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Posts tagged ‘Orlando State Attorney’

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.

1
Aug

will casey anthony serve probation in Orlando?

Is she coming baaaaaaacccckkkk to Orlando to serve out probation in just 72 hours?  That was the buzz today in the Casey Anthony trial saga that just won’t end!

Judge Stan Strickland, the original judge in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony first degree murder case, also presided over the case in which Anthony stood accused of writing a number of fraudulent checks, charges were pressed against her by Amy Huizenga, a former friend that Anthony stole from.  Anthony plead guilty in this case.

Bang! And the decision is...???

Judge Strickland sentenced Anthony to one year of probation.  At the time of sentencing, he considered allowing her probation to be carried out while she was in jail awaiting trial for the murder of her daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony, but then decided she spend one year of probation upon her eventual release.

There was either a miscommunication or a lack of understanding on the part of the clerk who wrote the order that detailed what was decided by Judge Strickland.

The order, as understood by the Department of Corrections, was carried out by the Dept. of Corrections according to the order for probation, as they understood it.

A probation officer was assigned and Anthony was visited regularly by the probation officer handling her probation.  The probation period lasted one year, as the Judge ordered.

Why did no one question this?

It seems odd that a person would serve probation while in jail.  The purpose of probation, as I understand it, is to monitor the behavior of the individual to ensure his or her rehabilitation into society will be successful. How can that occur when one is locked up in jail and isolated each day for a period of 23 hours? What kind of trouble could a person get into with those constraints?

Of course the prisoner is going to behave!  They are isolated and have no choice! This is hardly the intent of probation.

There are quite a few prognosticators weighing in on what the defense team in the Anthony case will do to stop this probation order.  As I see it, the defense has a few options:

  1. Argue that Judge Strickland recused himself from the Anthony case (after the defense filed a motion to remove him), as such, he should not be deciding this case.  However, it seems that Judge Strickland is still the Judge on record and responsible for the application of the sentence – as he originally intended.
  2. The defense could, and likely will, file an emergency motion to appeal the amended order.
  3. They could request another Judge, potentially causing a delay in the application of the probation order.
  4. The defense could claim “double jeopardy.”  (I cannot see how double jeopardy would apply – the probation is solely related to the fraudulent check sentence.)  No doubt they will claim that Anthony is being persecuted.
  5. The defense may attempt to argue the hostility and danger of Anthony returning to Orange County to serve her probation. I am not sure if the court will care…. that’s a county issue, I believe.

Apparently the good Judge Strickland realized last week that Anthony was not serving probation, looked into it, and set about to correct the situation, much to the chagrin of the Anthony defense team.

Having to bring Anthony back to Orange County to serve her probation would mess up the planned publicity junkets, interviews, magazine centerfold posing, books, and whatever else is planned so corporation Anthony can eek out a living from the murder of her child.

The Conundrum….

Ever since the news broke about the probation issue, my first thought was, “Here we go, again!”  If Anthony returns from hiding, it would be another nutty media circus, providing more attention than is deserved.

Then, I thought, if she is required to serve probation in Orlando it will be deserved hell on earth for her.   But there’s also the question of her security, as we know there are terrible people out in the public who will harass and possibly harm her.  That would not be a desired outcome, of course.

We have the privilege of the First Amendment, and people in the community have a right to protest, but there is also human decency and the safety of Anthony and the public.   Also, it would be yet another cost to the taxpayers to have her in Orlando – she’d have to have protection.

I certainly would NOT want any harm to come to Anthony.  Frankly, I’d like to forget her.

If probation prevents her from profiting, all the better.

It is repulsive that she may be in a position to profit.  If her returning to Orlando will in some way squash the networks cashing in and paying her, that would be a great outcome….. I’m probably only dreamin’ though.

In the meantime, while we wait for the outcome of the probation issue to unfold, I would like to nominate Judge Strickland for President.

Anyone second that motion?

29
Jul

do the hustle

I hadn’t planned on writing about the Casey Anthony saga, but I do want to discuss a couple of interesting tidbits that have occurred of late.

The Orlando County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) has announced the amount of the bill it intends to slap like Henkel duct tape on Casey Anthony.

The OSCO is seeking reimbursement of $293,123.77 for its investigation of Caylee Anthony’s disappearance.  The cost is calculated from the day Cindy Anthony reported Caylee missing: July 15, 2008, until December 11, 2008, when the location of Caylee’s remains were located.

The State Attorney’s Office has filed a bill with a price tag of more than $141,000.   The amount of the costs that can be levied against Casey Anthony will be determined in court, on August 25th.  By that time, the final costs could reach in excess of $500,000.

And that’s only the beginning!  There are other lawsuits waiting in the wings, which is why Casey Anthony will have to do the hustle sooner or later.

The defense may well argue that it is unconstitutional to hold their client responsible for costs since Casey Anthony was found not guilty.  Not so in this case.  What Casey Anthony did was a fraud deliberately perpetrated by the dishonest mother of a supposedly missing daughter.  The fact that it was a fraud has been conceded by Jose Baez in open court.

The People of the State of Florida should not have to bear the burden of the costs of the investigation, period. End of story.

No matter.  Casey Anthony could make $500,000 from Larry Flynt’s Hustler Magazine if she chooses to bare it all in his centerfold.

Larry Flynt told Nancy Grace that should Casey Anthony do the hustle for the Hustler, she’d earn $500,000.  How perfect!  That would just cover the bill from Florida!

It’s anyone’s guess if this Hustler offer is being considered. (It’s a disturbing visual.)

Are the network wars for “the” interview going by the wayside?  It’s anyone’s guess.  The networks are falling over themselves to say they will NOT pay for interviews.  The have integrity, they yell from the rafters.  They have standards!  They are about real journalism, you know!  Uh, right.

You know what would bust the network’s hustle for a Casey Anthony interview?  The answer:  The Zenaida Gonsalez civil law suit.

If the law firm Morgan & Morgan has their way and can move forward on a videotaped deposition of Caseey BEFORE a network interview it would remove or lower an audience’s interest in seeing a network interview with Casey Anthony.

Wouldn’t that be just perfect?!

C’mon Morgan and Morgan, do the hustle!

19
Jul

84 searches for chloroform – NOT! Give OCSO its CacheBack, please

It was much ado about nothing.

The brouhaha today regarding the initial dramatic testimony given by State witness John Dennis Bradley, the designer of the software “CacheBack,” that there were 84 searches for Chloroform, was a big story today.

But, this is a non-story.   It is neither an admission or a State error; nor was it an attempt to hang on to exculpatory evidence, as many reporters and bloggers have recently said.

Granted, this WAS dramatic testimony originally – it would have been damning evidence – had it been true.

