Casey Anthony made her first appearance in court yesterday for the first time in months. As I watched the hearing, I noticed that she was very subdued and did not seem in the least pleased with the proceedings. While there is no way to accurately tell what has caused her to stop primping and never sport any expression other than one of unhappiness, I'm sure she wasn't pleased at all by the motions hearing or the verbal gymnastics of her attorneys.
Casey's parents were also in court and presented a somewhat united front, if only in their increasingly haggard appearances. Again, we can only take a guess as to what information about the case they may have to cause such obvious emotional devastation.
The hearing opened with Judge Perry addressing the defense Motion for Reconsideration. Jose Baez was up first to speak in support of his motion. He also asked Judge Belvin Perry to include the letters Casey received in the jail in the motion. He explained that he had earlier spoken to Tamara Gappen, the lawyer for the Orange County Jail and had mentioned the letters to her. There is no need to go into all of Baez' arguments, we've heard them all before in his other attempts to have various and sundry records sealed from public view.
He mentioned that nobody needs to know how many packages of Skittles Casey orders (at least he didn't mention bras this time) and her personal business in general. Her Constitutional rights as a person being detained in the jail awaiting her murder trial outweigh the public's Constitutional right to know about it all. He brought up all the pre-trial publicity the case had garnered and how the light of media scrutiny wasn't fair to her case.
Judge Perry then brought up the numerous press conferences that had been held by members of the defense team (too bad he didn't mention all of their appearances in the national media to opine on the case and bad-mouth LE and the State). Baez replied that his press conferences dealt with the case, never with Casey's private business. What Baez forgot to consider in his reply was the amount of publicity and media attention he and the ever-changing defense team brought upon itself. (I won't even start to talk about the media attention drawn to the case by the Anthony family!)
Orange County Corrections attorney,Tammy Gappen was next to speak to the motion. She pointed out that the jail was not a part of the case against Casey Anthony, but that they had been invited to speak to the motion. She quoted Ch. 119 and other laws as she has done before. She also indicated that the County needs Court to tell them what to do in light of the Bent decision since the Court had previously denied all previous requests to seal jail visitation logs and Bent did not mention logs. She also objected to the issue of mail as it had not been not presented prior to this hearing. Aside from previous denials by Judge Perry, Gappen stated that the Bent decision holds that recordings of inmate calls are not public record because they are not part of the jail business as are call logs, visitor logs, and commissary logs. She said it was VERY NARROW DECISION which only applies only to visitor calls. (The one thing not mentioned in Baez' motion.)
Attorney Gregg Thomas spoke on behalf of the Sentinel. He gave the same arguments he gave in his original motion which I discussed in depth here. The two key items he brought up were that the Bent decision was not yet final and there were appeals pending in the case and that the decision only addressed private family calls. The only calls that could be made public under this ruling, were it final, would be those which contained inculpatory information such as a confession or security issues. (Gee, Casey could chit-chat with her family and friends, should the ruling ever become final!)
I had to go back and listen to the hearing twice more to figure out what Jose Baez was saying in his reply. The only note I had about it was, "I'm NOT getting what he's saying!". He started by saying that he was "shocked" that Ms. Gappen had made her reply considering "she had no dog in this fight." Upon re-listening, I realized that Ms. Gappen had said that she was here NOT because of this particular case, but because the jail needed clarification concerning the Bent issue. It may not be for Casey, but her dog in the fight is the Orange County Jail's responsibilities.
I also noticed that Baez, in his verbally twisted way, somehow made the link between phone calls and phone logs, as if they were the same thing. Once phone logs was made part of his issue, he then included ALL logs. He wanted the judge to take the one narrow position expressed and spread it widely across all sorts of records.
In the end, Judge Perry denied the motion in very strong terms, by saying, "In balancing the interests..., courts generally take a narrow construction and does not extend beyond that opinion concerning personal phone conversations." He again cited decisions concerning the Constitution of the State of Florida and Florida Statute 119. (We've heard those words before!)
There was a bit of commotion at the defense table and I notice Ann Finnell clearly mouthing the words "phone calls" to Baez. Baez then addressed the judge, asking for clarification as to whether the decision applied to "phone logs, phone calls, visitation logs.... The Judge affirmed that he had denied the motion and the previous ruling still applied. His decision was also based on the premise that the Bent decision were in effect. End of story.
Next, Judge Perry called for motions concerning the JAC. First up was Casey's new death penalty lawyer, Ann Finnell. The first words out of her mouth told me that what I had thought concerning her motion were true.
