Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Judge Delays the Second Christian-Newsom Murder Trial

Guest Entry from David in Tennessee!

This morning Judge Baumgartner delayed the second Christian-Newsom torture-murder trial. The start date was pushed back from October 5 to October 12.
This is to allow tests to be conducted on Channon Christian's underwear. The underwear will be sent to a private lab in Virginia to undergo what is called a Y-STR procedure. The defense asked to have this testing done because sperm was detected on the underwear, but it was overwhelmed by Christian's DNA so it couldn't be identified by the routine DNA tests done by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Results are expected next week. The DNA may well turn out to be Davidson's. Here is the account from the Knoxville paper. Note how Davidson is laughing it up with his attorneys. He's dressed like the Menendez brothers from their trial.

Even if the new DNA is from another member of the gang, Davidson's guilt is conclusive from his own DNA and fingerprints. We should remember what was done to these two innocent young people who probably believed they did not have an enemy in the world.

Jury selection is continuing this week and is expected to be completed Friday. There will be 3 alternates in addition to the regular panel of 12.

David From Tennessee

Cameron Brown Retrial: No Hung Jury....Yet.

UPDATED!

It was quite hard getting up early this morning. (I've been sewing sometimes until almost 2 am, getting ready for my fleece and flannel blanket sale.) But I did make it down to the courthouse this morning to try to see if I could find out some more information on the jury.

The short report out by Denise Nix of the Daily Breeze on Friday that hinted at a deadlocked jury made me think that "possibly" the Judge might give an Allen instruction (also called Allen charge) to the jury.

When I arrived at 9:15 am inside 107 the gallery was empty. Judge Pastor was still on the bench, Ms. Benson was at her desk and Mavis, the lovely court reporter was working away at her station in front of the witness box. Unfortunately, I arrived just after the jury had entered to deliberate.

Ms. Benson told me the jury had just entered. She also asked me about Dr. Adams and if I had spoken to him recently. I told her no, but that I would have to send an E-mail off to him. Judge Pastor then said, "We do miss him terribly." He then went onto joke that if he didn't come back soon, he wouldn't be allowed back.

After Judge Pastor stepped off the bench, I asked Ms. Benson if the jury was read the "Allen instruction." She told me that no instructions were given to the jury today. So apparently, Judge Pastor gave them a long weekend off and they are back to deliberating. So it appears the jury is back to work. I said goodbye to Ms. Benson and Mavis then left 107 to take the train back home.

I will try to call the courtroom this afternoon to see if there have been any developments or requests sent out by the jurors.

UPDATE!

Looks like I missed the show this morning. Denise Nix has an update here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dominick Dunne: Power, Privilege & Justice

UPDATED!

Tonight on TruTV, the late Dominick Dunne's series, Power Privilege and Justice will be airing an episode on Phil Spector. Beth Karas, from CNN's In Sessions, Linda Deutsch from the Associated Press and Steven Mikulan from The LA Weekly are interviewed.

Recently, the online tabloid news has reported that Spector, writing his friends and fans from prison has told them that prison is driving him insane. Last night on the Jay Leno Show, Leno quipped:

"And record producer Phil Spector says life in prison is making him insane. Apparently he's no longer the level-headed guy who shot his dinner date..."

Thanks to all my Facebook friends and T&T contributor Dave in Tennessee for the heads up on the show.

UPDATE:
I finally watched the episode this morning. This was one of the best shows that Dominick did. I was surprised to see that another reporter I respect, Ciaran McEvoy with the Los Angeles Daily Journal, was also interviewed as part of the show along with Peter Y. Hong of the Los Angeles Times.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cameron Brown Retrial: Juror Replaced

I just got a confirmation from Ms. Benson, Judge Pastor's clerk that the juror who had surgery and was replaced yesterday was Juror #9. If my memory serves, this was the older juror who needed to have copies of paper exhibits handed to him because of his eyesight.

The alternate who replaced Juror #9 was Alternate #2 who was seen wiping away tears at the end of the prosecution's rebuttal argument where the videos of Lauren were played.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Casey Anthony: The Prosecution Strikes Back

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!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nicholas Sheley Battery Case

Guest Entry by katfish!
My friend katfish is attending the trials of Nicholas Sheley in Illinois and writing about her experiences on her blog.

Jury Seated in Battery Case; Testimony Begins Tuesday September 22nd

Today, Monday September 21, was the first day of the trial for Nicholas Sheley on the charges related to an alleged incident at the Knox County jail. Sheley was indicted on three counts of aggravated battery and one count each of aggravated assault and criminal damage to property stemming from an incident at the Knox County jail on April 17, 2009. The indictment accuses Sheley of attacking correctional officers with the metal legs he took off a chair in a maximum security day area and punching a sheriff’s Deputy in the face.

Sheley has been incarcerated in the Knox County jail, awaiting trial since July 2008 for the bludgeoning death of Ronald Randall of Galesburg. That trial is expected to be held in Summer 2010.

I was in the courtroom from 9am until after 6 pm today. The day started out with Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Stephen Mathers handling a few other cases before Sheley. Because it was such a long day with a lot of repetition, I will just touch on the highlights of the day.

Sheley appeared in court for the first time since his arrest in July 2008 without the orange jailhouse scrubs. Today he wore a blue button-down shirt and khaki pants with white socks and jail issue sandals. He wore his readers most of the day as well.. I noticed they give Sheley only the guts of the pen to write with, I guess I hadn’t noticed that before because his hands have been shackled.

Before jury selection began, Sheley’s public defender, Jim Harrell, argued a motion which would bar Sheley from testifying on his own behalf. Harrell said Sheley could not intellectually or knowingly waive his right to testify or agree to testify without incriminating himself in his capital murder case. Judge Mathers denied the motion and said it was up to Sheley whether he testifies or not.

I mentioned in my last Sheley entry, after Sheley had to be forcibly removed from the courtroom after an outburst, there was concern if Sheley would be shackled during the trial. The solution they came up with seems fair to all. Before potential jurors entered the courtroom for questioning, Sheley’s hand-cuffs were removed. His legs stayed bound with a belt-like device and both of the tables where the Defense and the State sat had table skirts to hide restraints and prevent jury bias.

Forty-seven jurors were questioned in groups of six about their familiarity with Sheley and their ability to be fair and impartial, particularly given what they may have heard.

Continue reading at katfish ponders....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Casey Anthony: The Defense Files More Motions - Part 3

After spending the weekend with piles of motions and other documents stacked around me, it's about time to wrap up discussion of the motions filed on September 17. Imagine my surprise when WESH put up an article about another motion that had been filed by the prosecution

According to he article:

George Anthony, whose daughter Casey is awaiting trial on murder charges in her daughter's death, "testified at deposition in a manner that, to the recollection of the undersigned, was materially inconsistent with his grand jury testimony on some points," the motion filed by Assistant State Attorney Jeffrey L. Ashton said.

Ashton wants a judge to allow him to view that testimony and, if his suspicions are correct, unseal the information and provide it to Casey Anthony's defense.

As of now, the motion hasn't been posted on any news site, so all I can say is that it seems George Anthony has now been put on notice that "inconsistencies" in testimony of a substantial nature will not be accepted by the prosecution.

Moving on to the last two defense motions reminds me of how many times we have heard that George and Cindy Anthony haven't been able to visit with their daughter for nearly a year. The reason they haven't is a cause for much discussion and speculation throughout the Internet. Some say that Casey Anthony has no interest in seeing her parents for a multitude of reasons. Others are of the firm opinion that Jose Baez wants to keep Casey insulated from her family. There are even other theories, but the fact is that none of the players in the family drama wants the videotapes to be released to the public.

In a motion entitled Defendant's Motion For a Protective Order Directing Orange County Jail To Destroy Videos of Family Visits, Jose Baez and Andrea Lyon begin by making an interesting series of statements, most of which deal with Casey's meetings with her attorneys. They mention that she is chained around the stomach during interviews with her attorneys and does not present a danger to them. They also indicate that there are two guards posted nearby who have a clear view of the meeting. I'm not sure why these statements are even in this particular motion; they deal with her attorneys and not her family visits.

There are also a couple of statements having to do with the fact that this is a death penalty case which makes it much more stressful for Casey. Most interesting here is the statement that:

4. In an ordinary trial, the jail is responsible for Miss Anthony's general well-being. In a high-stress situation such as a capital trial, the jail should also be held responsible for her emotional well-being.

It is this statement which really hits the target as to the reason Baez and Lyon are making their motion.

Indeed, the motion asks the Orange County Jail to refrain from:

1. Saving any video and/or audio taping Miss Anthony's visits or phone calls with family;

2. Disclosing to anyone anything that occurred in the meetings or communications with family.

I would be very surprised if Judge Strickland were to agree with the defense on these items. When there was a hearing about the video of Casey's reaction to the news that the remains of a child had been found, Strickland did seal the video. It could be used as evidence in trial. When and if it occurs, the video could be unsealed.