The State of Florida corrected this in its rebuttal case.  Additionally, you may remember, it was never referred to in their closing arguments.  Why?  Because in its rebuttal case, the correct number of searches for the word Chloroform, using the UPDATED CacheBack software, was only ONCE.

One time. One search. Not 84 searches.  And this was made, although not abundantly clear by Linda Drane-Burdick, it was clarified when another expert computer witness testified during the State’s rebuttal case.

Casey Anthony, searched for chloroform ONE time – perhaps once is not enough to establish premeditation.  And that is the sticking point, too.  If the jury had considered 84 searches in their deliberations, it would have been a serious problem.  (The jury never considered any evidence, so we know this is a moot point, anyway.)

Oh, and although the chloroform search was singular, she also searched for:

  • Internal bleeding,
  • Ruptured spleen,
  • Death,
  • Self-defense,
  • Chest trauma,
  • Household weapons,
  • Hand to hand combat,
  • Neck Breaking, and
  • Internal Bleeding.

Might she have had murder on her mind?

Regardless, the State of Florida protected the record, I believe, by the testimony of the witness who said that when CacheBack had upgraded its software and analyzed the same data with the new and improved software, there were NOT 84 search instances.  There was only one.

It is in Mr. Bradley’s best interest to make hay out of this story to market his company and software. Perhaps he was getting unfavorable press as a result of the error that was exposed?

In deference to Mr. Bradley, he makes a good point when he stated that  although it was the Orange County Sherrif’s Office (OCSO) that had used his software to find the 84 Google searches, he points out that the OCSO should have validated those findings another way, but they did not do so.

Aha!  Now, he owns up.  Blame it on the OCSO.  How conveeeenient!

Uh, well, the OCSO was convinced this software was reliable!  They did not realize it would give back FALSE data.

When the software was updated, the test was rerun, and it was then discovered that his software, the earlier version, was not correct.

Isn’t it convenient for Mr. Bradley to blame the OCSO now?

I am not a lawyer, but it appears that had Casey Anthony been found guilty (of something) and convicted, this would NOT be reversible error because the truth of the matter is on the record in the rebuttal case.

And, if this was really an issue, Jose Baez would have made some comment about it, but I believe he has been largely quiet on this non issue.

Granted, Cheney Mason was quoted in the NY Times article as being appalled at this.   “Outrageous!” said the nimble-fingered Mr. Mason.  (I don’t think Mr. Mason caught all the testimony in this case, frankly.)

Mr. Bradley, the computer expert, believed that the State and the police were negligent in its work by not correcting the record.

The record was corrected.  It truly was much ado about nothing.  Kind of like Mr. Todd Macoluso having fun with the media by dressing a woman up in the same clothes that Casey Anthony wore in her release from jail, and running this “decoy” with a coat over her face, until she was out of sight on Orlando’s Executive airport.

It drove the news outlets into a tizzy!  All of a sudden the headlines began to sing:  “Casey Sighting in Orlando!”

Todd will have a good laugh over this for days to come!

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!

18
Jun

Yet again, Judge Perry says willful violation by Baez

I originally wrote the below post on Jan. 3, 2011 after Jose Baez was caught red-handed, trying to hide information, just as he did today with Dr. William Rodriguez. He’s a forensic anthropologist with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Today, the witness, Dr. Rodriquez, began to testify about the effect of duct tape on skeletal remains – a topic that was not included in the witnesses report, and which violates the rules of discovery in Florida criminal cases.

The court stopped abruptly as attorney Jeff Ashton advised Judge Perry of the violation.

Judge Perry asked Dr. Rodriquez was he told that he had to included ALL is opinions in his report?  “No,” said Dr. Rodriquez.

Judge Perry asked the witness, “When did you tell Mr. Baez about this opinion?”  “In February,” Dr. Rodriquez replied.

Baez was required to share this with the State of Florida – he did not, he kept it secret.

Therefore, with rising disdain an frustration, Judge Perry told Baez that his actions were willful and clearly a violation – just as he said in January of this year, when I wrote the below article.

It is just another reminder that Jose Baez thinks nothing of acting in “Bad Faith” in his practice as a lawyer.

Judge Perry could have held Baez in contempt of court today, but in the interest of seeing this case to its completion, he did not do it. But he could have, and some will argue he should have.

Judge Perry said, “This is not my first rodeo, Mr. Baez.”  Perry then told Baez he will withhold his ruling / revisit this at the conclusion of the case.

If I had to bet, I would say Judge Perry will do it – he will find Baez in contempt.  There is no way a contempt hearing could happen now, in the middle of the trial, of course, and the Judge is committed to see the trial through to its final bow.

But, I think he may do it.

Judge Perry previously warned, and warned Baez again and again, in pre-trial hearings, about the rules of discovery.  Baez kept breaking the rules until he was formally sanctioned and was required to pay costs to the State of Florida.

Back in January, Judge Perry, in no uncertain terms, told the lawyers,   if an expert should FAIL to disclose what he or she will testify to, that expert will be precluded from testifying at trial.

Today, Perry was not so strict and will allow the State to take the witnesses deposition today, allowing him to testify next week.

Judge Perry was not about to let Jose Baez’ actions hurt Casey Anthony’s opportunity to put on this witness.

Here is a link to an article I wrote about the fallout of the sanction and the violation.   https://andreadreamin.com/2011/01/20/oh-that-contemptuous-defense/

Here is the January 6th article that is related to what happened today:

Judge Perry: Willful violation by Baez

Every single day across the state of Florida, both criminal defense and prosecution attorneys abide by a very strict rule of reciprocal discovery.  The rules of discovery in criminal proceedings are very well known to most attorneys who practice in the state.  In short, the discovery rules require each side to inform the other in writing of any and all discovery that exists prior to trial.  This rule is to avoid what Judge Perry referred to as the common principle of “trial by ambush”.

Now, the Casey Anthony defense team won’t be the first to disobey this requirement; I would venture to say that in cities across the state of Florida, prosecutors have also inadvertently or willfully disobeyed this rule on occasion, as no case is perfect.  The troubling aspect of failure to abide by this rule is to run the risk of a verdict being overturned, which would require a retrial.

As you may recall, Judge Perry ordered the defense to produce expert witness discovery by a certain deadline date.  When the defense failed to comply and turn over sufficient detail to the prosecution, Judge Perry clarified the order for Jose Baez at a second hearing.  When Jose Baez failed to comply to the second court order, the court today concluded that the defense willfully violated its court order.

The prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, advised the court that the defense has a history of deliberately skirting deadlines, and not complying with discovery rules. To which Cheney Mason answered: The defense is doing its best against the State – with all its resources.  Mr. Mason opined that he and Mr. Baez are paying out of their own pockets for airfare and other incidentals.  Mr. Baez later sarcastically let the court know that his salary is about $3.00 per hour.

