey Anthony is not guilty; that does not mean she is innocent.  Though, she was innocent until proven guilty.  She was proven not guilty and now, she can sing from the rooftops that she committed the crime, and not a single thing can happen to her.

People say, our system of justice didn’t work in this case.  I do not agree.  The system of justice worked.  Just because we didn’t like the outcome of the trial does not mean the system didn’t work.

Casey Anthony now deserves all the freedoms that you and I enjoy.

She had a fair trial – she was given protections and special treatment that most defendants don’t enjoy.   Unfortunately, 12 jurors did not believe the evidence presented – that’s the bottom line.

Reforms are needed to improve the jury system in long, media-laden trials.  But no one could say that Casey Anthony did not have a fair trial or a fair jury.

Judge Belvin Perry is a Jurist of the highest caliber, as was Judge Stan Strickland.  The Prosecution won most of their motions leading up to the trial.  No one can say the prosecution got a bad wrap.

The defense, we said, was  incompetent, unethical, and morally challenged.

But they did what they had to do and won the case.

They won.  In life there are bitter pills to swallow.

4
Sep

Sour grapes, huh?

After the recent hearing to decide the amount of money Casey Anthony will have to pay back to the State of Florida for the pointless search for her “missing”  daughter Caylee Anthony, attorney Cheney Mason claimed it was sour grapes resulting from the State losing the case.

Sour grapes, huh?

Casey Anthony, just like any other citizen, will have to pay the State of Florida back its investigative costs. (Note:  The costs are not related to the trial/prosecution of Casey Anthony.)

Sure, the State of Florida wants to recoup the nearly $517,000 they spent to investigate a “missing” child they later learned had “drowned”.

Yes, these are absolute costs that Casey Anthony rightfully owes for the hours and hours and weeks and weeks of law enforcement investigation that, of course, was all a ruse.  The costs cover the dates of the deception, which were July 15, 2008 until December 11, 2008, when Caylee Marie Anthony’s remains were found.

Lady Justice: Don't fool with me!

You defraud the public, you pay the public back.

Period.

End of story.

We will find out the amount that Casey Anthony will have to pay in about three weeks when Judge Perry submits an order with the amount due.

Now, about that sour taste in your mouth, Mr. Mason?   Just go ahead and gargle with strong mouthwash because I do believe your client may have to put up and shut up.  Only my opinion, of course.

Perhaps Mr. Jose  Baez neglected to consider the impacts his bold opening statement during the trial would have in the long run?

When Baez said, “Caylee was never missing, but drowned” and when his client was found  guilty of lying, cha-chings started adding up.  And well they should have.

Despite the jury finding Casey Anthony not guilty, she was found guilty of lying to law enforcement and will have to pay a hefty sum for those lies.

That will satisfy Lady Justice just fine.

To Mr. Cheney Mason

So your client was found not-guilty of Murder.  It is  no matter here.  Of significance now?  Her lying bilked thousands of dollars out of the Florida coffers.  Had she told investigators that Caylee “drowned” at the outset, the investigation costs would have totaled about six hours, according to witness Lt. Paul Zamboris.

Mr. Mason, as you well know, when people defraud the public and get caught, pay-back is a bitch.  Well, this is nothing new.  And, no one is singling our your “indigent” client! 

Are you living in the past?   You must still believe that your Southern Gentleman-like charm, and that  Old-Florida drawl you put on as thick as Aunt Jemima syrup on hot pancakes, will work in this case.   Ain’t gonna work.   But, heck, you can resort to name-calling and obscene hand gestures all you want, it ain’t gonna amount to a hill of full of beans.  Throwing sophomoric hissy-fits will not persuade the Honorable Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., either.

But, I do have advice, Mr. Mason.  Don’t continue with that mean and cantankerous Ole Florida Coot act.   It only makes you look like you’re eating the sour grapes.  And it’s unbecoming.   You won the war, and jolly good for you.   You may not win the battle, so prepare yourself.

Remember the Runaway Bride story and how that ended?

The Runaway Bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, was running away from her fiancée, John Mason, (whose name, coincidentally is Mason, though I know of no connection), and also had to pay a sum of money as restitution.

Runaway Bride, Jennifer Wilbanks / BBC photo

As a result of her fraud, the Runaway Bride plead guilty to, a felony.  She got two years of probation, and a bill for nearly $43,000.

That story was a media circus, too.  Jennifer Wilbanks, like Casey Anthony, defrauded the public and had to pay.

According to the BBC, Jennifer Wilbanks sold the media rights to her story to a New York City company for $500,000.  Wilbanks did not offer to repay the whole cost of the search for her, which totaled almost $43,000.  BBC, June 5, 200

I think the penniless Casey Anthony should start counting those pennies.

I don’t believe a plea of “sour grapes” will convince the court to let Casey Anthony off scot-free.

Um, I’m sure you know that, Mr. Mason.

 

References:

Read Hal Boedeker story here.

BBC article:  Read here.

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!

14
Aug

it’s about what sells; Casey Anthony sells

It would be nice to forget Casey Anthony and the lawyer-minions supporting her.  But she just won’t go away.

Her whereabouts are unknown at this time, but not for the media’s lack of trying.  And, if the Orlando circuit court has its way, she will return to the Fantasy City to serve probation for the 2009 check-fraud case for which she plead guilty.

