Monday, January 18, 2010

Will Casey Anthony Cop a Plea?

Update #3!

Tuesday, January 19

This just in from the Orlando Sentinel

It's official – the fraud case against Casey Anthony will not start on Monday but a status hearing is scheduled.

Court officials announced the change this morning.

Orange Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland will address two motions at the 1:30 p.m. hearing. It's unclear yet which motions he will hear.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Update #2!

Monday, February 18

WFTV has provided updated information.

This week's status hearing for Casey Anthony’s murder trial has been delayed until Monday January 25, the day her check fraud trial is scheduled to start.

The defense had asked for a change of venue for that trial and there are reports that, since no hearings have been held on that issue, the defense also wants the check fraud trial to be put off.

Since court is closed today, these reports can't be based on any official announcements. To find out what is really going on, we'll have to wait to hear what Judge Strickland says. Check back tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll have the official word on what is going on.

Update #1!

Monday, February 18

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the fraud case will not be heard next week.

There's a slew of motions that haven't been addressed by the court, such as whether the defense can get a change of venue due to the media coverage. And, the defense has not interviewed the victim, Amy Huizenga, under oath yet.

Prosecutors and Anthony's defense team will appear at a pre-trial hearing Thursday to address some of these issues.

Other sources are indicating that the hearing on Thursday will not take place.

Stop by for any further updates.

It's been a quiet holiday season on the Casey Anthony front.

The only bits of "news" out there include Andrea Lyon's appearance on the Today Show and an audio clip of her on the Steve Malzberg radio program on WOR710 out of New York. (The radio program is rather raucous and you have to listen through the first segment to get to Lyon's part.) In these segments, she compares Casey Anthony to a victim of the Salem Witch Trials. Then, she goes on to tout her new book.

Then, George Anthony went to Fox 35 to read his letter about "Living Under a Microscope" and what his life has been like since his daughter was arrested and later charged with the murder of his granddaughter, Caylee Marie.

The final bit of "news" was that a "JD" had sent a letter to Judge Stan Strickland in late December which fully exonerates Casey Anthony!

What is real news in the case is the upcoming hearing on Thursday, January 21 for the fraud trial.

A while back, I was talking with Sprocket about the hearing. I opined that Casey might cop a plea at the hearing rather than letting it go on to trial on January 25. Sprocket did a little poll on the matter, and most people thought that Casey would never take a plea. I would think, however, that her defense team is pushing her to take a plea for a number of reasons.

First of all, Judge Strickland made a statement at the December 16 hearing, after listening to Jose Baez argue his motion to dismiss many of the fraud charges. He said that:

This case is going to get resolved either by trial or plea before the capital case and, if and when it gets resolved, she is going to be treated the same way by me (as) anybody else would.

Strickland also mentioned that charges that were brought by the State are not unusual and that they could possibly be merged into a higher sentence, depending on if and when somebody takes a plea. He indicated that while Casey Anthony is presumed innocent at this point and she could possibly end up with concurrent sentences if found guilty or if she took a plea.

So, at this point, the defense has lost the battle to postpone the fraud trial until after the murder trial. That being said, it would be in Casey's best interest to get the best deal possible through a plea deal. I can't imagine that the defense would want Casey to appear in a televised trial before a jury prior to the murder case.

As was seen at the last hearing, Casey is not ready for prime time as a defendant. She has difficulty behaving in a "neutral" way and lets her anger show. I can only imagine how many people would love to analyze her body language while listening to her former friend as she testifies against her.

I would also imagine that the defense would have a difficult time putting up an affirmative defense. In her statements to police and to her family, her "motive" or "mitigating factor" was that she would "lie, cheat, and steal" in order to find her child. That is something the defense would not want to say, nor would they want anyone else to testify to what she said.

As can be seen in the picture, Casey was rather brazen in her use of Amy Huizenga's checks. On July 15, 2008, she presented herself to a branch office of the Bank of America to clean out the last of Amy's savings. There are also videos of her cashing bogus checks at Target. In a video visitation with her parents in August, 2008, she tells her mother to apologize to Amy for the theft. Finally, Jose Baez sent a check for the stolen amount to the Bank of America. This evidence makes for an extremely strong case.

If Casey doesn't take a plea, the hearing will be another round of motions.