The fact of the matter is, this is the burden that ALL defense attorneys have to contend with!     If Mr. Mason and Mr. Baez cannot keep up with the costs and the demands this trial asks of them, it’s too bad and oh so sad, but that is life in the criminal justice system in Florida.

Jeffery Ashton was quite convincing and eloquent today.  He asked that the court sanction the defense to the extent that is personally hurtful.  He said, if the Judge does not do so, the defense will continue to obfuscate and delay, causing harm to Casey Anthony’s ability for adequate defense, and causing delay to the May trial date.  Mr. Ashton suggested that Jose Baez be charged $500 per day until such time as he produces the discovery of its expert witnesses.

Judge Perry wasted no time in issuing his ruling, and was clearly very prepared, having read the motions and the supporting documents from the State.

In short, the Judge found that the defense willfully violated a court order.  He also pointed out that it is highly unlikely that the defense team does not know what their experts’ opinions or findings are.

As to sanctions, the court decided that Jose Baez would pay the costs associated with the State having to file the motion for sanctions, including lawyer fees.  Jeff Ashton will determine an amount; submit it to the court who will announce the amount of the fine. Jose Baez will then have five days to appeal the amount he will have to pay the court.

Furthermore, the court ruled that the defense may not use or argue any expert opinion that is not included in written discovery or in a deposition at trial.  This means, if the defense chooses to “hide” a fact or an opinion from the prosecution, and then tries to bring the opinion before the jury at trial, it will be disallowed.

That alone is a very serious sanction for Jose Baez as his strategy is to conceal and hide information in the hopes of knocking the State off their game with the element of surprise. As you know, the rules of criminal procedure for the state of Florida do not allow for trial by surprise or ambush.

Mr. Baez had better resort to trying his case on its merit, of which we know there is little, and steer clear of trickery or contempt charges will be the next tool used by Judge Perry.

Judge Perry ordered the defense to submit its expert witness discovery within seven days.  Jose Baez asked for 30 days, the Judge said no, but allowed Jose Baez to submit by Wednesday an estimation of how long it will take to fulfill the discovery request.  The Judge appeared willing to concede a day or so, which was generous of him.

As for the additional motions – all 22 of them.  Most will not be heard until the State can provide an argument in answer to each motion.  The Judge is allowing the state 15 days to file their responses to the motions.

13
Jun

hair and heart sticker residue

The big news today came as a result of Judge Belvin Perry announcing that the Prosecution’s case, in the Casey Anthony Murder Trial, is likely to wrap up either Tuesday, or Wednesday morning  of this week!   This means the defense will start their case Wednesday afternoon!

The heart sticker found at the scene of the crime in the State v. Casey Anthony Trial

It was surprising to hear the State’s case will conclude without calling Roy Kronk, other family members, Shirley and Rick Pleasea.  I also wonder if experts will testify with regards to Casey’s cell phone pings.

I do understand why the State would not need to call Kronk, since the defense will certainly call him.  The State will be able to rehabilitate Roy Kronk in their cross examination during the defense case.

Depending upon what the defense brings to their case, the State of Florida may put on a rebuttal case.  I tend to think they may.

The defense may then put on their own rebuttal, but the Judge would have to allow it, and the focus could only be on what the State brought forward in their rebuttal.

With regards to upcoming State witnesses, I read that Robyn Adams (Casey Anthony’s former jail roommate) is supposed to testify soon.  I would think the State’s Botanist, Dr. Hall, will testify at some point this week as well.

As far as today’s testimony, we heard from two FBI analysts.  One FBI witness was Stephen Shaw, an FBI expert in forensic hair and fiber.  He testified that the single piece of hair, with the decompositional banding found in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car, is similar to the hair found with the remains of Caylee Anthony.

Elizabeth Fontaine, FBI latent-print examiner, explained that she discovered a heart shape on one of three pieces of duct tape sent to the FBI Laboratory for analysis.

This is evidence that the Defense tried desperately to keep out of the trial.  It was odd that Baez did not do a better job of cross-examining Ms. Fontaine.

The defense fought this  “phantom” outline/image of residue in the shape of a heart, on the duct tape. The reason?  That a heart sticker (pictured) was found near Caylee Anthony’s remains on a piece of duct tape.  This, as you know, inexplicably tells us that that heart sticker was applied on the duct tape.

What I don’t understand is why the heart shape (pictured) found in the area where the remains were found, was not introduced today.  Perhaps that piece of evidence is coming later.   Law Enforcement found in Casey Anthony’s home, sheets of heart stickers resembling the sticker found at the crime scene.  Perhaps Law Enforcement will introduce both these items.

The beginning of the defense case is going to be interesting!  Will Casey Anthony testify?  If Jose Baez is going to stick with his molestation theory, she will have to.

That will be something to see!

12
Jun

update: another woman joins death row

June 12, 2011

Ana Maria Cardona / Credit: Miami Herald

Another woman, Ana Maria Cardona, is added to Florida’s death row.

We now have four women on Florida’s Death Row.

This is the second time she has taken up residence there.

Two decades ago, in Miami-Dade County, Ana Maria Cardona was sentenced to death for the murder of her three-year old son, Lazaro “Baby Lollipops” Figuero.

The child was left dead in bushes in an affluent area of Miami Beach.  The child’s identity was unknown, though on his badly beaten body was a T-shirt adorned with lollipops when he was discovered in 1990.  The dead, ransacked child was lovingly called Baby Lollipops.

The crime was brutal.  The child endured unspeakable torture, and Ana Maria Cardona was sentenced to die on Florida’s death row.

Cardona became the first woman to be sentenced to death for the murder of her own child.

However, her sentence was overturned in 2002 by the Florida Supreme Court, and Cardona was set free.  The reversal occurred as a result of the Prosecutor failing to release reports to the defense regarding statements made by Ana Cardona’s lover, Olivia Gonzalez, who Cardona blamed for the death of the child.

This past Friday, June 10, 2011, Ana Cardona was re-sentenced by a jury of twelve to the death penalty.

The jurors voted 7-5 for death.

The Judge Reemberto Diaz had no remorse for Cardona as he read the 15 page sentence he wrote which painstakingly detailed the horrors that this mother inflicted on her child.

The Judge recounted how Cardona beat the child with a sticks, belts, and a baseball bat.  She called the baby “The Devil” and would rub feces in his face, poke his eyes.  She knocked out the child’s teeth, broke his bones, starved him, and duct-taped a diaper to his tiny torso.  The diaper was rarely changed and Baby Lollipops endured extreme pain from the infections that resulted.