As you’re probably aware, Judge Stan Strickland, the initial judge in both the check-fraud case, and the murder case, as a result of her guilty plea, sentenced Casey Anthony to over 400 days of credit for time served, and to one year of probation, upon her release.

The sentence of one year of probation was recently reaffirmed by Judge Belvin Perry, after Judge Strickland recused himself from the case.

Yes, Casey Anthony was recently given a sentence of one year of probation, to be served in Orlando, too.  She’ll have to get a job, check in with probation officers, and basically behave.   This will be one tall order.

I do not see Casey Anthony ever returning to Orlando.  Frankly, I hope she does not return.  No doubt her lawyers will appeal; they’ll get a stay, but the appeal will fail.  They will appeal again, this time to the Florida Supreme Court. They will get a stay, but the appeal will fail.  All this could take a minimum of two years.

Two years from now, Casey Anthony will be standing on someone’s Orlando porch, knocking on someone’s door handing them all her baggage.  Who could handle her notoriety?

Let’s hope she is forgotten soon. Let’s hope she is quiet, unrecognizable, and allowed to live her life.

I don’t believe in hating, or writing furious letters or boycotting.

Is the purpose of boycotting because she was found not guilty?  Is the boycotting because she may profit from her story?

She has every right to profit; she can do exactly as she pleases now.  If we cannot respect her rights as a citizen, how can we expect our rights to be similarly respected?  These are our rights, too.

If we put ourselves in her place would we act differently?  If we were in jail, insisting on our innocence, and no one but a couple of dopey lawyers believed in us, what then?  If we eventually prevailed in court and our rights were restored, wouldn’t it be great?  We would say the system worked, right?

That’s our system and that’s what sometimes happens.  It’s like baseball, there are winners and there are losers.  But, when that game ends, it’s over.  People will say, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”  I’ve never found that to be true even though there are a lot of fat ladies.

I believe in our system of justice, and know it’s not perfect.  I hate that Casey Anthony will not stay in jail for her crime.  She will have to face her community at some point, now that she’s facing probation.

Very few people, and certainly not me, will say she is innocent.  But it no longer matters.  Her accusers (the State of Florida), did not prove their case to the jurors.

Perhaps her lawyers were allowed to be too snarky and sneaky with the truth during the trial.  But they won their case.  The jury, even though I believe they did not take their duty seriously enough, made their decision and it is binding.

It is binding.  No one, not Federal Court, not the Supreme Court of the United States of America, will reverse that verdict.  It is done and it is over.

I absolutely believe that both Judges Perry and Strickland did the right thing by upholding her probation, and if she were not such a salacious media target, I believe she should serve that sentence in Orlando.  However, she is a scandalous time-bomb in that fantasy city.  The moment she steps foot anywhere near Orlando the media will find her, she’ll hide again, they’ll find her again, and on and on it will go.

If she is allowed to fade away, it would be the absolute best thing.  I doubt it will happen.

I always wonder why this story is what it is.  I think we should ask ourselves what is it that draws so much attention to this story?  What is it that causes people to stand outside in the rain, at midnight, to get a glimpse of her driving away from jail?  Why would people wait for hours across the street from the courthouse to get a ticket to attend the trial, and then fight and kick and scream at one another just to get a place in line?

I felt embarrassed for people who did that.

If I look at this Casey Anthony fiasco objectively, from a journalism/marketing perspective, I believe the obsession is because the Casey Anthony story is sexy.

There I said it.

There is no denying sex sells.  If you don’t believe me, look at the magazine covers that are in our face in the grocery store check-out aisles.  Look at the mannequins in mall store windows, or look at the ads displayed in store windows.

Our TV shows are either suggestive of sex, or completely full of outright sexual content. Movies and movie-stars are sexy and the consumers go nuts for them.  For the last few years, the paparazzi does nothing but hound pregnant stars to get a shot of their swollen belly, which has become sexy, too.  A baby bump is never hidden beneath conservative maternity clothing anymore – it’s sexier to see the bump.

We see “stars” in revealing bikini’s at the beach, and we are shown close-ups of their celluloid; we even shown close-ups of C-Section scars.

That is NOT sexy, but it is – it’s not but it is.  And it sells.

Casey Anthony was a beautiful, buxom young woman and the story of Casey Anthony became a national obsession, but it was fading.  If she shows up in Orlando to serve probation, our addiction to this story will be back.

I don’t blame the media.  They are giving their audience what they think it wants.

It’s about money.  It’s about the “money shot” of Casey doing whatever.  It’s nuts and it sells.

But, it’s also about allowing a person to live the life she’s promised, given the rights and protections of the U.S. Constitution.

So what if she makes a little money in the process. Why should I care, after all she owes the State of Florida nearly half a million dollars, remember?

We want her to make a little bit of money.  It will be good for the State of Florida; it will be a good reminder that the U.S. Constitution is supposed to protect us all.

In the meantime, I’ll keep writing about the legal fallout from the Casey Anthony case because it will be fascinating.

My brother says he’s afraid of the legal precedents, in the State of Florida, that could result from this case.  I have no idea what he’s talking about because he knows the law and I don’t.

I’m afraid of someone getting hurt; and I’m afraid for the crazy people in Fantasy Land who will do anything for their 15 minutes of fame.

Although sex sells, so does horror.

[Insert monster laugh here.]

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.

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!

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