Be assured that the representative for the jail will also be there to indicate that authorities will not treat Casey any differently than any other person in the jail, even though she faces the death penalty. I am very sure there have been other inmates who have awaited trial with death penalty implications who did not receive such special treatment. I'm sure their videos are available to the public through the Sunshine Laws and so will Casey's. Her problem is that this case is very bizarre and fraught with drama. Anyone who has listened to Casey call home her first night in jail and viewed the jail visitation videos will attest to that fact.

I do believe there is the possibility that the judge may order family visitation videos be sealed and only be made public if they were to be used as evidence in the trial. The same could be true for any phone calls. He may take into consideration considering the long memorandum attached to the motion by Andrea Lyon.

If you have time, read the memorandum. It points out that Casey is under a great deal of stress and needs the comfort and support of her family. In addition, the family needs time to work through the situation and help in developing mitigation.

Personally, it sounds to me as though the family should visit via teleconferencing with a family therapist in attendance to negotiate through the hazards of this family's dysfunction. The problem with all of this desire for privacy is that there is no expectation of privacy in a jail and we can be sure that detectives will be actively monitoring every visitation. That is something they have done in the past and will continue to do in the future.

The final motion also deals with video monitoring. In the motion entitled Defendant's Motion For A Protective Order Prohibiting Orange County Jail From Videotaping Attorney Visits, Baez and Lyons ask again for more privacy. I believe the first couple of sections from the previous motions were meant to be here as they dealt with the fact that Casey was not a danger as she was chained and that there were guards on duty with a clear view of the meetings.

I don't think this motion will prevail because, as has been stated before, it is jail policy to tape these interviews for the protection of not only the attorneys, but the "residents" of the jail as well. As it is, Baez has already had a few run-ins over his behavior during conferences with Casey and it's no coincidence that Baez has used visits to (illegally) pass letters to Casey.

Nevertheless, Baez and Lyon are asking Judge Strickland to order the jail to:

1. Immediately cease and desist from monitoring and/or disclosing any communications between Casey and her attorneys or attorney's agents;

Would this mean that the two guards with a clear view of the meetings mentioned in the other motion would have to turn their backs?

2. Immediately cease and desist from video and/or audio taping the Defendant and Defendant's counsel while meeting:

I do believe there is no audio taken during these meetings.

3. Immediately cease and desist from to anyone anything that occurred in the meetings or communications with counsel: (sic)

If you can figure out the missing word(s) here, I suppose this is in reference to some of the previous disclosures made about the inappropriate behavior during meetings?

4. Destroy all video or audio tapes or reports or other methods of memorializing meeting between the attorney and client that occurred on any other dates besides those already turned over for December 11, 2008;

5. Any and all other relief that is within the power of this court.

That's a tall order!

Jury Selection Begins in Second Christian-Newsom Torture Murder Trial

Guest Entry by David in Tennessee!

Jury selection began on Monday, September 21, in the second Christian-Newsom torture murder trial. The suspect, Lemaricus Davidson, is considered the ringleader of the four people accused. Each is being tried separately. Davidson's half-brother, Latalvis Cobbins, was convicted on August 25 and sentenced to life without parole.

Channon Christian and her boyfriend Christopher Newsom were raped, tortured, and murdered in January of 2007. Newsom was found beside a railroad track. He had been shot 3 times and his body burned. Christian was found suffocated in a garbage can in a house rented by Davidson.

A total of 285 people are to be questioned for the prospective jury in blocks of 15. On Monday, the judge and attorneys questioned 27 potential jurors and excused 16. Three jurors did not show up. Two were rescheduled and the other has not contacted the court. Judge Richard Baumgartner ordered the attorneys to speed up their questions. The judge hopes to question all 285 in two weeks. The potential jurors not excused will return for general voir dire on October 2. The trial could start on October 5.

The trial of Letalvis Cobbins was decided by a Davidson County jury. Davidson insisted on a local Knox County jury. Most of the prospective jurors have heard of the case, but the judge is allowing people to stay on the panel if they promise to judge according to the evidence presented at the trial.

Judge Baumgartner made a series of rulings on motions made by the defense. The judge ruled that ballistics and fingerprint evidence can be heard by jurors as the evidence is relevant and the science accepted as sound. The judge ruled that the defense is free to attack the evidence at Davidson's upcoming trial through the use of their own experts.

The defense effort to get the search warrant of the Chipman Street house tossed out failed. This includes the evidence of Channon Christian's body. Davidson's defense attorneys moved for Judge Baumgartner to exclude the evidence from the Chipman Street house based on an investigator's failure to sign the first page of the affidavit supporting the search warrant. The final page was correctly signed.

Davidson's fingerprints were found on a bank envelope in Christian's SUV, on her pay stub, her Blockbuster video rental card and on the trash bags that held her body. Davidson's DNA was on Channon Christian's body.

David From Tennessee

Jersey Finally Sentences “The Perv”

Gordon Wateridge, nicknamed, “The Perv” by his victims, was sentenced to two years in jail today for repeatedly sexually assaulting children at Haut de la Garenne.

Described as a ''persistent sexual bully'' during his trial, Wateridge was found guilty of eight charges of indecent assault against young girls and one charge of assault against a young boy in court last month.

Judge Christopher Pitchers said, "What he did was rightly described in the trial as sexual bullying," adding that the acts carried out by Wateridge against the girls were at the "lower end" of the sentencing guidelines, but he also noted "There is no such thing as a trivial indecent assault of child."

Crown Advocate Stephen Baker claimed, "The offences were committed against the victims sometimes took place in the presence of other children so as to cause particular humiliation."

Defense Advocate Michael Preston argued for a "merciful" sentence because he claims Wateridge is "being held up as a scapegoat".

He said the offences came to light in the midst of the media frenzy surrounding the "discredited" police investigation into events at Haut de la Garenne.

Wateridge sentence is 21 months for each of the eight indecent assault charges, to run concurrently, and for three months, consecutively, for the assault on the boy.

Wateridge also pleaded guilty to possession of two unlicensed air pistols, a silencer, and 48 rounds of ammunition that were found by police during a raid on his home.

Wateridge was not sentenced on the weapons charges.

So, there you have it! Wateridge was found guilty at trial - the man AG Bailhache said he didn’t want charged and thanks to Lenny Harper was ultimately charged.

Did you note while in court, Advocate Preston referred to the “discredited” police investigation of Haut de la Garenne? Hmmm...charged, convicted, sentenced?

Is this justice? Or is this the sacrificial lamb being offered up? Are some saying, “glad that’s over with, now we can go back to things as usual in Jersey”? – I’m leaning toward the latter.

Telegraph

Metro.uk

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Casey Anthony: The Defense Files More Motions - Part 2

As I look at the motions filed by the defense last week, I am sent on a trip into the past. I find myself looking at old motions and old interviews. I find it fascinating to look at where the current motions are coming from. By doing a little research, the maze that forms the defense seems to come into focus.

On September 10, Assistant State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick filed a Motion to Compel Reciprocal Discovery. This motion was in response to a speech made by Casey Anthony's attorney Todd Macaluso as he began to argue for his motion to have Tim Miller certified as a material witness in the case in order to peruse the TES records of the searches around Hidden Oaks Elementary School.

Macaluso stated:

As Your Honor knows, the body of Caylee Marie Anthony was found very close to the Anthony home, and the body was found in a wooded area that if one were to search for a missing child, this is the first place you would go search. There is substantial evidence that we’ve discovered, and that’s been set forth in our brief, Your Honor, that the body or the remains of Caylee Anthony were placed there after Casey Anthony was locked up in the Orange County Correctional Facility. There is substantial evidence, and that proves, Your Honor, her innocence. That’s exculpatory evidence, it proves that somebody else placed the remains in the area where it was ultimately found.

T&T reference

On September 17, Jose Baez fired back a response to the motion stating that:

5. The defense is not in violation of their obligation under the reciprocal discovery rule by stating in court that Caylee Anthony's remains were deposited after Miss Anthony was incarcerated because the defense logically interpreted the State's own materials disseminated in their voluminous discovery to support Mr. Macaluso (sic) contention. In addition, much of what has been learned regarding the timing of the depositing of Caylee Anthony's remains has come from depositions taken to date.

In short, the defense claims that it has a different interpretation of material submitted by the State. It does not have any independent information to offer in discovery. When the defense filed the motion for Tim Miller, it included a number of appendices to support it. It is to these appendices that Macaluso referred when he stated that "there was substantial evidence" that was "set forth in our brief."