Casey Anthony could become the fourth fifth woman in the state of Florida currently sentenced to perish under the malevolent and inhumane specter of the death penalty.

Two More Make Three

I wrote this post, originally titled “women and the death penalty,” in February, of this year.  At the time, one woman was on Florida’s death row: Tiffany Cole.  Now, two more Floridians were added: Emilia Carr, Margaret Allen, and now Ana Maria Cardona.

The second revision included the story about Teresa Lewis, who was killed by lethal injection in Virginia last year, September 23, 2010 and realized I needed to add her to this sad list.  Now, Ana Maria Cardona – the monster.

Teresa Lewis

Of course, I remember the story of Teresa Lewis now.  You may remember it, too.  It was such a maddening, cruel and utterly sad situation, and it gives me goosebumps to think of this mentally handicapped woman being dragged to her death.

Teresa Lewis was convicted of Capital Murder for hiring hit-men to kill her husband and step-son.  She allegedly wanted the husband’s insurance money.  I say “allegedly” because one of the hit-men admitted that she was not the mastermind at all, the hit-man wanted a share of the insurance money.

Teresa Lewis - (AP Photo/newsPRos, File)

You see, Teresa Lewis, with an IQ of only 72, which places her near the mark of mental retardation, as defined by the Supreme Court, was sentenced to death. The hit-men were  sentenced to life.  But the hit-men, who each had the motive of that insurance money, and who claimed (long after the fact), to have masterminded the whole affair, were not given death sentences.

With an IQ of 72, Teresa Lewis was not close enough to mental retardation for the Supreme Court because they refused to take the case.  The State Supreme Court, a U.S. District Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, all ruled that Teresa must die for her crime.

According to a September 2010 Newsweek article, written by Lynn Litchfield, there was a letter from one of the two hit-men that Teresa did not “mastermind” the killing, he did.

See the Litchfield article here: Unfit for Execution

Women on Florida’s Death Row Today

Casey Anthony is faced with the death penalty should she be convicted of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony.  If sentenced with death, Casey will join three other Florida female inmate death row:

Tiffany Cole, is now the longest serving female inmate on Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in 2008 for her role in the killing a couple from Jacksonville, Florida.  The couple were murdered as a result of being buried alive.  Cole is currently on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution, which is situated in the Central Florida area, north of Orlando.

Emilia Carr was sentenced to Florida’s death row on February 22, 2011, in Marion County for kidnapping and murdering her boyfriend’s ex-wife, Heather Strong. She and her boy friend were co-defendants.  They lured Heather into a storage shed where they bound her with duct tape to a chair.  They then placed a plastic bag over her head and suffocated her. They buried her in a shallow grave, which was discovered a month later.  Carr is also in the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Margaret A. Allen is a very recent resident of Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in Brevard County on May 19, 2011.  Her crime was the torture and killing of her housekeeper, Wenda Wright, whom Allen suspected of stealing from her.  According to the prosecutors, she tortured Wenda Wright for hours before strangling her with a belt.  Margaret Allen received help from her roommate, James Martin, and her nephew, Quinton Allen, to bury the victim in a shallow grave. The two were also convicted for their part.

_Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Florida Executions since 1973

Since 1973, Florida has executed two women, Judias Buenoano, and Aileen Wournos.

Buenoano was sentenced in 1985 for the 1971 crime in which she poisoned her husband with arsenic.  She was also convicted, and sentenced to life, in the 1980 drowning of her paralyzed son. Then prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., prosecuted this case.  Buenoano was the first woman to be executed using the electric chair in the state of Florida.  Her execution occurred in 1998.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her death.

Aileen Wournos was sentenced to die in 1992 for the murder of a Clearwater, Florida businessman.  Wournos is also thought to have been implicated in the death of a number of other men, and is often referred to as Florida’s only female serial killer. You may recall the movie, Monster, based on her criminal history – her prostitution and terrible escapades with men.

History of Women on Florida’s Death Row

Since 1926, a total of 14 women who were sentenced to death, had their sentences commuted or reversed.  The commuting of a few of the sentences were a result of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1972, determining that capital punishment laws were unconstitutional.  Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, hence the death sentences of Aileen Wournos and Judias Buenoano.

One could clearly conclude that Florida does not like to impose or carry out the death penalty on women.  The woman on death row since 1976, who were sentenced to die, and were either released, or had their sentences reversed, have terrible but interesting cases.  I have outlined a short history of the women who were originally sentenced to die, below.

Sonia Jacobs.  Convicted for her part in the shooting of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and his friend.  Her death sentence was overturned in 1981, and she was sentenced to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.  In 1992 her case was reversed on appeal, and she plead to second degree murder. She was released in 1992 because she her sentence included time served.

Kaysie Dudly.  Sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of her mother’s employer – a wealthy Florida widow.  She was re-sentenced (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.  She is currently serving her time at Lowell Correctional Institution.

Carla Caillier.  Was sentenced to death in 1987 to death for the murder of her husband in 1986, in Tampa.  She was re-sentenced in 1988 (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.

Dee D. Casteel.  Sentenced in Dade County in 1987 for murdering an 84 year old woman who had been inquiring about her missing son.  Casteel and another person had ordered the woman’s son to be murdered the month before.  Casteel paid two auto mechanics to carry out the murder. Her death sentence was vacated in 1990.  She was then re-sentenced to life, but she died in prison in 2002, at the Broward County Correctional Institution.

Deidre Hunt. Sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1989 shooting of two men that she was paid to kill. She was videotaped killing one of the men.  She plead guilty and was re-sentenced to life in 1998.  She is currently at Homestead Correctional Institution.

Andrea Hicks Jackson. Sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of a police officer, in Jacksonville, Florida. She filed a false report regarding a vandalized car and shot the officer five times when he attempted to arrest her. Her death warrant was signed in March 1989 but then stayed in May of 1989 by the Florida Supreme Court.  She was re-sentenced to life in 2000, and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Virginia Larzelere.  Sentenced to death in 1993 for the killing of her husband, a practicing dentist.  She was re sentenced to life in 2008 and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Women on Death Row in the United States

Since 1976, a total of 12 women have been executed in this country.

Some statistics:

  • Since the year 1608, there are 568 documented cases of executions of women.
  • In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S.
  • As of September 1, 2000 there were approximately 38 women on death row.
  • As of today, there are approximately 64 women on death row (the numbers will change as more cases are tried).

Will Casey Anthony be number 65?

In reality, the numbers do inform us that the actual instance of execution of female offenders, compared to men, is rare.  According to The Death Penalty Information Center, since 1608, confirmed cases of female executions account for only 2.8% of the total executions carried out.

The Supreme Court, in 1972, had it right when they ruled that capital punishment was cruel and unusual, and wholly unconstitutional.

