Monday, May 17, 2010

Casey Anthony: More Wrangling over TES Records Ahead

The last two weeks have been a veritable motion-o-rama in the murder trial of Casey Anthony. After the hearing last Tuesday, I succumbed to the good May weather to tend to my garden and clear my head of the case for a while.

It was with some reluctance that I approached the pile of motions stacked on the floor next to my chair for the past week. They needed to be sorted and filed. Some needed to be read and analyzed. I felt that, if it weren’t raining, I’d be far happier digging rocks out of my prospective garden beds.

The case has grown so frustrating with the repetitive motions and the intentions of the defense team to get every piece of paper available from Texas Equusearch so that they can mount a major fishing expedition to find one searcher who surreptitiously searched on Suburban Drive and can state that the area where Caylee’s remains were found was dry as a bone and there were no remains there at the time.

Based on the two plus year quest for these documents, I believe that the defense is hoping to cast reasonable doubt as to the timing of the placement of Caylee’s body. They want very much to prove that Caylee wasn’t on Suburban until after Casey was incarcerated October 14, 2008. All the defense needs is a credible witness.

In a motion filed May 5, entitled Motion To Reconsider Strickland Rulings, the defense has asked Judge Perry to reconsider the following motions:

Please note that some of the documents linked here refer to the above motion as there are copies withing the motion.

Defendant’s Motion to Compel Production of Tape Recorded Statement of Joe Jordan (unavailable) and the Court’s Order on same dated April 7, 2010.

Motion for Production of Grand Jury Testimony of George Anthony by the state of Florida on September 16, 2009 and joined by the defense and the Order of the Court dated October 6, 2009.

Defendant’s Motion to Compel Tips Gathered by Law Enforcement, dated November 4, 2008.

The Order on Defendant’s Motion to Modify the Court’s Order on Defendant’s Application for Subpoena Duces Tecum for Documents in the Possession of Texas Equusearch.

The motion asking Perry to reconsider giving the defense a copy of George Anthony's testimony before the Grand Jury is easy to understand. The State's attorneys were there, the defense wasn't. When Jeff Ashton asked for the testimony, he gave as a reason that he needed it because he believed there were substantial differences in the testimony and other information George had given to LE. The defense came in and basically said, "We want it, too." The judge granted the State's request and never addressed that of the defense.

All the rest of the motions and orders the defense wants to have reconsidered by the new judge (and it is their right to do so as long as they are filed within 20 days of the recusal of the previous judge) circle around the issue of finding someone in the veritable haystack of documents who just might help cast reasonable doubt on the guilt of their client.

Those Pesky TES Documents

At the April 5 hearing on the latest motion from the defense concerning the TES documents, there were verbal fireworks in the courtroom. TES attorney Mark NeJame indicated that the defense team had only made one appointment to view the documents. The appointment was cancelled when he learned that a professional copying company was coming in to duplicate the documents, an obvious violation of the court order. NeJame literally shouted to the defense lawyers, COME TO MY OFFICE!

Judge Stan Strickland agreed with NeJame and told the defense to make an appointment to view the documents as per his previous order.

Now, the defense has gone to NeJame's office and now wants Judge Perry to allow them to copy all the documents. In the motion, Baez goes into detail about his version of his visit to NeJame's office. Here's a brief summary of the motion, penned by defense attorney Cheney Mason.

After agreeing to pay a monitor $12/hour, they went into a conference room and four unlabeled boxes of different sizes were brought in. The boxes weren't labeled or indexed and had no inventories. He went on to claim that they were not permitted to examine the two larger boxes which "apparently contained the very subject matter that the defense was after: identity of searchers who could be questioned as to whether or not they had also searched the relevant area as Ms. Buchanan has stated that she and others did...".

Hmmm... how do they know that if they weren't allowed to examine them?

When Baez and Mason began examining the third box, not indexed and about half full, they found a suspension folder labeled "no Suburban". Wouldn't you know it? The folder revealed that some " fact, contain some TES documents revealing searches on Suburban Drive property..."!

Here is one of my favorite parts of the story:

e. At this time, after about two hours, suddenly and mysteriously, news media appeared with a television camera surreptitiously videoing counsel through the glass door of TES lawyer's conference room. Such action completely thwarted the ability of counsel to engage in conversation amongst themselves and point out any documents that might be important.

Mason did state that they had tabbed numerous documents and that there were searchers who were not among the original 32.