I went back to the brief and it's appendices and read what it contained concerning LE interviews and other discovery. Then, I went back to the original interviews and reports to see what the defense was not referring to. I came up with the following:

Joy Wray

According to the defense, Wray spoke with Sergeant John Allen and Special Agent Scott Bolin sometime in October, 2008. From reading the entire transcript, I tend to believe that the interview took place on Suburban Drive sometime after the remains were found since her visits to that area seemed to be the focus of the questioning.

The closest I can come to gleaning that she knew the condition of the remains site comes where she states on p. 33 of the interview (discovery page 6404) that she had been all the TES searches and took pictures, which is against TES rules and that she and her husband had visited the same site other times:

SB: Let's start with number, the time number three. Was it, was the water getting deeper or less, or do you recall when that was? JW: Uhm, I think it was getting, it was getting deeper. Because the most rain we has was in October.

If she is to be believed, the site wasn't dry in October, the month when Casey was arrested for the last time. Wray also indicated there was a lot of rain in October. To me this content, if it is to be believed, would put lie to the area being dry then!

What the defense may be looking for in the TES records is information that Ms. Wray was indeed a team leader with TES and officially searched the area where the remains were found. I can't see anything she said to support that the body was not there.

Former Deputy Richard Cain

The defense included one page of Deputy Cain's December 18 interview with Yuri Melich and John Allen. Cain was the officer who responded to Roy Kronk's call on August 13, 2008. The key quote from the page included in the motion was:

RC: Uhm, I went into the woods, kind of stepping on the, where I could step without falling into the water. It was kind of, I believe there was a, another couple bags around it. And I reached down, lifted the bag up. It was pretty heavy. But when I lifted it up it tore, you know the bottom. All leaves fell out, some sticks... Uhm, and I took my baton out and kind of poked around. I didn't see anything. And went back out to Suburban.

That would indicate that the area was still wet and he didn't find a body. Unfortunately for the defense, a complaint was lodged against Deputy Cain and there was an investigation.

The results of the investigation were included in a letter dated March 30, 2009. (pp. 5273-4)
The letter was adressed to Cain from Captain Larry D. Krantz, Office of the Undersheriff, Professional Standards Section.

On August 13, 2008, you were the primary deputy sheriff dispatched to investigate suspicious items in a wooded area described as a bag possibly containing bones. You were directed to an area by Mr. Kronk, but you failed to locate any items described by Mr. Kronk. You allowed Mr. Kronk to depart the scene without seeking any assistance from Mr. Kronk to locate the suspicious items. You failed to thoroughly investigate the call for service which ultimately delayed the discovery of the remains of Ms. Caylee Anthony...

On December 18, 2008 during a sworn interview regarding questions invol
ving your employment with the Orange County Sheriff's Office you were untruthful when you said, after Mr. Kronk pointed out a suspicious bag in a wooded area, you picked it up and the bottom fell out. You later acknowledged you did not pick up a bag during your contact with Mr. Kronk.

I find the defense extremely disingenuous here. First of all, Cain's interview stated that he had to be careful not to step in the water. Then, they used Deputy Cain's interview of December 18 to buttress their argument that Cain had located a bag that did not contain the remains. Unfortunately, Cain lied and eventually was forced to resign. Some proof!

Keith Williams

Keith Williams was the young man who, based on a psychic's report went to what we now know was the remains site and found a bag of stuffed animals and clothes approximately 30 yards from where the remains were found. He stated that the items in the bag were in good condition and seemed suspicious to him considering that a little girl was missing.

The deputy who came out to assist was Richard Cain. According to his interview, the part posted with the motion, he deputy (then unnamed) was very dismissive of his find. It should be noted that Williams took that bag from the site and brought it to the Anthony home. The Anthony's rejected the bag and Williams went back to the site and called LE. When Deputy Cain came out, Williams took the bag from the trunk of his car, not from the actual site where he found it.

In the full interview, Williams gives more specific information:

KW Yeah, I pulled it out of the trunk and I handed it to him and said, "Look, this. I found this right over here and there's other stuff over her, if, you know, I, I think you should look" and I also explained the whole psychic and the whole story. MR Okay. What did he do with the bag? KW He, uh, he held it, he told me the bag looked, looked too deteriorated for it to have been it and, uh, right when we process of, you know, right when this everything, right when our conversation ended, he, uh, he tossed it back in, in the woods. pp. 5463-5464

As far as I can tell, there is no proof that the body wasn't there.

Still looking for the information that Mr. Macaluso and the rest of the defense team found so compelling that the court should immediately declare Casey Anthony innocent, I turned to the next interview snippet I found in the appendices. I found a blog entry by Criminal Report Daily blogger David Lohr from Discovery ID. The only pertinent thing I found was that he had been with the TES search team behind Hidden Oaks Elementary School where the organization had conducted a sweep of the area.

Kiomarie Cruz

This brings me to the topic that has intrigued me since the remains were found. The remains were located just behind the last two houses on Hopespring Drive. Across the street are more woods and a cyclone fence. Further down the road is the school. When the press and searchers describe the area behind the school, I tend to think of the area at the far end of Suburban Drive. The last interview cited in the motion was that of Kiomarie Cruz, who is hailed as having figured out where the body was dumped first.

In the appendix to the motion, there is a section where Kiomarie describes the location where they used to hang out as:

Um, well first of all there's tons and tons of shading. Not a lot of people know about this spot unless you're a teenager or a kid... And most of the kids don't come down here now because I guess they have the fences and I didn't know about that...

The area she is describing has fences. The site where Caylee was found doesn't have fences. As we all saw from photographs of the site where Caylee was found is certainly not conducive to socializing and hanging out. So, I went back to Kiomarie's interview from August 18, 2008 and found a complete description of the place they hung out:

...Um, then Jessica showed us this hiding spot behind Hidden Oaks Elementary School. And back in the day there was no fences put up here, there was just ah, like a dirt hill and you can go back there with your bicycles and there's two different spots back there where we used to hang out at...

Here is a Google Earth map of the area. The remains were found in the lower left-hand corner. The area described by Kiomarie is obviously at the end of Suburban where there is a dirt road and trails. The area is fenced and there is a gate across the end of the road, as in Kiomarie's description of the area. I don't know how information about behind the school relates to whether or not Cayee's remains were just off Hopespring Drive.














Finally, the defense documents cited Dominic Casey and his own search of the area in November. At this point, Mr. Casey is a total mystery. We know he poked around the area and there are various opinions as to how near or far he was to the actual site. The State will depose Mr. Casey in November and perhaps we will get a clear story from him then!

Coming soon: the last two motions.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Latest on the Nicholas Sheley Case

Guest Entry by katfish!

Shelly Forcibly Removed From courtroom, Motion to Represent Self Denied, Battery Trial Starts September 21st

Jury selection will start on September 21 in the battery trial of Nicholas Sheley, 30, of Sterling, IL. Sheley was indicted on three counts of aggravated battery and one count each of aggravated assault and criminal damage to property stemming from an incident at the Knox County jail on April 17, 2009. The indictment accuses Sheley of attacking correctional officers with the metal legs he took off a chair in a maximum security day area and punching a sheriff’s Deputy in the face.

The accused spree killer, Sheley has been held in the Knox County jail since July 3, 2008, awaiting trial for 17 charges in connection to the beating death of Ronald Randall, 65, Galesburg. He faces the death penalty if convicted. The trial is expected to be held in the summer of 2010. He is also accused of killing five other people in Whiteside County, Il and an Arkansas couple who were killed while visiting in Missouri. All eight were killed in late June 2008.

The last week has been a busy time for accused spree killer Nicholas Sheley.
During a pre-trial hearing on September 8, Sheley told Knox County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Mathers he wants to fire his attorney, Public Defender Jim Harrell, and represent himself in the upcoming battery trial. At the same hearing Harrell filed a motion to extend the discovery period which was denied. Sheley complained he hasn’t been able to consult a private attorney because of a gag order imposed from the capital case. Harrell also cited the gag order limited his access to his client. Mathers told them both to file the proper motions and he would consider them. For more on that hearing click here.

According to Susan Kaufman of the Galesburg Register-Mail, Sheley appeared in Knox County Circuit Court Monday morning, September 14, to present his motion to fire his court-appointed attorney and represent himself in the upcoming battery trial. The hearing was scheduled Friday afternoon, September 11, after Judge Stephen Mathers viewed several motions filed by Sheley and his attorney, Jim Harrell.
I didn’t attend Monday’s hearing because it was so last minute I didn’t know about it. I was contacted Monday night about the hearing on Tuesday morning, September 15, which I did attend and will give an “in the courtroom report". First, I will give you some highlights Susan Kaufman reported about the hearing Monday.