Will Casey Anthony sit on Florida’s death row?  Of course it will depend on twelve men and women who are hearing her case, so it’s impossible to know. Will the jurors find the State v. Casey Anthony case so egregious – given the position taken by her defense – they will vote for death?

The death penalty outcome for Casey Anthony may be due to her incompetent lawyers.  If she is sentenced, the trial will immediately go into another phase called the “Penalty Phase,” where both sides must provide their case as to whether to give her death (State’s position), or Life (Defense position).

The penalty phase will be tried, on the defense side, by Ann Finnel. She is more than competent and Casey’s only hope for life.

Casey has her age and her gender in her favor, because if you read the stories of the women who had their death sentences reversed, chances are, if Casey Anthony is sentenced to death (and I hope she is not), she may escape death row.  In fact, many cases like Casey Anthony’s have resulted in reversals.

Because Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., is a careful Judge, his death cases have never been reversed – to date.  The Judy Buenoano case, tried by Prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., resulted in the penalty of death.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her execution.  It seems fair to say, then, Judge Perry is not opposed to death.

The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland, the original Judge in the Casey Anthony case, from what I have read, is considered be softer on sentencing defendants to death.  The defense in this case, however, campaigned to have  Judge Strickland removed from the case (for reading a blog), I am more than certain they are sorry now.

However, given the statistics, Florida clearly does not like to kill women.

We will see which way the wind blows in a month, or so.

References:

NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc: http://naacpldf.org/files/publications/DRUSA_Spring_2010.pdf

Florida women photos and info: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/women.html

Research Article: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/femaledeathrow.pdf

10
Jun

Homicide

No child should have duct tape on their face when they die. There’s no reason to put duct tape on the face after they die.  ~  Dr. Jan Garavaglia 

Today’s testimony, in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, was powerful and compelling. Things are going downhill fast for Casey Anthony – and she knows it.

Okay.  So, the defense has not told its side of the story yet and the tide may turn, though it’s very unlikely.  For one reason, today’s testimony by the determined Dr. Jan Garavaglia, Chief Medical Examiner of Orange and Oseola Counties, clearly dispelled any question about an accidental death, or a drowning in this case.

Doubt is Doubt, and Reason means Reason

If there was any inkling of reasonable doubt in anyone’s mind that Casey Anthony was responsible for the murder of the darling Caylee Anthony, today totally squashed any doubt.

How could anyone have a doubt who’s responsible  for Caylee’s murder after today?

Homicide

Dr. G. laid down the circumstances surrounding the cause of death and the manner of death so brilliantly today.

It was ironic that the most powerful pieces of Dr. G’s opinions and findings were given during the defense’s cross examination!

Cheney Mason asked Dr. G. open ended questions and she ran with them!  She was able to discuss drowning accidents, too. (Oh, how many of us were cheering her on?!)

Dr. G. told Cheney Mason that drownings are an unfortunate reality in her world.  But, 100 percent of the time in these cases, 911 is called in an effort and hope that the child can be saved.  100 percent of the time!

And Cheney Mason asks Dr. G., “Well, what if the child is obviously dead?”  Dr. G. responds by saying, in essence: There is always a chance the child could be saved, so people dial 911.

During direct testimony with Prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, she was asked if she had an opinion in regards to the manner of death.  “Yes,” she said, and goes on to say:

Homicide. It’s based on three main things. When a child isn’t reported, that’s something we look for; for foul play.

The body was hidden, also the body is also in a closed container, a suitcase or a bag, like this one was. The last would be the duct tape, located somewhere on the lower half of the face.

Although, Dr. G’s examination of Caylee’s remains could not yield the means of Caylee’s death, she told the jury that the preponderance of the evidence leads to the only logical conclusion: Homicide, based on the three main factors, discussed earlier.

Surely the jury has figured out that drowning is not a likely scenario in this case.

What is the Jury Thinking?!

I often think about the day the case is handed to the jury –  putting myself in their shoes, I imagine they’ll be so relieved to finally be able to discuss the case, after keeping silent about the testimony for so long. And then I wonder if, after the selection of a Foreman, will they take a straw vote regarding the First Degree Murder charge?

  • Not Guilty?  Raise your hand.  No one moves.
  • Guilty?  Raise your hand?   All hands quickly spring up!

That’s my dream scenario, anyway – and I would not be surprised if a verdict is quick in this case.

But, the Defense will Have its Dog Day Afternoon

The defense case has not been heard, that’s true.  But, what can they argue?

They will try to dismiss Dr. G’s testimony with testimony from Dr. Spitz – but it won’t work.  He’s pompous and unlikeable and the jury will not believe him – that’s my prediction, anyway.

The defense will try to use Robyn Adams to discuss Casey’s sexual allegations against George and Lee.  I predict that will fall flat, if it’s even allowed at all.  Casey’s letters are not evidence unless Casey testifies because the letters are self-serving, therefore inadmissible.

The defense will bring back all the State’s witnesses and they will try to discredit or impeach them.

So, jurors will have to weigh the evidence before them.  However, given what we have seen from the defense up to today, it looks very bad.  And, much of it is Jose Baez’ fault.

Will the Defense Case be Fun?!

Cheney Mason famously said, in regards to trying this case, “It will be fun.”

Did it look like Mr. Mason was having fun today as Dr. G destroyed the defense case?  I don’t think so!

Cheney Mason also predicted that he’d walk out of the courtroom “arm in arm with Casey.”

Okaaaaay!

9
Jun

dry tears

Thrown away. Discarded as if she was trash.

Her life ended before it began.

Of course, I am referring to the murder of the beautiful little Caylee Anthony who was tossed away like garbage into a horrid and dirty grave.

The ground was littered with beer bottles, and other ugly things that people discard – cigarette butts and gross reminders that people think nothing of staining the earth with items they no longer care for.

A place not worthy to even be the cemetery of a pet snake, was the grave of a beautiful, beautiful child.

The evidence is piling on the defendant in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, with devastating effect as orchestrated by the Asst. State Prosecutors in Orlando.

The jurors, the attorneys, the Judge, and the audience in the courtroom saw something in that courtroom today they are likely to never forget.  All reports from the courtroom convey that seeing the photos from the crime scene was like being hit by a tempest of horrors.

The thought of throwing away an animal in such a torrid, airless and oppressive place is unthinkable.  But a child?  A beautiful and delightful little girl who was the light of so many lives, is treated like trash?

Unthinkable.

A little girl who’s hair was trapped by the duct tape that also kept her little mandible in place, had plant life growing in and around and over what was left of her skeleton. The Medical Examiner explained that it’s rare that a mandible (lower jaw) stays attached as the remains become skeletal in nature.