Ms. Finnell had been sandbagged by the other members of the defense team, including her long-time friend, Cheney Mason. She had apparently been told that the budget for the guilt portion of the trial had been previously worked out and that she was here to obtain funds to do her job in the penalty phase.
WRONG! At the May 6 hearing, there was no distinction made as to what portion of the trial for which the hours were allocated, with the exception of the hours granted to Jeanene Barrett, the mitigation specialist from out of state who joined the team along with Andrea Lyon, the preceding death penalty attorney.
Judge Perry said that he thought they had already done this.
Finnell, who practices in the Jacksonville area said that she'd been asked to prepare penalty phase budgets in other trials. As we learned in the previous JAC hearing, Judge Perry has the practice of giving out hours and asking the attorneys to return with detailed records as to how the money was spent prior to granting more funds. He tends to give money for the development of the case and deals with trial expenses when they arise.
Judge Perry said that he'd already granted the funds in his previous order dealing with trial preparation. Jose Baez had already argued the motion and was given the mitigation expert of their choice and 384 hours for her work were approved. The judge asked if they had used them all up. Finnell said that they hadn't, that Ms. Barrett had 1/3 - 1/2 of her hours left. The judge had also assumed that the mitigation expert would be doing the investigation portion as well.
Finnell stated that she was estimating the maximum hours she might need to complete the job. She mentioned that there was quite a bit of work still left to do. There were a large number of potential mitigation witnesses that needed to be talked to. As usual, Judge Perry wanted to know how many witnesses had been talked to and how many people needed to be talked to. When the hours are used up, and she comes back and gives a detailed explanation of how they were used, he could give them more.
Ms. Finnell agreed with the judge and mentioned that she would have to get more detailed information from Ms. Barrett. She then brought up the hours she needed for an in-state investigator. Judge mentioned the 300 hours of in-state investigators already given to the defense.
I'm putting little stars here because at this point, Baez, promptly hijacked Ms. Finnell's motion and started discussing the amount of PI time that he had already used up. Remember, he was also asking for 300 more hours for an in-state PI.!
This was quite a large digression which totally interrupted Finnell's motion! If you only listen to one portion of the hearing, this is the one to listen to at about 10:00.
Judge Perry indicated that the in-state PI was given 300 hours. Baez told the judge that those hours were completely exhausted and in his motion, he is asking for 300 additional hours.
Judge Perry then went into his now familiar explanation that to spend taxpayers funds, Mr. Baez will have to do a lot of explaining how he spent the, even if under seal so as to not to make public or let the State know his defense strategy.
At this point, Baez gave an extremely generalized idea of what types of work has been done. (All I could think at this point was that Mr. Baez needs a person to keep track of all the hours and expenses and what they were used for. This judge will not except vagueness when it comes to TAXPAYER Money!)
Baez brought up the dreaded Texas Equusearch documents and said that they were just scratching the surface of that, a lot of "them" don't want to get involved. (Can anyone wonder why?)
Then, the words I have been waiting for so long to hear from Judge Belvin Perry came out "TAXPAYERS DO NOT FUND FISHING EXPEDITIONS!"
Baez then made the usual complaint about access to records. I'll spare you the ugly details.
Judge Perry stopped the whining by asking, "what problems have you had when THIS COURT, several weeks ago... I supplied a special master... there are some forms on my desk now, submitted under seal..." (Paraphrased)
Baez replied by saying that the defense was trying to conduct a task with handcuffs on, TES had the worst kept records on the face of this earth, being closely monitored, and so on and so on...
The Judge took some umbrage and that, telling Baez that he gave them every opportunity and he had no complaints. He had made himself available by phone and NEVER got a call asking him to resolve and disputes. (I again recommend you listen to this.)
(Had I been there, I might have said it a little differently! "Mr. Baez, I gave you everything you asked for and you're still whining to me? Do you think Texas Equusearch's main function is to keep perfect records so you can call every searcher and look up their history and send out investigators to hassle them and make them say things they don't believe to be true? Those people gave their time and hearts to finding that little girl. Her name is Caylee and that was what they were there for!)
To make a long story a bit shorter, Perry indicated that he had understood the reason the defense wanted the records was that they didn't trust TES to tell them who had searched Suburban Drive and wanted to see which records showed a person had searched there. He then said that Baez is now telling him that he wanted a laundry list of names to make phone calls to them all and conduct his own investigation! Judge Perry then repeated, "If that's what you want to do, then that's a fishing expedition." Perry also told Baez that if he wanted to do it on his own, it was fine, but it wasn't something he could do with taxpayers money.
