Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Casey Anthony: Another Hearing Coming, Part 3

When Casey Anthony spoke with detectives last July, she told them that she worked for Universal Studios. She even took them there to show them her office. Fact was, she hadn't had a job since her daughter Caylee was born. She lived with her parents who supported her and covered for her thieving ways. From reading the interviews, we learned that she had taken money from her parents, her brother, and her grandparents. One friend described her as a "mooch" in one of the interviews.

After June 16, 2008, Casey must have been short of cash. Her daughter had "disappeared" and she wasn't able to go home without her. She was hiding out with her current fling, Tony Lazarro, a young man unknown to her parents.

Fortunately for Casey, her friend, Amy Huizenga, left her checkbook in her car. Since Casey's car was... pick one: a.) out of gas, b.) broken down and in the shop, or c.) abandoned and hopefully stolen from the Amscot parking lot due to the putrid odor, her friend had graciously lent her the car she had recently acquired after an accident while she was on vacation in Puerto Rico.

At that point, Casey took the checkbook and spent the money in it by forging checks at Target, the AT&T store, and the Bank of America.

In between her charges for felony child abuse and lying to police and her indictment for the murder of her daughter, Casey was arrested for bank fraud a couple of times.

Originally, the defense asked that the fraud trial be postponed until after the murder trial. Judge Strickland agreed twice. The original trial was scheduled for January, 2009. When the death penalty was reinstated in April of this year, Casey had to get a new lead attorney who was qualified to try the case. The murder trial is now scheduled for sometime in 2010.

On June 19, the prosecution filed a Motion For Determination Of New Trial Date. The State maintains that they and by extension, the victim of the crime have a right to a speedy trial. The motion also states that they were prepared for trial on November 17, 2008 and that to let this less complex trial "languish another year" was unreasonable.

In response, the defense filed a motion entitled Miss Anthony's Response to Motion For Determination of New Trial Date. While Casey's attorneys Jose Baez and Andrea Lyon agree that the State has a right to a speedy trial, they state that the

... complexity of the capital case necessitates a delay in the check forgery case in order for the defendant's right to be served. The right to due process includes the right to a fair and impartial jury trial. To find an impartial jury even for this charge would require a change of venue due to the media storm surrounding this case and influencing potential jurors. (para 2)

My goodness! Orlando must have a large jury pool. I'm sure they could find twelve people to hear a relatively simple bank fraud case. It's not quite a murder trial and there is an awful lot of great evidence here. Just take a look at the picture up top of Casey cashing one of Amy's checks at the Bank of America just hours before her parents discovered her smelly car a the towing lot and found out Caylee was missing.

Baez and Lyon also indicate in the motion that the State was responsible for the delays and that Casey's criminal trial requires all their time and attention since the consequences are so much greater. They point out that the evidence in this case will not disappear.

My favorite part of the motion is paragraph 8:

Additionally, while the state attempts to use the victim's rights as a reason to set this case, Miss Anthony has already served more time that a person would normally be sentenced for a first-time offense of this nature and the complaining witness in this case, Miss Amy Huizenga, has already been made whole by the Bank of America. Thus, there is no urgent need to resolve the alleged check forgery case. The bank was also recompensed...

What they are saying here is that Casey has already "done her time" while in jail without bond pending her trial for murder. Bank of America had to pay Amy the money for the forged checks. Then, somehow, Casey has managed to send the bank the 600 plus dollars! As many others have pointed out, the repayment to the bank is a tacit admission of guilt!

Many people were daunted by the amount of paperwork the latest motions have generated. I've gone through them all and can tell you that, if you want a more detailed explanation of the contents of the motions, they are there in sublime detail. There are also appendices added with additional documentation.

Personally, I don't understand why Casey didn't take a plea deal in this case. I suppose she's going to provide her attorneys with tons of information why what she did wasn't a crime.

As to whether or not the case will be postponed until after the criminal trial, I haven't a clue. I will be interesting to hear what Judge Strickland has to say about this.

Tony Lazarro, the Unfortunate Boyfriend

I have so much sympathy for those friends of Casey Anthony who have had their young lives blighted by this murder case. To add to their misery, they have had to hire attorneys to represent their interests. Casey seems to be the friend who "keeps on taking."

Tony Lazarro is one of those people. There he was, a young man studying for a career and working as a promoter for Fusion. Then, he happened upon a cute gal on Facebook and met her in person for the first time on May 24, 2008. In less than two months he found himself to be a "critical witness" in a capital murder case.

At a hearing on May 28, 2009, Jose Baez requested extensive phone records from many witnesses in the case. T&T link to the report on this hearing. Some of the witnesses were represented by counsel who spoke to limit the scope of the information. Judge Strickland asked those parties to try to come to a private resolution in the matter. A couple of witnesses' requested a continuance. Those who did not have representation at that time were granted by the judge. Tony Lazarro was one of those people.

On June 16, WESH reported that

Tony Lazarro, Anthony's former boyfriend, was the latest key state witness to come forward and file court papers Monday asking to be shielded from a subpoena. Baez is seeking to find out who Lazarro talked to and when.