The Henkel duct tape kept Caylee’s mandible in place, proving, they say, that Caylee was alive when that tape went on.

Tears for Caylee?  Hardly.

Casey Anthony at Defense Table

I saw anger in Casey Anthony.

She was irritated and angry.

She was in jail when Caylee’s remains were discovered and probably realized today, as the photos she saw attest, that she didn’t throw Caylee very far into those cruel woods.

Yes, Casey Anthony was angry today.  Her forehead was many times furrowed, hardly lined with grief.

She looked at tears on her fingers that were not there.

She patted her cheeks with a perfectly folded tissue.   As a woman, when tears come, the tissue that we use to wipe away the tears,  shreds.  The ends of the tissue rolls up like a piece of a twisted pasta as it crumbles from the tears filling and soaking it.

No, Casey Anthony was not crying today, but the defense team was quick to position her body so the jury could see her dab her eyes.

But, the jury didn’t look at her.

How could anyone look at her after seeing such images?

She is as cold as a snake after it bites.

5
Jun

women and death row

Casey Anthony could become the fourth woman in the state of Florida currently sentenced to perish under the malevolent and inhumane specter of the death penalty.

I wrote this post, originally titled “women and the death penalty,” in February, of this year.  At the time, one woman was on Florida’s death row: Tiffany Cole.  Now, two more Floridians were added: Emilia Carr, and Margaret Allen.

Just recently I read an article about Teresa Lewis, who was killed by lethal injection in Virginia last year, September 23, 2010 and realized I needed to add her to this sad list.

Of course, I remember the story of Teresa Lewis now.  You may remember it, too.  It was such a maddening, cruel and utterly sad situation, and it gives me goosebumps to think of this mentally handicapped woman being dragged to her death.

Teresa Lewis was convicted of Capital Murder for hiring hit-men to kill her husband and step-son.  She allegedly wanted the husband’s insurance money.  I say “allegedly” because one of the hit-men admitted that she was not the mastermind at all, the hit-man wanted a share of the insurance money.

Teresa Lewis - (AP Photo/newsPRos, File)

You see, Teresa Lewis, with an IQ of only 72, which places her near the mark of mental retardation, as defined by the Supreme Court, was sentenced to death. The hit-men were  sentenced to life.  But the hit-men, who each had the motive of that insurance money, and who claimed (long after the fact), to have masterminded the whole affair, were not given death sentences.

With an IQ of 72, Teresa Lewis was not close enough to mental retardation for the Supreme Court because they refused to take the case.  The State Supreme Court, a U.S. District Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, all ruled that Teresa must die for her crime.

According to a September 2010 Newsweek article, written by Lynn Litchfield, there was a letter from one of the two hit-men that Teresa did not “mastermind” the killing, he did.

See the Litchfield article here: Unfit for Execution

Women on Death Row in Florida Today

Casey Anthony is faced with the death penalty should she be convicted of killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony.  If sentenced with death, Casey will join three other Florida female inmate death row:

Tiffany Cole, is now the longest serving female inmate on Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in 2008 for her role in the killing a couple from Jacksonville, Florida.  The couple were murdered as a result of being buried alive.  Cole is currently on death row at Lowell Correctional Institution, which is situated in the Central Florida area, north of Orlando.

Emilia Carr was sentenced to Florida’s death row on February 22, 2011, in Marion County for kidnapping and murdering her boyfriend’s ex-wife, Heather Strong. She and her boy friend were co-defendants.  They lured Heather into a storage shed where they bound her with duct tape to a chair.  They then placed a plastic bag over her head and suffocated her. They buried her in a shallow grave, which was discovered a month later.  Carr is also in the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Margaret A. Allen is a very recent resident of Florida’s death row.  She was sentenced to death in Brevard County on May 19, 2011.  Her crime was the torture and killing of her housekeeper, Wenda Wright, whom Allen suspected of stealing from her.  According to the prosecutors, she tortured Wenda Wright for hours before strangling her with a belt.  Margaret Allen received help from her roommate, James Martin, and her nephew, Quinton Allen, to bury the victim in a shallow grave. The two were also convicted for their part.

Florida Executions since 1973

Since 1973, Florida has executed two women, Judias Buenoano, and Aileen Wournos.

Buenoano was sentenced in 1985 for the 1971 crime in which she poisoned her husband with arsenic.  She was also convicted, and sentenced to life, in the 1980 drowning of her paralyzed son. Then prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., prosecuted this case.  Buenoano was the first woman to be executed using the electric chair in the state of Florida.  Her execution occurred in 1998.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her death.

Aileen Wournos was sentenced to die in 1992 for the murder of a Clearwater, Florida businessman.  Wournos is also thought to have been implicated in the death of a number of other men, and is often referred to as Florida’s only female serial killer. You may recall the movie, Monster, based on her criminal history – her prostitution and terrible escapades with men.

History of Women on Florida’s Death Row

Since 1926, a total of 14 women who were sentenced to death, had their sentences commuted or reversed.  The commuting of a few of the sentences were a result of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1972, determining that capital punishment laws were unconstitutional.  Capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, hence the death sentences of Aileen Wournos and Judias Buenoano.

One could clearly conclude that Florida does not like to impose or carry out the death penalty on women.  The woman on death row since 1976, who were sentenced to die, and were either released, or had their sentences reversed, have terrible but interesting cases.  I have outlined a short history of the women who were originally sentenced to die, below.

Sonia Jacobs.  Convicted for her part in the shooting of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper and his friend.  Her death sentence was overturned in 1981, and she was sentenced to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence.  In 1992 her case was reversed on appeal, and she plead to second degree murder. She was released in 1992 because she her sentence included time served.

Kaysie Dudly.  Sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of her mother’s employer – a wealthy Florida widow.  She was re-sentenced (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.  She is currently serving her time at Lowell Correctional Institution.

Carla Caillier.  Was sentenced to death in 1987 to death for the murder of her husband in 1986, in Tampa.  She was re-sentenced in 1988 (possibly after appeal), to life with a 25 year minimum mandatory.

Dee D. Casteel.  Sentenced in Dade County in 1987 for murdering an 84 year old woman who had been inquiring about her missing son.  Casteel and another person had ordered the woman’s son to be murdered the month before.  Casteel paid two auto mechanics to carry out the murder. Her death sentence was vacated in 1990.  She was then re-sentenced to life, but she died in prison in 2002, at the Broward County Correctional Institution.

Deidre Hunt. Sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1989 shooting of two men that she was paid to kill. She was videotaped killing one of the men.  She plead guilty and was re-sentenced to life in 1998.  She is currently at Homestead Correctional Institution.