The defense is asking that various pieces of information not come out in a trial. These are the motions:


In the motion, the defense points out that in Officer Wilson's "alleged affidavit" Amy Huizenga "found out that Miss Anthony was a "liar". "Additionally, Miss Huizenga states testimony referring to Miss Anthony's alleged drug activity."

One curious paragraph in the motion explains that "The only purpose of evidence of these, and potentially other, alleged prior bad acts of Miss Anthony is to attempt to show that Ms. Anthony had the propensity to not properly supervise its students." Go figure what that could be!


This is a motion one would expect in this trial. The nagging problem about this is that, as I mentioned earlier, Casey's defense to this has been, since day 1, was that she needed money to fund her search for her kidnapped daughter. This defense simply can't be used at all. In their own motion, the defense clearly states that:

Any evidence mentioning Miss Anthony's child Caylee Anthony, the homicide charges and other charges she faces regarding her daughter, accusations of child neglect, abuse, or any other such evidence relating to Miss Anthony's pending homicide case is irrelevant.

Clearly, Casey has no defense. It would be better to take a plea deal.

The remainder of the motions deal with change of venue and jury selection. Judge Strickland mentioned on December 16 that he would meet with the attorneys concerning jury selection. At this point, we will have to wait for the hearing to see what has been negotiated between the parties.

Here are the links to all the motions concerning these issues.

Motion For Venue Change (Document is 124 pages and is slow to load)
Motion For Jury Questionnaire
Motion For Sequestered Voir Dire
Sample Juror Questionnaire

At this point, the fraud trial is scheduled for Monday, January 25.

I'd love to hear if you think Casey Anthony will be convinced to plead guilty to the charges in this case!


donchais said...

Which ever way it goes, I don't think there is a leash short enough for the defense to reign back Casey. This should be very telling tho!

The "JD" letter? I would bet that Baez and Lyon had that written by a law student and sent it off to the Judge. "JD" is obviously pretty bright and some of the info in that letter is stuff we heard from the defense.

Mort Snerd said...

I would think that a "No Contest" plea to be minimum charges the state will allow is in the works. That will allow her to get away without admitting guilt that the other options will force upon her.

I would also worry about fingerprints and DNA on letter that try to influence the judge.

ritanita said...

Donchais and Mort! Thanks for your input.

Whether Casey pleas no contest or guilty, I really don't think this will go to trial.

IF Casey is adamant about "her day in court," it will be quite another story for sure.

As for the letter, I think it's another wacko out there wanting to get in on the case. However, I would wonder about ID'ing the author!

Anna/Spydernweb said...

Maybe Casey is refusing a plea because she feels she may get less time from the Judge then the Pro's are offering with a plea deal...

It could also be that Casey will NEVER admit to anything She has done...

Time will tell



katfish said...

Prior to reading this entry I would have without a doubt said no-way will Casey Anthony take a plea to anything; however,after reviewing the reasoning laid out here, it seems she really has little choice but take a plea....that is...if she is capable of making a reasonable decision AND there is a plea deal even offered. Given the evidence the state has in the fraud case why even offer a plea unless just to save expense.

ritanita said...

katfish, I don't think a plea has to be offered here. Judge Strickland indicated at the last hearing that she would be treated like any first offender in the particular situation. She would probably be sentenced to time served/probation which is moot since she is in jail now. Baez sent the money to BOA, so restitution has already been made.

As Mort Snerd pointed out, Casey could plead "no contest" and never admit guilt, just that the State has enough evidence to convict her.

Strickland even said that he had no intentions of "teeing off" on her. He DID say that the murder trial could be a different matter.

katfish said...

I see what you are saying, but if it is as simple as all that...why all the motions, why not already a done deal? Am I missing something? LOL I'm probably overthinking it. Thanks ;)

ritanita said...

The motions were pretty much to delay the trial. They could still be... that is those that have to do with jury selection, individual, sequestered voir dire, and change of venue.

Now that the judge has said the trial WILL happen prior to the murder trial, the defense has lost that war.

In one of his blogs, Richard Hornsby pointed out that the best thing Baez could have done was to combine the two trials into one. Big rookie mistake, IMHO!

katfish said...

Thanks for clarifying! ;)

shari said...

I can see a no contest plea on this fraud trial. That would get it out of the limelight and if enough continuances go will just be a dot in the distance at the murder trial. I wonder if Casey heard Andrea Lyon's latest prediction on tv for her murder trial???????? I must say it probably made her ball up her little fists again.