Lazarro has cooperated with investigators and provided phone records to detectives. But, Baez wants to go back more than a year of phone records and Lazarro argued that would be an invasion of his privacy.

The actual motion was never put on-line, but I would imagine it is similar to all the rest. It was also reported on July 6 that Lazarro had hired an attorney, Attorney William R. Jay, to represent him in both trials.

Today, Jose Baez and Andrea Lyon filed their latest motion. The Amended Motion addresses only Tony Lazarro and his phone records. To show the "materiality" to the defense case, Baez and Lyon state in paragraph 5, complete with misspellings and grammatical errors...

a. Mr. Lazzaro was the Ms. Anthony's boyfriend.

b. The State of Florida has listed him as a category A witness.

c. The Defense and the State of Florida consider Mr.
Lazarro a critical witness to this case.

d. The State has already requested Mr.
Lazzaro's phone records. Nonetheless, said records are incomplete.

e. Law Enforcement has invested a significant amount of resources investigating the time period between June 16
th to July 15th 2008. Much of that time, Mr. Lazzaro was either in the presence of, or in direct communication with Ms. Anthony.

f. In addition to having been interviewed as a witness, law enforcement had Mr.
Lazzaro take a polygraph and went so far as to have his vehicle examined by cadaver dogs.

g. The witness telephone calls and records are of particular importance especially since for a specific time period he
became an agent for the State by allowing law enforcement to monitor his telephone calls. As evidenced by the Consent by Cooperating individual form, dated July 22nd, 2008.

h. On or about July 29 2008, Mr.Lazzaro51, 255);"> also acted in the capacity of a confidential informant by allowing Law Enforcement to video record a conversation between himself and Lee Anthony

i. Mr. has refused to cooperate with the Defense's investigation and has given multiple statements to law enforcement

j. The Defense has narrowed it's request to June 2008 to January 2009.

I know, that was a long quote, but I had to copy it here. Does anyone else have the feeling that the defense isn't very happy with Tony's level of cooperation with Law Enforcement?

I'm sure the judge will get this motion taken care of.

As with the TES volunteers who fear their personal information could get out into the general public, I think it would be wrong for the defense to receive information on every single phone number in his records. Undoubtedly, his friends and acquaintances would appreciate their privacy and well as Tony.

See you in court on Friday, August 21, 9:30 AM. It's going to be QUITE a hearing!


Sprocket said...

Bravo ritanita! You wrapped everything up and explained it perfectly.

Katprint said...

The defense is arguing a fallacy of logic i.e. non sequitur. The fact that the police conducted an extensive, in depth investigation which ruled out Tony Lazzaro as a possible suspect, and that Tony fully cooperated and assisted that investigation, DOES NOT mean that he has forfeited all constitutionally protected rights to privacy. Even if he is a "critical witness" (primarily because he will testify that Casey did not have Caylee after June 16, 2008 while Casey was staying over at his house), that does not mean that every single telephone call he made to anyone for the next six months is fair game.

By way of analogy, imagine a rape victim is the primary witness against a defendant being prosecuted for that rape. Could the defense get records of each and every telephone call made by the victim from the date of the crime to the present, just because the victim was a "critical witness"? Of course not! But the defense could probably get records of calls made the day of the crime and probably up to the time that the crime was reported to law enforcement. (For example, that was what the defense obtained in the Duke LaCross team rape case; the cell phone records of the defendants as well as their false accuser helped establish the impossibility of the time line.)

I think the judge will probably order disclosure of Tony Lazzaro's records from around mid-May through the end of July, with a protective order prohibiting disclosure to the media or anyone else (kind of like the protective order concerning Caylee's autopsy photos.) That should be enough to allow the defense to investigate any alternative-culprit theory directly or indirectly involving Tony Lazzaro.

Anonymous said...

Awesome entry RitaNita. Looks like the defense is really focusing on Tony again and trying to throw him under the bus just like they did to Jesse. I feel horrible for all of Casey's friends, but especially for Jesse, Tony and Amy. Their lives will never be the same.

Thanks for the update. I hope I can wake up on time to watch the hearing!


donchais said...

ritanita - you rock!

Nora said...

Since Casey paid the bank for the money she stole, and that is an admission of guilt and responsibility, why is there going to be a trial for this? Seems a waste of time and money.

katfish said...

Thanks Ritanita for a VERY informative entry. I look forward to your report on the hearing since I have a "breakfast date" tomorrow. I'll set the dvr just in case Insession covers it, but I still look forward to reading your "take" on the hearing. You go girl!
Reports of pictures that Tim Miller has of the "crime scene" sound like the defense may have to change their strategy a bit...I bet Jaunny Cochran is PO'd about that. BWAHHHHH! Too bad!

Anonymous said...

I remember reading way back when about the check stealing trial, that it would have a direct impact on the murder trial, I think because she would be someone with a record or something along those lines, if found guilty. Since she has paid that $ back to Bank of America and Amy Huzienga, would this still be valid. Or maybe had something to do with since it would be her second crime (if she is found guilty of check stealing), can the state ask for the death sentence? I cannot find which post this was, and I am thinking it was this spring it was posted. Anyone remember?