Friday, January 30, 2009
Judge Stan Strickland has ruled against the defense's motion to obtain material from TES. In the one page decision, stated that
The Court does not have jurisdiction to order a subpoena duces tecum as requested. The defense must avail itself of the Uniform Law to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Within or Without a State in Criminal Proceedings to accomplish the this task. This would require the defense to show that the witness is material, and that has not been done in the instant pleading...
Judge Strickland also stated that the defense provided insufficient information to show that TES acted as an agent of the state.
The hearing today was short and to the point! To quote Ron Kuby, who kindly re-broadcast portions of the the hearing on InSession, Judge Strickland "cut through the BS." In just under an hour, he listened to the motions and either postponed rulings or ruled quickly with a minimum of argument.
Casey Anthony appeared in court in what I would call her "paralegal look." Jean Casarez was sitting just behind her and described her as wearing a blue jacket over her jail scrub pants. I noted that her hair was freshly washed and tied back on her head. She spent the majority of the time taking notes on a legal pad and at one point, beamed one of her famous smiles at her attorney, Jose Baez. She also chatted with Linda Kenney-Baden who was also present for the hearing.
The first motion to be addressed was Motion to Inspect the Crime Scene. Baez stated that he had attempted to contact the owner of the property to no avail. The owner's mother had called him, denying him access. The judge granted the motion, permitting the defense experts to examine the scene.
Jose Baez spoke briefly on the matter of information they want from Texas Equusearch. I couldn't quite follow his argument, but my friend donchais remarked that he was basically asking for information from the searchers as to "what they found AND didn't find...made my head spin."
Mark NeJame, representing TES put forward the same arguments he mentioned in his motion. He said that the motion was not made in the proper way. He explained that TES was not a material witness in the case and therefore there was no subpoena to send to Texas. He also stated that it, "baffles logic that those going out to find the remains would NOT report finding a child." He ended his comments by stating to Baez that, "your request is flawed."
Baez responded by stating that TES had been working with authorities and was paid by the authorities who were at the various search locations. He pointed out that NeJame's motion didn't address that particular issue. I noticed that Baez mentioned they were "paid." That pay was a mere $5000, a donation, actually. He didn't mention that the search has literally broken TES financially!
Baez requested that the judge issue a subpoena and that he would take it to Texas. He also pointed out that TES had opened an office in Orlando and was doing business in Texas.
Judge Strickland indicated that he would take the arguments under advisement and that both sides could submit further case law to him before he made a decision on the motion. He stated that he will rule on it later today. The judge also mentioned that Baez' term "doing business" may not be appropriate.
NeJame then addressed the fact that Baez hadn't mentioned that his contention that TES is an "arm" of the state of FL is not even in the pleadings. He then went on to mention the financial provisions in his motions as well as the chilling effect the granting of this motion would have on the volunteer searchers.
Baez' response was that NeJame had been following the case and was aware that TES "could" be an agent of the state. He then indicated that he has a bill stating that some of the tips were not in conformity with what the defense had asked for.
The judge reiterated that he will rule on the motion today.
Mark NeJame commented that the defense was aware that he was representing TES and sidestepped contacting him in the matter and went to TES directly.
The judge said that he was off topic and that he will rule on the motion today.
Baez next brought up the fact that Mark NeJame had represented the Anthonys and the judge told him to "file a motion" about it. Baez indicated he wouldn't do that.
The judgesaid he would rule on the motion today.
The motion to strike the defense witness list was moot since they have submitted a new one. It will be interesting to see it when it is released to the public.
Linda Kenney-Baden was next up at bat. She argued the defense motion to recuse the prosecution attorneys. She spoke at her usual fast pace, summarizing her motion to the judge. She mentioned a Mr. Chinais, who is Baez' attorney in this matter and listed his bona fides, among which was the fact that he, at one time, chaired the Florida Bar Ethics Committee. She indicated that he spoke to a Mr. Marvin who confirmed for her that "someone" from the State's Attorney's office had sent the complaint.
She informed Judge Strickland that it was his responsibility to launch his own investigation into the issue.
Next, she read the quote from Jose Baez's press conference after the infamous Todd Black press release which attacked Lawson Lamar. She pointed out that Baez had said, "I'm not going to throw out any accusations... it wasn't me that said..."
She again informed Judge Strickland that he needs to investigate this for himself and find out what the person's motivation was.
At that point, the judge gave her 30 seconds to finish!
State's Attorney Linda Drane Burdick requested that the judge strike the motion, telling him that the assertions from the media are double, triple, hearsay. She pointed out that Ms. Baden's arguments mention a person not mentioned in the pleadings. In addition, the motion did not address HOW the State of Florida, through the filing, had harmed Ms. Anthony.
Drane Burdick said that if it's inconvenient to Mr. Baez, embarrassing, he can get a lawyer.
She summed up the prosecution position by stating that if some person in the office filed a complaint, it wasn't any member of the prosecution team and that the motion had no factual or legal support.
Baden spoke again briefly, saying that the judge has to find that out for himself.
Judge Strickland ended the debate by denying the motion. He indicated that, based on what he has heard, is a Florida Bar matter and that the factual base is thin.
Clarifying the matter, Jean Casarez mention on In Session that she had checked with the Bar Association and learned that no complaint had been filed. Someone from the State's Attorney's Office had merely faxed the articles to them and they opened their own investigation.
The remainder of the hearing concerned schedueling a trial date. The defense mentioned that there was a "mountain" of discovery that he needed to go through. The prosecution stated that it was likely the trial would not take place until later in the year.
Judge Strickland said he would set another hearing within the next 60-90 days. He also mentioned that a motion for change of venue had not been filed. Drane Burdick pointed out one may not be needed if the trial doesn't begin until later in the year. The judge said that Baez could file papers in the meantime if he so desired.
As a finale to the hearing, Bradley Conway, the Anthony family attorney waived the Anthonys' privilege in order to expedite the discovery process. He said that they love Casey and wants things to move along.