Andrea Hicks Jackson. Sentenced to death in 1984 for the murder of a police officer, in Jacksonville, Florida. She filed a false report regarding a vandalized car and shot the officer five times when he attempted to arrest her. Her death warrant was signed in March 1989 but then stayed in May of 1989 by the Florida Supreme Court.  She was re-sentenced to life in 2000, and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Ana Marie Cardona. Sentenced to death for torturing and murdering her three-year-old son. The child was wearing a shirt with lollipops on the front when his beaten body was found by the police in Dade County.  The boy was then nicknamed “Baby Lollipops.”  The sentence was vacated in November of 2002 and she was released from prison.  Will Casey Anthony’s case turn out as this one did?

Virginia Larzelere.  Sentenced to death in 1993 for the killing of her husband, a practicing dentist.  She was re sentenced to life in 2008 and is currently serving her time at the Lowell Correctional Institution.

Women on Death Row in the United States

Since 1976, a total of 12 women have been executed in this country.

Some statistics:

  • Since the year 1608, there are 568 documented cases of executions of women.
  • In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S.
  • As of September 1, 2000 there were approximately 38 women on death row.
  • As of today, there are approximately 64 women on death row (the numbers will change as more cases are tried).

Will Casey Anthony be number 65?

In reality, the numbers do inform us that the actual instance of execution of female offenders, compared to men, is rare.  According to The Death Penalty Information Center, since 1608, confirmed cases of female executions account for only 2.8% of the total executions carried out.

The Supreme Court, in 1972, had it right when they ruled that capital punishment was cruel and unusual, and wholly unconstitutional.

Will Casey Anthony sit on Florida’s death row?  Of course it will depend on twelve men and women who are hearing her case, so it’s impossible to know. Will the jurors find the State v. Casey Anthony case so egregious – given the position taken by her defense – they will vote for death?

The death penalty outcome for Casey Anthony may be due to her incompetent lawyers.  If she is sentenced, the trial will immediately go into another phase called the “Penalty Phase,” where both sides must provide their case as to whether to give her death (State’s position), or Life (Defense position).

The penalty phase will be tried, on the defense side, by Ann Finnel. She is more than competent and Casey’s only hope for life.

Casey has her age and her gender in her favor, because if you read the stories of the women who had their death sentences reversed, chances are, if Casey Anthony is sentenced to death (and I hope she is not), she may escape death row.  In fact, many cases like Casey Anthony’s have resulted in reversals.

Because Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., is a careful Judge, his death cases have never been reversed – to date.  The Judy Buenoano case, tried by Prosecutor Belvin Perry, Jr., resulted in the penalty of death.  The now Judge Belvin Perry witnessed her execution.  It seems fair to say, then, Judge Perry is not opposed to death.

The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland, the original Judge in the Casey Anthony case, from what I have read, is considered be softer on sentencing defendants to death.  The defense in this case, however, campaigned to have  Judge Strickland removed from the case (for reading a blog), I am more than certain they are sorry now.

However, given the statistics, Florida clearly does not like to kill women.

We will see which way the wind blows in a month, or so.

References:

NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc: http://naacpldf.org/files/publications/DRUSA_Spring_2010.pdf

Florida women photos and info: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/deathrow/women.html

Research Article: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/femaledeathrow.pdf

2
Jun

a D’OH! day

Oh, where to begin!

What an eventful day it has been – let’s see if I can capture the good, bad and the ugly from today’s testimony in courtroom 23-A, in the State v. Casey Anthony case.

First up on the witness stand there was Jeffery Hopkins, (the real Jeffery Hopkins), who is a fresh-faced young man who knew Casey in middle school.

Unlike the made up Jeffery Hopkins, this Jeffery Hopkins has never lived in Jacksonville, has never had a child, does not know Zenaida aka Zanny, but recently saw Casey at a local Sports Bar.  He and Casey exchanged phone and email information, and the next thing he knew, he was getting Facebook invites from Casey to attend the night club Fusion.

Bringing the real Jeffery Hopkins to the stand was an effort by the State to ensure the jury that Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office have looked into all of Casey Anthony’s lies, including the lies regarding the “Imaginary Friends.”

While on the topic of imaginary friends, I do want to point out that the defense is referring to the fake people that Casey Anthony has conjured up in an attempt to hide her crime, are not “imaginary friends,” as the Defense would like the jury to believe!

An imaginary friend is what children create to make their little lives more interesting and fun.  A little bit of research into “imaginary friends” informs us that approximately 40 years ago, Psychologists and Childhood Development professionals like Dr. Benjamin Spock, believed that childhood imaginary friends were a sign of some kind of underlying emotional trouble.  Fast forward a few decades and the thinking is that childhood imaginary friends are a good and healthy thing for young children.

The research will also show that imaginary friends are rare, if not non-existent, past adolescence and into teen or adulthood years.

And, let’s get real here, the Baez defense use of the term “imaginary friends” is a ploy to soften the truth of the matter with regards to Casey Anthony’s lies and actions.

The bottom line is, Casey’s actions are in no way imaginary!  These are lies that Casey Anthony was completely cognizant of as she tried  desperately to avoid being found out.

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

The defense attorney, Jose Baez is not just a complete abomination, he is worse than the bottom of the barrel of first year law students.

I have written often about how infuriating it is that this man is allowed to defend someone faced with the death penalty!

The mistakes Baez has made, his sleazy remarks, and his inability to see the forest from the trees regarding his obviously guilty client, are so extreme that it’s beyond malpractice that he handles a case that he is not capable of defending.

It does not take a person with a law degree to see, with total certainty, that every step that Casey Anthony made after June 16, 2008 until now, was riddled with lies.

Okay, a liar does not a murderer make.  However, given a Defense Team with an absurd claim about drowning, molestation, and imaginary friends – showing a defense team who also lies, and coupled with the evidence we saw today, the jurors have an excellent foundation from which to build the obvious conclusion.

D’OH!  I Forgot!

After today’s testimony of Detective Yuri Melich, at Universal Studios, where Casey Anthony claimed she worked, this July 16th, 2008 interview conducted by Yuri, Detectives John Allen and Appie Wells, was introduced and played for the jury.

The jurors heard the defendant stick like super glue to one lie after another and the Detectives grow increasingly frustrated at not being able to convince her to come clean and tell them what happened to Caylee, but she does not budge.

Yuri Melich said, “I don’t want to think of you as a cold, calculating monster, but you’re giving me no choice!”

Later he said, “She’s out there somewhere and her rotten body is starting to decompose,” there was not so much as a peep from Casey Anthony at that thought!

Now to the D’OH! of the day.  Jose Baez claimed that he didn’t have the time to write a motion to prevent the release of the Jail visits with the family!