I am sure Mark NeJame will be replying to this motion sometime this week, and I can't wait to hear HIS version. I am very sure he will not hold back anything he has to say. In the motion, Mason referred to NeJame as having "inserted" himself into the case.

The defense team wants Judge Perry to "... enter a new Order compelling that all of the Texas Equusearch documents be presented to the defense, without fee or charge to the indigent Defendant, and without restrictions of defense team's ability to take notes and find, thereby, witnesses to investigate. All the defense wants to do is learn the identity of these people so they can be contacted to determine if they, like Jordan and Buchanan, and those whose names could not be "noted" from the prior viewing, actually searched the relevant area or not.".

There it is, folks, an official request for a fishing expedition!

Joe Jordan and Laura Buchanan

I find it fascinating that the entire argument for the TES documents ends up by relying on the original signed statements of Joe Jordan and Laura Buchanan.

The statements can be found at the end of the current motion.

Joe Jordan taped his interview with Mort Smith and his attorney, Kelly Sims. At that time, he apparently signed his statement. The same evening, he was advised by someone to call LE and tell them about it. He spoke to Cpl. Edwards and came in the next day, October 28, 2009, for an interview. The surreptitious tape was one of two main topics. Edwards explained what he needed to do under the circumstances. As a result, both Smith and Sims agreed not to prosecute Jordan concerning the tape.

The second issue was that during the interview with Smith, he had been shown TES documents that he didn't recognize. They had been provided to the defense by Laura Buchanan. Jordan had noticed his name written in femenine handwriting and he did not recall searching with Buchanan.

He also indicated that Laura had called him and represented that she was Kentucky LE and had searched for Caylee with him. She asked him to contact Jose Baez and Jordan refused. A while later, he was approached by Mort Smith, who indicated Laura Buchanan had given him his information.

Jordan did a second interview on November 5, 2009 with Linda Drane Burdick, Cpl. Edwards, Cpl. Melich and his attorney, William McClellan. Jordan had received an investigative subpoena for this interview. He pretty much repeated and expanded on the information he had given in the first interview. He didn't know Buchanan, he didn't recognize her from her Facebook page.

The third issue was an e-mail that Jordan had sent after Caylee's remains were found. In both this and the first interview, Jordan stated that the e-mail had been in error because, at the time, he didn't know the exact location. In the second interview he was quite detailed in the area he had searched and it wasn't where the remains had been located.

Now, we have to look at what Mason wrote in the motion concerning Joe Jordan and Laura Buchanan. Here are a few snippets taken in the order they were written in the motion.

4. The former Judge did not fully consider the facts, overlooking the initial involvent of Mr. Jordan. In fact, Mr. Jordan e-mailed law enforcement on December 13, 2008, tw days after the remains of Caylee were discovered.....he, in fact, had searched the area...and that there were no remains found and the area was dry.

7. ... Accordingly, even if Mr. Jordan surreptitiously recorded the statements, withought the expectation of provacy by both Mr. Smith and Mr. Sims, there is no violation of law.

8. enforcemnt involved in this case, not being pleased with the December 13th e-mail from Mr. Jordan, have intimidated Mr. Jordan about his very valuable and exculpatory evidence...

11. Both Mr. Sims and Mr. Smith have a right to consent to the use of the recording...

As of now, I am having a difficult time understanding how the "discovery" of these two "witnesses" to the fact that the EXACT place Caylee was found was dry and she wasn't there would allow for the defense to have all the TES documents.

Joseph Jordan was honestly concerned that the tape he made could lead to prosecution. He contacted LE about the situation and Cpl. Edwards explained to him what he needed to do to handle the situation. In neither interview did I hear threats or intimidation. The interviews show that the State wanted honest information and aided Jordan in handling his situation by telling him to see an attorney. Jordan gave a very coherent explanation for his e-mail after Caylee was discovered.

Most curious of all, at the hearing on April 5, Jose Baez had stated that he had contacted Joe Jordan's attorney who promised to bring him in to be a witness for the defense in arguing the TES motion of the day. Funny, Jordan never did appear!

As far as Laura Buchanan is concerned, her name has now come up twice. At the April 30 status hearing, State's Attorney Linda Drane Burdick mentioned that some people were "stonewalling" and otherwise blocking attempts to be deposed.

In a recent motion filed by the State, when mentioning these folks by name in the section regarding Roy Kronk, she also brings up the name of LAURA BUCHANAN. Apparently, Ms. Buchanan isn't going to come easily to her deposition!

There is a great deal of good information in this motion I haven't gotten to, but I'm sure you will go back up and read it for yourself.