Mathers said it was important Sheley understand the disadvantages of self-representation including being unprepared to make tactical decisions, not knowing to make objections to inadmissible evidence and receiving no special treatment or consideration. Mathers also cited Sheley’s lack of legal experience.“There is a difference between stupid and ignorant,” Mathers explained to Sheley. “Ignorant is lacking the experience. Stupid is having the knowledge and not using it. I do think you are ignorant and inexperienced.”Mathers plans to review two court competency exams that were ordered in Sheley’s capital murder case. Sheley had wanted to represent himself in that case but eventually withdrew the motion. At issue is not whether Sheley is competent to stand trial but rather his ability to represent himself. Assistant Attorney General Mike Atterberry, who entered his appearance as co-counsel in the battery case for the first time, said it was the
state’s position that Sheley is using tactics to try to delay the trial scheduled to begin Sept. 21.

In other rulings Monday, Mathers agreed to bar the jury in the battery case from hearing why Sheley was incarcerated when the alleged jail incident took place. The jury also will not be told about Sheley’s prior “bad acts” and convictions older than 10 years unless Sheley decides to take the stand. Sheley again told the court that due to the imposed gag order in his capital case, he had not been allowed to consult with a private attorney without the presence of Harrell. Mathers ruled that Sheley may consult a private attorney in his
battery case without Harrell’s presence. That ruling does not affect the capital case.

Mathers said he would make his ruling on Sheley’s self-representation motion on Tuesday.

There was much more said in Monday’s hearing that I learned in court Tuesday and I‘ll include that with my “in the courtroom report.” Have you ever watched “Disorder in the Court” with Ashley Banfield on TruTv?
Let’s just say Tuesday’s hearing at times felt like an episode of “Disorder In the Court". Here we go…….

I want to start this entry off with a big thank-you to Mr. Katfish for being so sweet. Today is his birthday and instead of making him a nice breakfast as planned, I’m getting ready to go to court. When I came out from getting ready he had made me the nice breakfast….what a guy!

I arrived at the courthouse at 8:45 am, the hearing starts at 9:15, so I have plenty of time. I’m a little caught off guard when going through security. The two guards (sheriff’s deputies or bailiffs, I’m not sure what their titles are, but they are definitely sheriff employees) were in a great mood and said, “Well, it’s nice to see you here this morning”. They are always polite but not usually so friendly, it was rather nice. I headed up the two flights of stairs with a little extra spring in my step. My morning is certainly off to a good start.

When I enter the courtroom the only people here are the family of Ronald Randall. As I have said before they are always the first ones here for court and sit in the front row behind the prosecution. They are here to represent “Ronnie” and they are a testament to what a great dad, brother, friend that he was. I’m sure that he is proud of them too.

I take a seat in the row behind the family......

Continue reading at katfish ponders....

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cameron Brown Retrial; Closing Arguments, Part III

It's 4:10 pm and Craig Hum presents his final closing argument.

CH: We're here today because the defendant threw his daughter off Inspiration Point. The defendant's attorney would like to distract us and the way you do that is attack the police and victim. However, the victim in this case is a four-year-old-girl so they attack the mother again. [...] They're saying Detective Leslie is lying but there's a problem with that argument.

Hum asks, "Why would he lie? [...] They don't have a reason. There is none. [...] (They're saying) that he's trying to frame an innocent defendant. [...] But what's the huge hole in that argument? [...] How does the fact that Detective Smith wrote on the top of the phone book "assholes" (prove they framed the defendant)? [...] It's to distract us."

CH: They are saying it's (only) Sarah's word for that. (The statements Lauren told her and that she said Greg and Josh might have heard.) [...] Why would Sarah lie? [...] She's not the vindictive one. [...] It's not going to bring Lauren back. [...] If he didn't do it she wouldn't want him convicted. [...] Insinuations and implications. [....] (By asking that question) the defense planted in our minds that there is a question. [...] The defense insinuation that the prosecution didn't do this, didn't do that, so it must be (something) that helps the defense.

CH: Dr. Chinwah did the autopsy. (He's performed over 8,000 autopsies.) (He said) if that was a bruise I would have seen it on the autopsy. [...] Dr. Hayes. He didn't do a water drop because (he testified) I have a more accurate and robust way to test the evidence.

It's 4:20 pm and Brown's parents leave the courtroom.

CH: Officer Erickson asked him (Brown), "The projection?" And he points there and says, "Yes." [...] The Behavior towards Jane Doe is a little bit more than a jealous argument. (He threw her belongings off a cliff. He broke into her fourth floor apartment and wrote BITCH over several of her writings and he took his car and rammed it into her car.)

CH: The defense argued that he didn't do it because the defendant had other ways he could have killed her. How does that make any sense?

CH: "She had so much energy, I could hardly keep up with her." That's what he told Detective Leslie.

Hum points out to the jurors an exhibit by the people that documents the requirements, what it takes to get child support ended.

CH: He couldn't do it until there was a death certificate issued!

(This finally explains to me why his wages were garnished months past Lauren's death. He still had to pay support until the coroner issued the death certificate and MOD.)

CH: On the day Lauren died, the first day, the first day that Patty is on the Internet to trying to find way to take Lauren away from Sarah. [...] Do you think that's a coincidence?

Craig Hum points out to the jurors that all the witnesses friends who testified on his behalf were men. There wasn't a single woman who testified.

CH: The defense could have called Patty, but we heard not a word.

Regarding the arrival time of the detectives and first responders.

CH: Deputy Brothers arrived at 3:12 pm. (The sign in sheet was at the top of the cliff, on the road.) But the scene was at the archery range. [...] The log says Deputy Brothers got there at 3:30 pm.

The defense tried to make it seem like the first responders arrived very quickly.

CH: But the fire station that Captain Curcio came from is not the one the defense mentioned is just up the road. The one they came from is five miles away. It's a different fire station. [...] That's why it took them longer to get there.

The defense alleges to the confidential mediator he was just expressing his concerns.

CH: In that court document he makes these same allegations.

Hum then makes a stunning (to me) argument.

CH: Even if you believe everything from the defense case, and I don't think you can, but just lets suppose that you do. Even if you believe everything, he's still guilty of second degree murder. [...] He has a legal duty to protect her from harm on Inspiration Point. [...] A duty to take all steps reasonably possible to (protect) her.

(These words are put up on the overhead screen.)

1. Exercise care for child.
2. Exercise control over child.
3. Protect child from harm.

Hum then explains his perspective of the difference between second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

CH: Jury instruction 8.51 tells you the difference between second degree and involuntary manslaughter. For second degree murder, the defendant realizes the risk. [...] For involuntary manslaughter, the defendant does not realize the risk. [...] Did the defendant know it was dangerous? OF COURSE he did! [...] It's obvious to anyone!

Hum then quotes from Detective Leslie's testimony of his report of the interview with the defendant.

CH: Not only that, he said, "The whole place is dangerous." The defendant admitted it. [...] How many times did we hear about what an outdoors man he was. [...] That he lived on the edge and knows the risk. [..] If the defendant knew it was dangerous and he did it anyway, he's guilty of second degree murder. It's not involuntary manslaughter.

CH: All the evidence contradicts the defendant's story. [...] The defendant had been around water all his life and he knew Lauren couldn't swim. [...] If by (some remote possibility) she did fall and this was an accident he would know that every second counts. [...] He knows that by going down to the nude beach he can't get to Lauren because he said on the 911, "I have to back track (to get to her)." [...] You know that if you see a child floating in the pool you get them out as soon as possible. [...] You don't take the time to take your clothes off.

CH: Not a single defense witness came in here and said that the defendant didn't murder Lauren. [...] The defense didn't present a single shred of evidence that the defendant didn't murder Lauren.

CH: Why did the defendant chose that southeast point of Inspiration Point? [...] Because that's the ONE PLACE where you can't be seen from the parking lot. You can't bee seen from the beach. You can't be seen ( from the road/ houses?). [...] Yeah, maybe there was someone with binoculars but that's the only place you can't be seen.

CH: Lauren didn't hike. She was crying all day, and that's a fatiguing event. [...] She was four. [...] What was the one thing we all wanted when we got back from Inspiration Point? Water. [...] Lauren didn't have any water.

(When I hear this argument, this fact hits me like a ton of bricks because I'm thinking about the hike Mr. Sprocket and I took and he carried our water.)

CH: They still had to go back to the car. That's another mile. [...] What's the other big problem with Detective Leslie's argument? [...] He didn't have to come up with this story. [...] So, we're going to come up with this story that he said it was an accident. Why didn't they say they spoke to him for five minutes and then he confessed?

CH: It's the hardest thing to think, is that a father would do this.....

Hum addresses filicide and a recent case that happened while they were in trial.

CH: While we were in trial, another case, a father beat his child to death. [...] We know it happens, we know it does. We just don't want to believe it.

I look at the clock. It's 4:50 pm. Hum mentions Jon Hans.

CH: If the defendant's best friend believes he did it, we shouldn't have any trouble believing it either. [...] In Lauren's tragically short life of four years (he adds the months and days which I miss) [...] he spent no more than sixteen days with her. [...] There was no relationship.

