It was reported in the Orlando Sentinel yesterday that Assistant State's Attorney Jeffrey Ashton had responded to the defense motion to dismiss the charges against Casey Anthony due to "spoliation of evidence".
You can also find the link now WFTV.
In the latest Response to Motion To Dismiss Due to Spoliation Of Evidence And Motion To Compel Defense Witness List For Hearing, Ashton begins by stating that:
At the outset, it is important for the court to note that the Defendant has used interchangeably three separate and distinct concepts related to the destruction or unavailability of evidence in a legal proceeding.
He then goes on to clarify each point.
Ashton first points out that the term "spoliation" relates to civil law, and that it refers to:
... the failure of the government to turn over, or under our circumstances destroy, evidence materially favorable to the accused.
Another key point Ashton makes is that:
They (the defense) must further establish that at the time of its' destruction, its' value to prove the innocence of the Defendant, its' exculpatory value, was apparent.
At this point, the reader is left to wonder how in the world the defense could accuse LE of taking bits and pieces from the crime scene that were exculpatory evidence? How could those forensic experts who were on their hands and knees with delicate instruments, carefully examining every square millimeter of over-grown, bug-infested terrain take some item and say, "Hey, this little fragment of something is exculpatory evidence! Let's destroy it!." I don't think so. I've seen the photographs of the items removed from the crime scene, and I have a feeling a great number of them had absolutely no relevance to the case. Yet, they were preserved and photographed.
I would assume that the defense has full access to these items and their photographs. Have they told the prosecution that some of these items are exculpatory? Nope!
Ashton continues in the motion to point out that the defense has not documented that the photographs and items of evidence taken from the site are not comparable evidence.
He then continues on to point out that:
What are noticeably absent are any affidavits from their panel of celebrity experts, who appeared for a photo opportunity at the crime scene, indicating that they have examined the available evidence and photographs and find they are insufficient to allow them to arrive at reliable conclusions which might challenge those of the State's experts.
Continuing on in his rather "snarky" tone, Ashton comments that
It is baffling how the Defendant can assert this claim prior to having their experts even examine the evidence.
This is news to me! By the end of December, the evidence had been collected. Photographs of it have subsequently been disclosed to the defense. According to this motion, the forensic experts on the defense team should have something to say about it at this point to back up the assertions that Baez and Lyon made in their original motion.
Taking a bit of a shortcut through the legalese of the motion, Ashton states that the defense has the burden of establishing two things:
(1) the evidence possesses an exculpatory value that was apparent before the evidence was destroyed
(2) the evidence is of such a nature that the Defendant would be unable to obtain comparable evidence by other reasonable means.
Based on the hearing held on December 16, it's obvious that LE was on the scene and carefully processing every piece of evidence they found. The defense was denied access to the crime scene for two reasons. First, Caylee's remains had not been officially identified through DNA, they only way they could be identified. The second reason was that the defense team had no right to trample over the scene prior to its complete excavation.
Meanwhile, the defense team of "celebrity experts" and attorneys were posed around the scene on December 13 expounding to Geraldo Rivera their grievances. They attempted, even back then, to say that the defense had legal rights to examine or closely observe the scene prior to the completion of the LE investigation. The current defense motion brings their arguments forward to the present time. They didn't work then, and I don't believe they will work now.
Included in this motion is a Motion to Compel Witness List. Ashton cites the rules that govern such requests and asks for the witnesses who can attest to the defense's stance in the matter. He indicates that the only current person on the defense witness list is Dr. Henry Lee. Ashton concludes his motion by stating:
The State of Florida therefore moves this court to order that, within a reasonable period of time, the Defendant produce for the State a list of those witnesses she intends to call at the hearing on this matter and to set the hearing with sufficient time for the State to depose all pertinent witness and be fully prepared to address the claims contained in the Defendant's motion.
If you read the defense motion, you will see that the defense included the following:
a. Order the Prosecution to file a response motion and memorandum of law with thirty days of the filing of this motion and accompanying memorandum of law;
b. Allow the defense ten business days from the Prosecution's filing of its responsive motion and memorandum of law to file a reply motion and memorandum of law.
Well, the prosecution filed it's response in well under the thirty days requested. I'm just waiting nine more days for the defense to respond!