He objected in the middle of the playing of the first video, with Lee.  Judge Perry overruled immediately, telling Baez – it’s too late now.

The truth is, Baez had since 2008 to object to these extremely damaging videos, but he did not.  It makes one wonder if Baez even watched them!  Surely if he’d watched them he would have seen how incredibly damaging they are!

Not only are they damaging to Casey Anthony, they also speak volumes about how incompetent Jose Baez is!  It’s true!  There are quite a few disparaging statements about him in these videos, such as “Baez does not return calls,” or, “Baez is not concerned about Caylee,” and so on.

Surprise, Surprise!

The jail videos work against the Defense’s theory, and bolster the State’s case.  The Anthony’s come across as sympathetic and solely focused on finding Caylee.  In contrast, Casey Anthony’s focus is me, me, me!

There is a jail video the jury will see in which Cindy tells Casey that there’s a rumor that Caylee died as a result of drowning in the pool.  Casey let’s out a light laugh and cynically states, “Surprise, surprise!”

So much for THAT defense theory.

Good Grief!

The defense, it seems, are realizing their case is going down the drain.  At the very end of today they announced a new witness who will testify about grief and bereavement.

The “expert” is Dr. Sally Karioth.   Baez gave to the State a copy of a webpage about Dr. Karioth, suggesting they just found her!

The State is objecting to the addition of this witness, of course, because not only is the deadline too far gone, the defense cannot produce reports as to what this witness will testify to.

The attorneys will argue the addition of this witness after the testimony on Saturday.  However, Judge Perry has already cited case law that suggests bereavement and grief witnesses are inadmissible.

Oh, and did I mention that Baez asked again for a mistrial?  It’s true.  It was as a result of jail videos painting him in such a negative light in front of the jurors.

I gotta tell ya’, the jurors didn’t need the jail videos to tell him the truth about Baez – they got that message on May 24th, 2011 during defense opening statements.

The video below is the new defense “Expert,” Dr. Sally Karioth.  A good fit with the defense team?


15
May

Day 6 of jury selection – the 5 aggravating factors

As we know, the requisite number of jurors, in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, have not been met.  Therefore, jury selection will resume on Monday, May 16th, continuing, and hopefully concluding, on Tuesday.

Reportedly, Judge Perry would like to give the jurors a one-day break to get settled in (Wednesday), and begin opening statements on Thursday, May 19th.

As of now, 12 potential jurors have made it through phase two of vior dire – the count is 6 men, 6 woman.  Judge Perry recently advised the Attorney’s that his “magic number” of jurors is 15, though he’d like to have 20, he’ll settle with 15.

The Death Penalty and its Aggravating Factors in the State v. Anthony

It was one year ago, that the State of Florida filed their motion listing the five (5) out of a possible 15 aggravating factors that correspond with the murder of Caylee Marie Anthony.

We have heard the mitigating factors that Attorney Ann Finnel plans to use as weight for the jurors to use.  The jurors will have to be very moved and affected by the mitigating factors – giving them more weight than the aggravaters.

That’s what scares me.

The 5 aggravating factors charged by the people of the State of Florida are from Florida Statute 921.141(5), and specifically letters: D, H I, L, and M.  I highlighted the aspects of each of the 5 factors that align with the charges against Casey Anthony.

D) The capital felony was committed while the defendant was engaged, or was an accomplice, in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any: robbery; sexual battery; aggravated child abuse; abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; arson; burglary; kidnapping; aircraft piracy; or unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.

H) The capital felony was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.

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

L) The victim of the capital felony was a person less than 12 years of age.

M) The victim of the capital felony was particularly vulnerable due to advanced age or disability, or because the defendant stood in a position of familial or custodial authority over the victim.

It should be no surprise that I am vehemently against the death penalty; it is draconian murder – just “an eye for an eye” which is wrong in every sense.

Third world countries believe in an eye for an eye and hardly blink to execute a human being.

But, we live in the U.S.A.  We know the death penalty is not a deterrent.  Crime rates continue to rise despite the death penalty.

Honestly, I feel that the State v. Casey Anthony trial could easily result in a sentence of death. 

Ann Finnel has an enormous burden. 

More about this at another time…..



11
May

Day Three of Jury Selection – Casey loses It

The actual State v. Casey Anthony trial is yet to begin, and the defendant, Casey Anthony, appears already defeated by her own consciousness of guilt.

There is great trouble ahead for Casey, and I wonder if she’ll be able to handle the trial if she cannot even handle hearing the Jury Instructions, as read by Chief Judge Belvin Perry.

For the last three days, Casey has cried as she hears the charges against her.  Then today, soon after the final reading of jury instructions and the indictment, Casey Anthony was visibly upset because of pain, or cramps in her hands.  It was bothering her so much; two Bailiffs escorted her into the defendant holding area.

After about half an hour, Casey returned, took her seat, and voir dire continued.

Out Damn Spot!

Casey’s  hands are very sensitive.  In her very first appearances in court – way back in July/August 2008, she consistently rubbed her hands together – furiously, just as she often does today.

Is it because she know those hands killed her daughter?

I believe so.

In the Shakespeare tragedy, Macbeth, the character Lady Macbeth, as a result of her part in the death of King Duncan, goes mad and believes her hands will never be free of the blood of her crime.

She furiously rubs her hands, just like Casey Anthony does, and says “Out, damn Spot – Out I say!”  The “spot” is the imaginary blood she sees on her hands as a result of her part in the death of the King.

As Casey furiously rubs her hands, doesn’t it seem as if she’s trying to free her hands of the blood of her crime?

Her hands are tense and seem to hold all her emotions.  Today, they seemed to rebel and she was beside herself in fear, appearing to have an anxiety attack.

She turned stark white and appeared as if she was going to be sick.

Casey Anthony is a sick girl – mentally unstable and very troubled; a sick sociopathic deviant.

She is too sick to lead to death row, though it’s my opinion her incompetent lawyers are leading her there.

I wonder if she will make it through the trial?  If she cannot handle hearing Judge Perry read Jury Instructions, how will she handle hearing the State’s case?  She feels very sorry for herself, cries, and shakes her head “no,” when a charge is read.

Wait until Jeff Ashton points right at her after calling her a murderer?   Like the witch in Wizard of Oz, I see Casey dissolving into a puddle and then hung out to dry.

George Anthony’s Warning

George is fighting back, according to his lawyer, Mark Lippmann.  If the Defense attempts to “use” George as reasonable doubt and suggest he is either a potential molester or murderer, Mr. Lippmann warns that charges could be filed.

So now what, Mr. Mason?

What’s your theory now, Mr. Baez?

Your girl is innocent since her father is an obvious Patsy, right?

No.  I don’t think so.

Casey is your Patsy.

Always has been.

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