CH: In support of Lauren being so wild and daring and just running around Inspiration Point, this is their proof.

The prosecution presents the videos of Lauren that the defense played as part of their proof that Lauren was a daring and adventurous child. I see these videos for the first time and they bring me to the edge of tears. Lauren is in a pair of in-line skates trying to skate, inside a garage. She walks in the skates and it looks like she's actually on carpet, not cement garage floor. I look over at Sarah and she's crying. Even writing about this brings tears to my eyes.

The next video, Lauren on a skateboard. She's got one foot on the board and slowly steps the board along. She eventually sits on the skateboard, straddling it. Now a video of her walking on the edge of the water getting her shoes wet. She's fully dressed. She's not at the beach, she's at a marina. There are no "waves" like it was mentioned on the Support Cam web site. It's a tiny lapping of water on a sandy launch area for boats. Then two more videos of her walking along water. Again, these all appear to be the same day, walking this time in water up to her ankles. There are no waves.

CH: That's their proof. What a daring little girl Lauren was. That's their proof that Lauren was running around and that she fell off. [...] All I ask is that you look at the law. Look at the evidence. [...] What an amazing coincidence, the only person to fall off Inspiration point is a four-year-old child who's father never wanted her, hates her mother and pays 1,000 a month in child support. [...] What an amazing coincidence. [...] The only person who fell off Inspiration Point.

CH: It's not a coincidence. We know what happened. All I ask is for justice. Simple justice. Because we know the truth. [...] He never wanted Lauren. [...] The truth is, he hated her mom, Sarah.

(At some point in the argument, he mentions that this was a way to hurt Sarah, by taking away the child that she loved.)

CH: The truth is the defendant took her (and threw her off Inspiration Point.) [...] And we know the truth and all I ask is that you tell him the truth and convict him of murder.

That's the end of Hum's closing argument. Judge Pastor tells the jurors to turn to Page 16 in their instruction packet and reads to the jurors the concluding instruction.

It's 5:03 pm. After the jurors are instructed where they will deliberate (courtroom 108 on Thursday) they are excused and Pastor makes a comment about how he is going to explain the 45 minutes of overtime. There is a bit of bustle in the courtroom as it slowly empties out.

The jurors deliberated for a short time on Thursday and Friday. They won't return until Tuesday to continue their deliberations.

Cameron Brown Retrial; Closing Arguments, Part II

Continued from Closing Arguments, Part I...

1:14 pm: I'm back in the courtroom that is filling up with people. Judge Pastor asks to see counsel at sidebar. A new reporter sits in the back row, not realizing she can't sit there because that's how the jurors enter the courtroom. We're missing Juror #7, the MD who works for Kaiser. The reporter and her cameraman move to the far back corner and stand.

Sarah is wearing a gray pantsuit. Patty is wearing a bright turquoise jacket and navy pants.

It's 1:20 pm and we're still waiting for the juror.

I learn that the young, pretty woman to my left who attended the trial off and on was in the jury panel in this case. She said she was originally in seat #8. Her aunt was murdered and her father is an attorney. She tells me she is a big fan of Pat Harris and brought a paperback copy of Susan McDougal's book The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk with her. She asked the relatives of Pat Harris if they could get him to autograph the book for her. (Link to an interview with Susan McDougal.)

1:25 pm, the missing juror finally arrives. I note that in the afternoon session Mavis is the court reporter up again. I don't know how she's going to pull this all day session and probably go into overtime!

Harris steps up to give his closing argument.

PH: I too on behalf of Ms. Yeretsian and Mr. Brown thank you for your service.

He speaks so quickly, I can't write much of what he says in the beginning down. I have a note here that says ~black/white .... back and forth~ but it's not bringing up any memory of what Harris said.

PH: ....sincere appreciation. This has been a long trial. [...] Mr. Hum ended by stating Cameron Brown walked onto Inspiration Point and picked up Lauren and threw her to her death. [...] Step back [...] in a courtroom, perspective can be a difficult thing. [...] It's that incredible an act and that's what you're asked to believe. [...] What kind of person does that? That's what the prosecution would ask you to believe.

Harris then makes an analogy to an old television show with Ralph Edwards, This Is Your Life.

PH: They've gone all over the US, all over the US to prove that Cameron Brown is the type of person that would throw his daughter off a cliff. [...] They allege a jealous relationship with a prior girlfriend. Imagine. A 22 year-old male having a jealous relationship. Now that's something you've never heard about.

Harris refutes the prosecution witness who testified about Brown being upset about his father arriving late for a breakfast meeting.

PH: they spent years, thousands of dollars (trying to prove) that this man (is a monster).

Mark Geragos, Nareg Gourjian and other staff members of Geragos and Geragos enter 107 and sit in the very back row.

PH: They have to dehumanize him. They can't even call him by his name.

(That's an interesting tactic, pointing out that the prosecution called Brown "the defendant.")

Harris puts up on the overhead an obviously much younger photo of Brown standing beside his surfboards with long, sun-bleached blond hair, sporting muscular shirtless body.

PH: That's the monster who supposedly (threw his daughter off a cliff). Mr. Hum told you he never took photos of her before. [...] That was wrong.

Harris puts up photos of Lauren taken at Lynne Brown's home. I believe it's at this point that Harris mentions that there was a photo of Lauren on Brown's nightstand.

PH: There are nineteen of them, just to start with.

(I think the photographs the defense presents are interesting evidence. They were not found at Cameron's home during the executed search warrant on 1/2/2001.)

Harris mentions the letter that Jon Hans wrote "a while back" where he said Cameron "...couldn't possibly do what he's accused of."

Harris mentions defense witness Mr. Dietzler (sp?) and how he testified that Brown would go out of he way to help his grandmother, who had Alzheimer's.

PH: Ms. Lynne Brown testified that he was the son who came around to help change her diapers; (the other's stayed away). [...] Mark Thompson talked about cam as a friend and human being [...] and that was an amazing story. (The story about a night out camping, Brown slept outside and let his friend sleep in Brown's van/camper and that's the night he believes his wife got pregnant.) [...] He would drive to Fontana to bring gifts to Thompson's daughter on his motorcycle. [...] Jane (Doe) talked about him always being extremely thoughtful. [...] (When they made the decision to end her pregnancy) they cried together on the sofa. [...] That's the kind of man he was. Jeane Barrett. [...] that's another (prosecution) witness who (said) he was kind and thoughtful.

Harris mentions testimony of Lynne Brown again and then Sarah.

PH: Ms. Key-Marer went out with him for two months. She said he had lots of good traits. [...] Mr. Hum only spent about two minutes about Cameron Brown's relationship with his daughter. [...] What did he have as a relationship with his daughter?

Harris brings up the testimony of Scott Simonson.

PH: (They asked him) How was he with his daughter? He used to bring her down to his boat.

Harris puts up the transcript testimony of Scott Simonson.

PH: This is key. His whole attitude changed after he found out about his daughter.

Harris reads from the transcript some more.

PH: That's critical because that's a prosecution witness. [...] Their witness told you this.

Harris says he won't dispute that before Brown got to meet his daughter (he didn't believe she was his).

PH: But witness after witness said that once he knew it was his (child) his whole attitude changed. [...] These are people who saw her with Cam.

Harris mentions the witness who took his children trick-or-treating with Cameron and Lauren.

PH: [...] brought him in to show you that one before, he was taking her trick or treating. that he specifically found a family, a friend with kids so that she would have a good time. [...] Lynne Brown talked about their relationship and that they were so special together, that he (adored that little girl).

Harris addresses the testimony of the teachers at Lauren's school when Brown picked Lauren up and told her "Daddy's here."

PH: Even prosecution witness Dave Bannister, that [...] he spoke very lovingly about his daughter. [...] Jan Meuler, the mediator said, "Cam always wanted more time with Lauren." [...] That's her testimony. [...] And that he loved her and wanted more time with her. [...] Again, he was there alone, without Patty.

(Harris mentions this, that Brown went to the mediation alone, without Patty, as if that's significant but he fails mention that attorney Stacey Phillips testified that spouses of either party were not allowed in on the mediation meetings.)

Harris mentions Sarah writing "over and over in her journal that they were getting along, feeling each other out; it was good."

PH: Mr. Hum's theory is, he was angry, vindictive and was going to get her. [...] There's on thing wrong with that theory. For three months, they got together and met at parks together (for Lauren to get to know Brown). [...] He had absolutely a good relationship with her (Sarah). [...] This idea that he was bitter for several years just doesn't hold water.

Harris mentions again that Brown always wanted more time with Lauren. Harris brings up the alleged adoption agreement.

PH: They can talk about (it) all day. It doesn't hold water. One swipe of the pen; (could have signed away his rights) but he didn't do it because he refused to do it because he didn't want someone to adopt his daughter.

