Just as I went to publish this article, it was announced on Nancy Grace that Judge Strickland had denied Baez's motion. The pictures will be released.
Cindy and George Anthony saw their daughter for the first time today since her arrest October 14, 2008. The family reunion took place in Judge Stan Strickland’s courtroom as two motions filed by Casey’s attorney, Jose Baez were argued. The Anthony’s sat directly behind Casey and Baez. The viewers of the hearing were treated to coverage of Casey Anthony’s back. All that could be seen was that her hair was not up in the bun as she had last time and she wore a simple blue shirt.
In his motions, Baez asked the court to limit the release of images from Casey’s Photobucket accounts and to stay the release of a videotape of Casey in the Orlando jail as she watched a television broadcast announcing that the remains of a child had been discovered not far from the Anthony home.
The hearing opened with some "housekeeping" details. Baez made note that at the previous hearing, the camera stationed in the jury box had taken close-ups of Casey Anthony’s writing. Judge Strickland stated that he hadn’t noticed that but was sure it wouldn’t happen again.
Baez then went on to argue his Motion for Protective Order. This is the motion to limit the release of images of Casey taken from her Photobucket account. His rationale for this motion was that it would have the "sole purpose of embarrassing or harassing" Casey and would paint her in "a negative light." He had also indicated that these images were irrelevant to the case. His proof of this was the Casey Anthony doll that was patterned after Casey’s infamous American-flag costume from an "anything but clothes" party she attended in May, 2008.
Baez began by attempting to educate the judge as to the nature of Photobucket accounts. He stated there are public accounts and private accounts. He added that Casey had a number of accounts, some public and some private. He also said that many of the contested images were taken before Caylee went missing and are irrelevant to the case.
My notes are unclear at this point as to all the stuff Baez said. Suffice it to say it was pretty much a rehash of what he stated in his motion. I also notice that in his original motion and in his arguments to the court that Baez had again omitted any mention of the case law upon which he was basing his case.
Baez continued his arguments by stating that he received two CD’s of images from the State’s Attorney. One contained "filtered" images and the other contained "unfiltered" images. The "unfiltered" images are those with which he has a problem. He handed the judge a small sample of the images to better educate him to the situation.
Well, Judge Strickland was really at a loss for words here! In the end, as best I could make out, all he said was, "I get to call what's fair and what's foul." Based on rumors around the internet about these pictures, I have a feeling that they are VERY foul!
William C. Bose (sp?) Assistant State's Attorney addressed the judge next. He cited a recent case, I believe it was McCrary (sp?). According to him, everything they receive in the course of pubic business is public unless it is exempt. There are some exceptions and the defendant has the right to ask them not to be disclosed. He added that the State is required by law to disclose everything unless the judge tells them not to. He said that he State has no position on this, "doesn't have a dog in the fight." In essence, the issue is strictly in Baez’s hand. It is his responsibility to show the judge why these images are exempt from the laws of the State of Florida.
An attorney from the Orlando Sentinel addressed the judge next. She stated that the Sentinel has many photos, some of which they haven't published. Many of those photos are still up on Photobucket as of this morning, they are already in the public domain. Any order might be ineffective because they already have them. She also cited the same case and said that it had to be a serious and imminent danger to fair trial for these images to be exempt. She pointed out to Judge Strickland that the Defendant said only that these images will be embarrassing. She repeated that it's a very stringent rule and that the defense had not met the rule under McCrary.
Baez rebutted this argument by stating that the law is clear. He said the judge has the right to restrict these images. He added that he’s compared the images available on Photobucket and the images on the disks and that many of those images would impede his client’s right to a fair trial. In his summation of his argument Baez said, "what's the harm" in restricting the images and it's "playing with fire" if they are released. The Supreme Court has ruled the right to a fair trial is .....
Baez then moved onto the second motion, the Motion To Stay The Release of Discovery. In this motion, Baez asked the court to delay the release of the video of Casey’s reaction to the news the remains of a child had been found. In the motion, Baez essentially accused the jail staff of bringing Casey to the infirmary with the sole intention of videotaping her as she was watching the breaking news of the discovery of Caylee’s remains. (Let’s remember, Caylee wasn’t officially identified until December 19.)
He started by saying that "thanks to one of our reliable leaks at the Sheriff’s office," he became aware that Casey was taken to the infirmary. The sole purpose of this was so that they could videotape Casey viewing the news report that the body of a child had been found near her family home.
He continued by saying that on December 11, after an appearance in court, he got a call from John Allen saying remains were found near the Anthony home. He was aware that the relationship between law enforcement and the Anthony family was estranged and though Allen wanted him to reach out to them...
State’s Attorney Linda Drane-Burdick asked Baez to narrow the issue. Baez stated that he immediately proceeded to the jail and that he was denied access to Casey and was told he had to wait in the lobby area. After five to ten minutes, someone came down and told him he couldn’t see his client until she was taken down to the medical unit. He said he asked why the medical unit? After another five to ten minutes, someone else said he could see her after she had cleared medical...
My notes become unclear hear because Baez rambled on and on and I could only pick up a phrase here and there. I guess I can let you fill in the blanks in the following comments!
Baez continued, saying that he didn’t want to point a finger... but... law enforcement...
Drane-Burdick interrupted saying he is making "bald face" ...
Baez continued on... there are new issues that could come into play, he wants to depose the people at the jail to find out "how this little game started." His client’s right to have her attorney present, issues of her medical rights.
He said he hadn’t seen the video and wanted time to pursue the issue before it be made public. He said that Casey has a constitutional right to counsel. He needed to do his own investigation first. The release of the video could affect her right to a fair trial.
I think you all have a pretty good idea of what happened.
At this point, Robert Guthrie, and attorney for the County, which runs the jail, spoke. He said that if a person is going to hear bad news, they are taken to the infirmary to await possible counseling. He explained that the waiting room of the infirmary has a fixed camera that runs all the time. In the jail, this is standard operating procedure. He added that the county no longer has a copy of the tape since it tapes over itself every few days.
Drane-Burdick felt there had been no violation of Caey’s HIPPA rights. She stated that the State’s Attorney’s don’t have the tapes yet.
Apparently, the tape is still at the jail and the jail will do what other the court decides.
Judge Strickland said that he had no problem in staying the release of the tape until Baez has the chance to see it. His request may be denied, but he at least should have the opportunity to see it so he can make a reasonable argument why it should not be released. He went on to say that Baez may not even want to file a new motion after seeing the video.
Drane-Burdick pointed out a problematic issue with the tape. If the State obtained the tape and turned it over to Baez, it would become public record. An arrangement was made for Baez to view the video beforehand.
Baez then asked for a reasonable amount of time after viewing the video to file a new motion. He asked for twenty days and the judge gave him twelve days.
At the end of the hearing, the judge asked if the parties would be willing to cover some scheduling issues for the trial. After some discussion, it was decided to set a tentative trial date for October 12 with pre-trial hearing and jury selection to take place about a month prior.
Now, all we can do is wait for Judge Strickland’s decision on the pictures!