BChand said...

Ritanita, Do you know if this Laura Buchanan is the same person who wrote this tribute to Caylee in Oct 2008?

Always in my Heart
laura buchanan Oct 20, 2008

[I]There could never have been two people on this earth that could have loved you more than your Grandparents..I wish nothing more than for you to come home..Your beautiful face is in my mind every night..As I lay and pray for your safe return..Cindy and George are wonderful people if only others could see that!! I know them very well and you could not ask for better Grandparents..We love you all [/I]

I'm so confused about this person. Originally I had thought she was from NJ, then she told Joe Jordon she was Kentucky LE.

If she didn't live in Orlando, how could she "know Cindy & George very well"?

Anonymous said...

After the trial of Vanessa Coleman for the Christian-Newsom murders, we can see that it is by no means certain that Casey Anthony will be convicted. A version of the Scapegoat Defense will be used for Casey, I will predict.

You will hear the names Kronk, Jordan, and Buchanan incessantly from the defense attorneys. These names will be employed the way Theodore Lavitt used Daphne Sutton when defending Coleman.

David From TN

ritanita said...

BChand, yes, it is the one and only Laura Buchanan.

She was living in KY at the time and has only recently moved to NJ.

Thanks for reminding me of the "memorial" fan-letter to George and Cindy.

katfish said...

Glad to hear you were able to get some gardening done. I have a LOT left to do!

I hope that Judge Perry makes a ruling on this latest motion in short order. When are these people going to learn that no one is going to do their work for them? Well..."learn" is probably not the right word, although I hope the judge gives them a lesson or two.

Laura Buchanan's personal relationship with the Anthonys probably won't help her credibility on the stand.....that is if she ever does her deposition....otherwise she won't be getting on the stand in this trial.I notice the date of the letter is 6 days after the grand jury indictment was handed down....for 1st degree murder.

David and Ritanita,
There is never a slam dunk in the courtroom, especially with a circumstantial case....not just with jury cases either. When Nicholas Sheley's brother was acquitted by a judge for obstruction of justice in the first murder alleged in Nick's killing spree even though his brother's DNA was inside the victims car (and the victims body in trunk) I will never take another conviction for granted.

ritanita said...


I have a feeling that the defense attorneys will have to convince their "witness" to do her deposition. She and Jordan are the foundation on which the TES motion they have filed and filed again.

The same holds true for the Kronk motion. All of a sudden, those "witnesses" are also making themselves scarce.

I'm sure that for all these AWOL people, the thought of having to answer questions from Drane Burdick and Ashton is frightening. It's not the same as having Mort Smith do an unsworn video chat about Roy. The deposition is under oath!

Along with you and David, I don't believe in "slam dunk" cases. I've seen too many trials to ever think in those terms!

Just using the term about a case is to doom it!

donchais said...

I know Perry is the 'new' judge in town, but isn't there a limit as to how many times you can make motions for the same records? How many times does this make? I've lost count!

as for television camera surreptitiously videoing counsel through the glass door... was is so surreptitious that none of the news programs ran it?

FRG said...

Thanks for your article!!!
Wow, I saw the statement written by Laura Buchanan, it seems it's the same person:
Well, you are right when you said that TES had nothing to do with LB and Joseph Jordan's searches, they went on their own and their Motions are well, how can I say that... not truthful. Is LB a real cop? Why is LB doing this? How can she be sure Caylee's remains were not there, she is from KY, IIRC. IF LB is Anthony's friends why should we believe her? 4,000 searchers went somewhere else to search another areas because there was standing water where Caylee's remains were ultimately found and LB (the only one stating this). That's very suspicious.
Defense has nothing and all they are trying to do, in my opinion is a fishing expedition to get all TES records. Just hope JP will be reasonable and protect the searcher's identities.
KC's defense is so sick.

ritanita said...

Both Buchanan and Jordan did searches with TES and on their own. Buchanan claimed that she searched that area with Jordan, which he denies.

As far as I know, Ms. Buchanan was not with LE in KY.

I am patiently waiting for the "rest of the story" with her, that's for sure.

If you look back at my posts on the case, you'll see that TES seems to be my "favorite" topic. I suppose that it is because my heart goes out to all the searchers who went out in the heat and in the awful conditions with the terrain, insects, and other wildlife. What is their reward? The defense wants to harass them. They deserve their privacy.

Likewise, TES itself has had nothing but trouble with the family and the defense since they first tried to help. Their mission is to help families find their missing loved ones and this case has broken them financially.