Lynne Brown and Brown Senior enter 107.

Harris states that the argument with his mother was about the fact that she snuck around trying to see Lauren without his knowledge and that Brown can't see his daughter. Harris mentions the long list of gifts that Brown gave his daughter. He mentions the nine photos at the house and that one was on the bed stand.

PH: He took few vacations and scheduled his vacation while Lauren was in England.

Harris describes the long drive he would have to take to Orange County to see his daughter, every week. An hour down and an hour back.

PH: Every week to see his daughter. This man, who (supposedly) didn't want anything to do with Lauren.

(It was court ordered. He had to.)

PH: Look at her (Sarah's) journal. Almost every single week, like clockwork.

Harris then presents arguments against the prosecution's claim that Lauren's death was premeditated.

PH: They've been telling you for two months that he's been planning it for two months and then they tell you that it didn't have to be that.

Harris then goes over Lynne Brown's testimony, about how she feels guilty that her son called and asked if he could bring Lauren there and she told him "Sorry, I can't today. It will have to be next week." (From what I've been told, it's not been firmly established that he called his mother the day of Lauren's death and asked to bring Lauren. It could have been the day before.)

PH: This is the plan? That he drives all the way to Inspiration Point? What if there are three people up there having a picnic? How does he plan that? How does (Hum) know that he's going to do that? [...] He doesn't know if people from the houses (on the hillside) can see him. [...] He doesn't know if people from the road can see him. [...] He could have gone to park in the parking lot across the street to the church, and parked in that lot for free, then taken her directly to Inspiration Point to throw her off the cliff. That would have been easier. [...] Why couldn't he do that? [...] He's got a boat. That would be easier.

Then Harris addresses Brown's demeanor after Lauren's death.

PH: Yes,t when you premeditate this whole thing and then you're going to act like you don't (care)? (You) come up with this whole plan and then when police show up, you act like you don't care? It doesn't make any sense! [...] It's like planning a robbery and not bringing a get away car.

Harris then addresses the prosecution experts as to where Lauren left the cliff.

PH: They literally have to have a point of departure there because that's the only thing that supports the physics. [...] You have to ask, why would you go all the way down to throw her off there.

Harris now goes to attack Detective Leslie's partner, Detective Smith who is retired, living in another state and was not called by the prosecution.

PH: You didn't see Detective Smith here. His fingerprints are on everything in this case. Maybe it has something to do with that phone book "assholes" comment.

Harris then brings up the 50 minute video tape of the walk (hike) that retraced the route, and that the jurors had to sit through it.

PH: Notice we didn't hear that today? [...] Because it wasn't 50 minutes. Once we timed it, it was 27 minutes, total. [...] Supposedly Detective Smith had a video [...] they walked [....] 27 minutes.

Harris now brings up the fact that Dr. Hayes did not do dummy drop tests off the cliff.

PH: Why didn't they do that? [...] Because they know they would get the results that Dr. Siegmund got.

Harris now argues that the amount of time that passed from when Brown hung up the 911 call to when the first responders arrived at the archery range was six to eight minutes.

PH: That's super-human (that Brown did that apparently in that short of time, got over the cliff from Sacred Cove to retrieve his daughter out of the water) and they didn't want you to know it. [...] The prosecution to counter that, they attacked their own witness! [...] They know that Cameron Brown was running around out there like crazy trying to get his daughter out of the water.

Harris then states that the prosecution never asked for Patty Brown's finances at first.

PH: The phone calls, that Sarah Key-Marer documented, we don't eve know when that happened.

Harris implies that the phone calls could have been months later than Sarah dated them. Harris states that police put Brown under surveillance for days. "Where are those tapes? You didn't see them," he argues. Harris states that Dr. Lachmanan was never called to back up the testimony of Dr. Chinwah. He goes onto imply that we don't know exactly what Dr. Lachmanan did in reviewing the case. He could have been just an administrator, and just signed off without reviewing the case file.

Harris then states the witnesses that the prosecution could have called to back up Sarah's testimony of statement Lauren supposedly made, "This talk about Mommy's going to jail." The prosecution didn't call Greg Marer or Lauren's step-brother, Joshua. "Then bring them in to testify to back her up. [...] They don't do it."

PH: Mr. Hum made two references to Dr. Karim (sp?) about (him being) a doubles's partner to my wife. Dr. Karim was educated at Cambridge. (He) gets repeatedly hired by police forces. [...] Hum didn't bring in a single person to say that disassociation didn't happen.

Harris now presents argument about Hum's allegation that Dr. Oppenhaven (sp?) lied about Dr. Hayes.

PH: If that's not true, well then, if I'm Dr. Hayes I'd get on a place and Id be back to rebut that. [...] Why didnt' he come to rebut it? They didn't do that. [...] They had Ms. Key-Marer total up the hours (that Brown visited with his daughter) and it was only sixteen days. Why didn't they do the next logical step and find out how many hours was he legally allowed to see her? They didn't do that. [...] They still stood up and said her injuries were minimal. We showed you the photos. [...] Pictures don't create that. [...] Those injuries are reminiscent of someone falling. [...] Bruises up and down her shins. They just ignored that. [...] The bruise on her back. They just ignored that.

Harris then puts up the exhibit of People's #15 and implies that there used to be a photo in a certain area of the poster board display.

PH: Notice there was a photo taken out? Lauren on her back. [...] This picture.

Harris is showing the jury a defense exhibit photo.

It's 2:30 pm and I wonder how long Harris is going to argue.

PH: What else did they ignore? [...] Detective Leslie said, "I didn't think that he ran very hard because he didn't have any cuts. [...] You can see in the photos cuts on the back of his legs. [...] If it doesn't fit the evidence, just ignore it.

Harris now argues that the prosecution witnesses all described the "protrusion" as "U shaped."

PH: The trail looks like a U shape.

Harris then argues that it would not look like a "U shape" from the ground.

My notes are not clear at this point. I believe Harris then repeats a statement by Mr. Hum.

PH: Mr. Hum said I want to show you something, the single most damming thing in this trial [...] (talk about the U shape) and this protrusion. [...] They have to put her down there because they can say [....] but they chose to ignore.. (They went with Dr. Hayes....)

Harris now mentions Detective Brothers.

PH: Cameron Brown told her where he was; everyone ignored it.

Harris is now reading from Brother's testimony, the questions and answers.

PH: Did the defendant tell you the sloped part where Lauren fell from? [...] He said he was seated at the end of Inspiration point on a level area at the end of Inspiration Point. [...] He TOLD them that! [...] He was standing on the level area [...] and then it slopes down. [...] The level area is by the bush. [...] No one's saying... [...] Mr. Brown told them he was for feet from the edge [...] if you get a little off the trail. [...] What they chose to do is take the information and transfer it to that sloped area. [...] Where he actually told them he was was where you and I were standing yesterday.

Brown is stoic, unemotional all through the prosecution and the defense arguments.

PH: Answer, he said that he was seated at the end of Inspiration Point on a level area.

Harris then goes after several aspects of Detective Leslie's testimony and calls it "scripted." Harris states he doesn't have children, he has a dog. He can't imagine what Sarah Key-Marer has gone through.

PH: Ms. Key-Marer wants Mr Brown convicted and she's stretching some things that have happened at the time. (There are) discrepancies about her declaration that she dated him for a year.

Harris addresses where Sarah testified Brown told her, "that's where kids died."

PH: That's not what she told Detective Leslie. "That people commit suicide there." [...] What Cam said (she wrote everything down in her journal) what comes around goes around. (Apparently this is not in her journal of things that Brown said.)

Harris then addresses Ms. Key-Marer's testimony about the counseling session. He goes over the testimony of the counselor, and that for her to do what Ms. Marer suggested would have been "unethical." Harris then brings up the deportation. He brings up every issue that he challenged in motions before trial to get ruled inadmissible. He takes all those issues that Sarah accused Brown of and challenges their validity.

PH: She lied to say all the things going on (problems) in Lauren's life were Cam's fault.

Harris challenges more of Sarah's testimony that's damaging to his client. At 2:57 pm Judge Pastor calls for the afternoon break.

In the restroom, I speak to the woman sitting in the row in front of me that I've been told is a relative of Pat Harris. She tells me that she is his aunt, and this is the first time she's seen one of Pat's closings.

3:14 pm, we are waiting for the jury. Brown puts his tie back on. I see Harris flip though the rest of his notes. He flips through six pages and there appear to be more underneath those. Judge Pastor reminds Brown to get his jacket on before they call the jury in a minute later.

Harris continues attacking the prosecution witnesses and the fact that they called Detective Leslie to the stand three times. He describes Detective Leslie as the prosecution's "relief pitcher."

PH: When you start looking at actual facts verses what was testified to...

Harris brings up the fact that Brown's three hour interview with police was not audio or video taped. (In my mind, this is the single most powerful defense evidence.)

