This morning, Jose Baez and Cheney Mason held a press conference at Baez' Kissimmee office to announce two new additions to the criminal defense team and a new civil attorney for Casey Anthony.
New to the team are Dorothy Sims, an Ocala attorney who will work in the questioning of scientific experts and Ann Finnell, of Jacksonville, a death penalty expert.
It would seem that the defense team is back up to steam with Sims taking the role of former defense attorney Todd Macaluso and Finnell that of Andrea Lyon.
Charles Green of Orlando is the new civil attorney for the Zenaida Gonzalez lawsuit. He replaces Jonathan Kasen of Fort Lauderdale. The new attorneys will be working pro bono.
With the newly configured defense team in place, let's hope that the defense will have an easier go of completing their depositions on time and be well prepared for the trial in May. Casey has the right to a competent defense in her death-penalty case. Let's hope there is no more need to change the team at this point.
TES Document Filed
Dated September 9, 2009, the Joint Stipulation Regarding Defense Review Of The Documents In The Possession Of Texas Equusearch lays out an agreement between TES and the defense concerning the review of the thousands of documents relating to the searchers who worked through the heat and discomfort to try and find Caylee Anthony. Judge Perry executed his order on September 11, and this is the final word on the process.
I hope that this is the last we hear of this entire issue and the process goes smoothly.
Signed by Cheney Mason and Mark NeJame, the document provides a strict outline for the process. Hmmm... it was signed in Baez office, but Baez didn't sign it?
The stipulation begins by briefly reviewing the situation with the searchers. The defense wants to know the ground conditions at the location where Caylee's remains were found. They had been previously given the names of 32 searchers who had been within 50 yards of that spot.
The defense wanted to contact other searchers to see if they had been in that area on their own or with TES. To protect the privacy of the searchers, the following procedures have been agreed to.
If the defense finds a searcher they wish to question, they will be permitted to call them in the presence of the TES representative and counsel as well as the special magistrate. They will only be permitted to ask the following questions:
A TES representative will be present at all times and TES counsel is also permitted to be there. The documents will be brought to the location (probably somewhere in the courthouse) each day and removed at the end of each day by the TES representative.
1. If such a search occurred, when did the search occur,
2. If such a search occurred, was it a part of TES or done independently,
3. If such a search occurred, who was involved in the search with them,
4. If such a search occurred, an inquiry would be made as to what was observed and what
occurred during the search at or near the Suburban Drive area.
If the defense feels that more information is needed for a searcher after the call, they will receive the form. As with previous agreements, the names of the searchers will be kept confidential.
The rationale for this change is clearly explained in the document.
This procedure eliminates the need of note taking by the defense, other than identifying those searchers who were unable to be reached for further follow up, unless a call identifies a searcher who has relevant information concerning anyone who has information as to who may have searched the Suburban Drive area. If a searcher indicates they were not in the Suburban Drive area then their information shall not be released further to the Defense and the Defense is not permitted to secure or leave with any of their information.
So, that being apparently settled, I'd like to add some of my own opinion about this phone call business.
I taught secondary level students for over thirty years and one of my favorite duties was "phone duty". I would be given a list of students who hadn't shown up at school and who hadn't had a parent call in an absence. For an hour every day, I'd be on the phone, calling the parents of these students to let them know their child was absent. I'd call the home phone number first. If I was lucky, the student would answer the phone and admit they were "skipping". Much of the time, there would be no answer. Second on the list would be the workplace of a parent. Third would be the other parent, if available. I would have two to three numbers for every student and they all lived within a specific area. 90% of the time, it would take two or three calls to contact someone. In the other 10%, no contact could be made.
My average number of contacts per hour was about 10. Now, the TES documents will most likely have phone numbers, and people do work. With approximately 4,000 searchers... and assuming the defense will try to contact them all, what are the odds? And of those that they contact, how many will say they searched Suburban Drive? It's a needle in a haystack situation!
Ann Finnell joins Casey Anthony defense team
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