PH: That's all well and good if he had tape recorded or video taped the interview. [...] We don't have the actual recording or evidence. [...] Even if (it's) written in the report, we don't know if that's exactly as Cameron Brown said. [...] We wouldn't have that [...] he chose not to video tape or record that. [...] What Mr. Brown said was, she started off hiking. He never said she led. [...] Lynne Brown said she tool Lauren all the time (to the water?). [...] She (Lauren) started to walk along the beach. [...] Which is what Cameron Brown said. [...] She started to walk.

Harris now gives his impression of what a hike is. Sometimes some is ahead and sometimes someone else is ahead. "It's a hike. It's not a march."

Harris then addresses (the prosecution?) attacking Terry Hope's (sp?) testimony.

PH: Either Hope is telling the truth about both things or he's not. You can't have it both ways. [...] Dr. Berkowitz. [...] They took her on a hike that didn't exist. They told her it took 50 minutes. [...] They didn't show her the other video. [...] She had the wrong time and the wrong route.

Pat Harris addresses Dr. Berkowitz's testimony that Lauren would not have gone on the hike voluntarily.

PH: There's a third way that a child will want to do something. [They would want] to do something to please a parent.

Harris states that from the playground to Inspiration Point it's "about 25 to 30 minutes."

PH: They go down to the beach, walk the beach and then they took the paved road. [...] Then (they) go down the first time, down the gully.

My note here is not clear, but Harris is saying something to the effect that the only part of the route that might have been hard would be the route through the gully. (I'm now certain that my husband and I took the same route that Lauren and Brown took from Palos Verdes South to Inspiration Point.)

Harris goes back to challenge more of the testimony of Detective Leslie about what he countered. He then brings up Detective Smith, who put in one of his notebooks "Phonebook Assholes" for a list of phone numbers of Brown's friends.

PH: (They) can't get away from that. It's there in writing.

Harris now says that during the three hour interview with Detectives, Brown was slowly remembering the events that happened up on the cliff.

PH: Why would he (Brown) lie? It makes no sense. [...] He was trying to recall details.

Harris states that he won't go over all the witnesses but he does go back to Dr. Hayes.

PH: In order to get the physics to work, he has to get her down at the bottom.

I take a moment to look on over at Brown. Brown leans back in his cair. His left elbow is on the defense table. Most of the fingers of his left hand are curled back, but his forefinger and thumb are stretched out and they are resting, no, supporting his chin.

Harris accuses Dr. Chinwah of missing a bruise on Lauren's back. Harris states that Dr. Beckwith testified the injuries were extensive and were from more than one impact.

Now Harris goes over with the jurors jury instructions and the four options they have. First degree, second degree, involuntary manslaughter and not guilty. He tells the jury that, "Second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter can be confusing, so aks if you have any questions." Harris points out that it has to be an intentional act for second degree.

Harris states our theory is in jury instruction 4.45. That's basically our theory of the case. Jury instruction 8.50 is the distinction between murder and involuntary manslaughter.

PH: The burden is on the prosecution to prove [...] all have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Jury instruction 8.45, this is for involuntary manslaughter.

He reminds the jurors again, what it requires. He then mentions something about jury instruction 8.46, and that it talks about "without due caution and circumspection."

Harris states that their view of the case is not first or second degree, but asks them to look at involuntary and not guilty instructions.

PH: We don't believe it's an involuntary case. We don't believe they proved it's a murder case.

Harris then moves onto the special circumstance of financial gain and that the prosecution did not do a good job os proving he married her (Patty) for her money.

PH: You marry for at least seven figures, which is what someone does when they marr for money.

(I have to force myself to keep from smirking. I cannot believe Harris makes this argument, that Patty wasn't wealthy enough for Cam to marry her for money. Patty certainly had a lot more money than Brown ever did.)

PH: Brown could have earned $500. more a month if he worked just a few more hours a week. (But he chose instead to spend time with his daughter.) [...] The man who couldn't wait to get rid of his daughter, paid the child support for another six months. [...] You would think that he would have been in that courtroom next month to end the child support! [...] When you get into custody, you're actually getting into more expenses. They're not cut.

Harris addresses Hum's accusation that Patty wanted Lauren for herself.

PH: Patty wasn't even around Lauren. She had barely met Lauren at that time.

Harris then addresses Jon Han's testimony about that issue. He then goes onto interpret the letter that Patty wrote, that was found in the home during the search warrant.

PH: No one thought they'd get custody of Lauren. She just said ask for the moon and maybe you'll get something.

Harris now moves onto Dr. Chinwah.

PH: Dr. Chinwah never said that wasn't a bruise on her back. [...] He never said that.

(I dispute that. Dr. Chinwah stated it was lividity.)

Harris states he believes Detective Leslie was wrong, and that he became (personally? emotionally?) involved in the case.

PH: (Detective Leslie) That night he got angry. He has a daughter. He got invested. He got his ego involved. But he's just dead wrong.

Harris accuses the homicide detectives of ignoring things. It's 4:00 pm, and Harris now tries to project what Hum will say in his rebuttal argument.

PH: I think we live in a different society today. If this happened thirty or forty years ago, Mr. Brown wouldn't be here. [...] With the shows on TV, the society [...] somebody's got to pay for it. [...] (TV) shows where they have convicted (him/someone) before he's even accused.

Harris mentions the Internet and some of the horrible things that are said.

PH: That's society today. [...] It's simply not true.

Harris mentions Jon Hans, and what he read on the Internet.

PH: That's some of the interest that society has today. [...] Look at the evidence. Please be fair; not on emotion.

Harris now has the softest tone of voice I've ever heard throughout the trial.

PH: If you look at the evidence, there's no way he picked his daughter up and threw her off the cliff. It's just not possible.

Harris is finished with his closing argument and Judge Pastor asks, "Mr. Hum?" Hum states he needs a few minutes. Judge Pastor asks the jurors to go into the jury room for a moment while Hum gathers his final thoughts together. Hum tells Judge Pastor that he needs just two to three minutes. Ted comes over to the reporters and speaks to Jack Leonard again.

It's seven minutes after 4:oo pm and Hum is ready to present his last argument. The jury is brought back in and Hum starts at about 4:10 pm. I thought that Hum meant that his rebuttal argument would be just a few minutes. But that's not what happens. He speaks for over an hour.

To be continued in Part III....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Casey Anthony: The Defense Files More Motions - Part 1

When death penalty qualified attorney Andrea Lyon came on board the Casey Anthony team earlier this year, she informed Judge Stan Strickland that she would be filing more motions after Labor Day. Well, she's come through with five new motions Wednesday, September 17.

The first motion is an Amended Motion For Change of Venue. This motion is to update one filed by Jose Baez on May 4. The original motion contained extensive arguments as to why the trial should be moved, an affidavit signed by Casey Anthony and pages and pages of sworn affidavits and media research which pinpointed the Miami-Dade County area or Broward County as ideal locations for the trial.

At the time this motion was filed, Judge Strickland felt it was far to soon to consider and never made a ruling. The new motion is briefer and indicates that the defense would also consider a trial in Palm Beach.

This motion again stresses the high level of publicity about the case, especially in the Orlando area. It says that the coverage in Orlando is far more extensive than that of the national media.

One section I enjoyed reading was that which covered Internet coverage of the case:

Internet-based publicity has been particularly inflammatory in this case. Internet publications often fail to adhere to journalism ethics and standards. Furthermore, the Internet fosters community hostility toward Miss Anthony by providing a means for distributing expressions of prejudice against Miss Anthony. p3, #5

I have a feeling that the fraud trial will be a test run for this motion. Judge Strickland will attempt to seat a jury in that case before considering a change of venue. The fraud trial and Casey's reputation have been as widely publicized as the murder trial.

Perhaps that is the reason that on p.4, #11, Baez and Lyon ask the judge to order the prosecution to file a response motion within 30 days. He wants 10 days to respond and wants a hearing on the matter. I believe this is the defense's way of running an end run around the seating of a jury in Orlando for any case against Casey.

The next motion filed today is a Motion To Dismiss Due To Spoliation Of Evidence. This motion had me digging through my files to find the Emergency Motion filed by the defense December 12, 2008 and search my bookmarks to refresh my memory on the situation. Here is a bit of a trip down a very sad Memory Lane which will help explain the new motion.

As you are all well aware, the remains of a small child were discovered on Suburban Drive on December 11. The defense indicated in the motion that they wanted to be present at the crime scene. Judge Strickland ruled that the crime scene was under the auspices of LE and it was their responsibility to process the scene. The defense had also asked to be present at the autopsy and that was also denied, as their had been no official identification of the remains.

As it turned out, poor Caylee's bones were scattered over a large area and it took LE much longer than expected to process the site. It seemed that every day there was a press release that stated that yet another bone had been discovered and the excavation site enlarged.

There was another emergency hearing on December 16 with Baez asking for photographs and other information about the crime scene. There was also a request to do a second autopsy. Judge Strickland denied this motion as well since the first autopsy hadn't been done and LE was still in the process of excavating the site for yet more remains.

Of importance at this point is a press release from the infamous "Todd Black." In the December 17 release, the defense's position about the situation is made abundantly clear. Here is a portion of the release.

The Casey Anthony Defense Team has made numerous attempts to preserve the evidence in and around the location where the human remains of what appear to be a small child were found.

Law enforcement has been repeatedly asked to allow reasonable access by medical and scientific experts for the defense, including requests for photographs, and assistance with maintaining a secure examination scene prior to any media or general public access.

Every effort by The Baez Law Firm to establish a level of basic cooperation and professional courtesy have all been rejected by the government. This lack of cooperation has complicated how to proceed.

The next day, FOX carried an article with the headline: Casey Anthony Defense Worried Police Are Tampering With Evidence, Accuse Cops of Lying

Here are some snippets from the article:

"Some of their comments are blatant lies," Black told FOXNews.com. "History has shown that in some cases authorities have been caught tampering with evidence. That is something we hope is not happening. We're not accusing anyone of anything."

Among the lies Black is accusing the sheriff's office of telling are statements about clothing found with the child's remains and the implication that the area where they were discovered hadn't been searched before.

"When [police] started searching for that child, they went into that area several times — with dogs, with people. Not once, but several times," Black said. "It's kind of suspicious."

He suggested the bones might have been dumped there by the person Anthony says took her daughter.

Does any of this sound familiar? I could be wrong, but I believe at some point after the revelation that "Todd Black" was a cover name for Gil Cabot, a gentleman of dubious background, Jose Baez had stated that "Black" had issued these releases all on his own and that he, Baez had nothing to do with what he said. I'm sure somebody will tell me if I am wrong!

It wasn't until December 19 that the DNA revealed that the bones were indeed those of Caylee Marie Anthony. It took LE until December 20 to finish their investigations at the crime scene. Once available to the defense, they decided not to bother with it. Months later, they filed a motion to compel the owner of the land to give them permission to examine the scene. That motion was approved by Judge Strickland.

Well, we now get to the Motion to Dismiss. Baez and Lyon begin the motion with a time line and history:

1. On December 11, 2008, the unidentified remains of a small child were discovered.

2. The location of the discovery was then processed by the Orange County Sheriff's Office (OCSO) and the Office of the Medical Examiner as a crime scene.

3. Later that evening, the OSCO used evidence from the crime scene to obtain and execute a search warrant of the Anthony home at 4937 Hopespring Drive, where Casey Anthony lived prior to her arrest.

4. On December 12, 2008, the Defense requested in open court that its own forensic experts be present at the crime scene as observers.

5. The Assistant State Attorney represented to the court that the State "would work it out" with the Defense and come to an agreement as to the access by the Defense to the crime scene.

6. The Court advised that it was "counting on cooperation" between the tow parties.

7. In open court, the OCSO indicated that the processing would be completed on the evening of December 12, 2008.

As I recall, from viewing this hearing, the "work it out" part was that the State would notify the defense when they were finished with the scene so that the defense could examine it for themselves.

We also know that on December 12, the State had absolutely no idea as to the area that would have to be meticulously searched would be so large and complicated.

The motion goes on to discuss the fact that the State agreed that the OCSO would provide reasonable notice to the defense when the scene was cleared by them. It also indicated that the defense could hire off-duty officers to provide security. Relying on the December 12 date, Baez gathered his famous team of forensic experts to go in and examine the scene.

The defense learned later in the day that it wouldn't be possible to hire off-duty officers and the scene was proving more extensive than first thought. The motion lists the delays. We remember the delays. The delays were caused by LE, obviously. They had a huge job to do and wanted to do it right.

Here's where the motion reminds me of Todd Black's statement:

13. In short, the State represented to the Court did not know the identity of the remains when in fact they had been informed of the positive identification from the FBI. The State deliberately misled the Court and delayed the formal identification of the remains so that it could retain exclusive control of the crime scene through December 19, 2008.

What seems to be missing in this section is a date. When did the State learn the identification? I've been following the tragic case of Annie Le, the murdered Yale student. In that case, the DNA match was made with amazing speed. Of course, LE opened the lab just for this testing and worked on it round the clock. The New Haven authorities had a live person from which to obtain samples to test. This isn't what happened in the case of the identification of Caylee's remains. The material to be tested had to be sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va. The FBI lab probably put this identification on the fast track, but they have many such cases. They had to work from bones and teeth. It was a more difficult case to process than merely testing blood or saliva from a living human being. Considering the complexity, the results came back in just over a week from the date of discovery.

Caylee's identification would seem to be a separate issue from the release of the crime scene. We all watched day after day as LE painstakingly searched every millimeter of earth in a densely foliated scene. They took their time and kept meticulous records. Recently released document include maps and high-tech visuals to show the location and elevation of every tiny shard of bone.

This motion goes on, attacking the State:

14. The State has prevented the Defense from observing the remains in the condition that they were discovered.

As I've said before, the judge ruled on this. It is the responsibility of LE to process the site, not the defense!

Darryl Cohen, Jesse Grund's attorney stated on Nancy Grace December 12 that:

I also think it`s something, a bone that the defense is throwing out, trying to say, when they`re not allowed in, that the scene is going to be contaminated. As a result of that, our experts are not going to be able to show what really needs to be shown. It`s just a game they`re playing, and it`s not a very good one, quite frankly.

The following week, Dr. Henry Lee was on Nancy Grace as well. He made it clear in this exchange that he thought the State should work with him and the other experts cooperatively:

GRACE: Dr. Henry Lee, everyone, famed forensic scientist, is on the Anthony defense team. Dr. Lee, you are saying the judge denied a particular motion. Was that to allow you and other defense experts on the scene while police were processing it?

LEE: Not exactly observe. Not really join examination. But many time, you know, like (ph) cases, most of time, they allow for defense expert to observe. Some of the time, we even join together, work on the searching (ph) of the remain or search of the trace evidence.

GRACE: To Sheryl McCollum joining us tonight, crime analyst and director of the cold case squad at Pine Lake Police Department. Sheryl, I find that highly unusual, that defense experts are at the initial processing of the scene? No way!

SHERYL MCCOLLUM, CRIME ANALYST: No way. With all due respect to Dr. Lee -- and I`ve trained under Dr. Lee -- no way are they going to be on my crime scene. They`re not necessary. They`re not needed.

I followed the first Phil Spector trial. I remember that Dr. Lee and his experts were certainly not allowed to step foot in the crime scene until after LE had finished. Then, they did go in and do their own examination. Why would the Casey Anthony case be any different?

The motion goes on:

16. Without access to crime scene before the State removed the remains and topsoil, Miss Anthony was unable to gather evidence regarding the precise arrangement of the remains and the surrounding landscape. Without this evidence, defense experts cannot effectively examine or challenge the conclusions made by State experts.

The problem with this is that the only way to find all the bones, LE DID have to do extensive excavation. Casey should be grateful that virtually all Caylee's bones were found and not left lying in that swamp. I am sure Dr. Lee and the other experts would have loved to have found a few bones, so that they could then attack LE for doing a sloppy job.

17. By destroying the crime scene, the State has prevented Miss Anthony from gathering evidence to challenge the credibility of those witnesses who will describe the prior searches as well as those who ultimately discovered the crime scene.

This brings us back full circle to the prior searchers. Joy Wray? Dominic Casey? James Hoover? Former Deputy Cain? One only has to look at the credibility of these people by reading their interviews with LE. According to Tim Miller, that specific area wasn't searched because it was under water!

18. The State has excavated the crime scene and dismantled the remains so as to effectively prevent Miss Anthony's access to exculpatory evidence.

This section totally puzzles me for a few reasons. Firstly, what does "dismantle the remains" mean? I hate to say this, but Caylee's remains were already dismantled. If the defense is saying that the remains were removed from the site, their locations were well documented. We know that LE collected every item from the site and photographed them all. They went through the brush and debris near the bones searching for evidence. It was all documented. The defense has access to many photographs, and I am sure that every item was photographed in place before being removed. That's what the defense gets! If there is any exculpatory evidence, it is there for the defense to find!

This motion is a bad ploy for the defense. This crime scene wasn't a room in a house; it wasn't the trunk of Casey's car. It was a swampy piece of ground. The defense's expectations are ridiculous. This is not a crime scene which can be thoroughly processed by LE and remain the same. I truly expected more of Andrea Lyon, the Angel of Death Row.

The hearing for these motions will be quite an experience. We'll be watching this one, won't we?

I'll be posting more about the latest motions as I get a chance to go over them. Stay tuned to Trials and Tribulations.