At this point, Cheney Mason got up and spoke to the issue. Referring to himself as a "significant taxpayer" he said he had "a dollar in this fight". Then, he misspoke when he said that TES had only identified 32 people who had searched Suburban. That is absolutely NOT true. When making the original order, Judge Stan Strickland allowed only those searchers who searched withing 200 yards of the site to be given to the defense. They would be the only ones to have any information about the ground conditions at the time.
He then goes on to say that they are only looking for people who searched the relevant site, about 17'5'' wide and smaller than the judge's bench. He said that people who searched "over here" weren't relevant at all! He says they are calling all these people so that they can eliminate those who searched Suburban on their own and didn't search that area! He also claimed that they were sending out investigators to talk to these people to eliminate them so they don't have to depose them. (I'm sorry, that STILL sounds like a fishing expedition.) Then, he makes the claim that they have found people who weren't on TES documents who searched that exact area and claim there were no remains there and that the area was dry! (I'm sorry, I do have a tendency to believe people like Tim Miller and the searchers who have already been deposed and haven't been Jeremy Lyonized.) In addition, Mason said that some of the people they have called don't want to cooperate with them or have been instructed not to speak to them. (Probably by friends who don't want to see them dragged into the case. I recall Tim Miller telling the searchers to simply tell the truth.) Mason also added that this is going to be a Federal issue quickly. And that's why we need the investigators.
Judge Perry said that what he explained was different from saying somebody is hiding records and that's what Mr. Baez was saying about TES. The Judge tells Mason that all he has to do is say that that is why he needs them (the PI hours) particularly.
At this point in the hearing, Ann Finnell takes the reins back and points out what SHE is asking for is different. Finnell goes through all the kinds of records, investigations, she needs and that she is going by the ABA rules. The judge tells her that he has to go by the rules of the Constitution and Laws of Florida.
The judge stated he wants to split investigative hours for guilt/innocence/possible penalty phase and also mentions that he had thought Mr. Mason had been brought in for penalty phase. Mason pretty much brushed that idea aside by saying that he didn't think there would be a penalty phase!
Finnell indicated it was her understanding that no investigative time has been used in the penalty phase. Judge Perry said he was LED to believe the mitigation person was going to do all the investigation. Finnell said that Barrett was from Chicago. Finnell stated that she want's someone local (Orlando, Ft. Meyers) for no more than 100 hours. The judge asked if she knows that she was asked for and that it would save money?
Judge Perry told her that he is not going to give her more money for Barrett and a local investigator. He told her to consult with the others and make a decision between someone local or Ms. Barrett.
Ms. Barrett wants to leave Barrett's hours the same and get 100 hours more for someone local to help her out with the bits and pieces.
Finnell then asked for a max of $7500 for the total cost of a mitigation psychologist. She mentioned that this would cover all expenses through trial. The judge then told her not to consider the expenses for the trial itself. At that point, Finnell asked for $2500. If she needs more, she will approach the judge about it. (She's on a rapid learning curve today.)
When asked for the $1000 for copying expenses, Judge Perry wanted to know if Ms. Barrett had already obtained copies of information. Finnell responds that she has, but has some ideas of her own. She said it would probably be substantially less than $1000, more likely $500.
Finnell skipped the next item as it deals with the actual penalty phase and moved on to the reimbursement for travel expenses. She explained her position after Judge Perry asked her opinion about the JAC rules concerning privately retained attorneys. She also said she would remain with the case even if she weren't reimbursed.
She then brought up expenses to travel to Warren, Ohio. When asked by the judge, she indicated that Casey lived there until about the age of 3. She stated she needs to interview potential witnesses about the family dynamics, for birth records, medical record, any childhood trauma. (I thought Jeneane Barrett had already been to Ohio.)
When asked by Judge Perry why she couldn't do this over the phone, Finnell replied that the had tried but had met with resistance. The judge then asked why she thought they will talk to her in person? Finnell stated that, based on her experience, it works better in person. She also said that she feels she is required to TRY based on ABA guidelines.
The Judge again reminded her that he is not bound by ABA guidelines and went on to mention all the laws and the Constitution he is bound by. He did say that if she were are able to demonstrate to him that these people will talk to you in person, he might approve it. Finnell then asked to ex-parte the court on that... (I guess we'll never get to know which Anthony friends, family, or work associates are unwilling to cooperate.)
JAC attorney Brad Bischoff then got a chance to speak. He stated that penalty phase funds may be premature at this time. He also asked for some clarification concerning the 100 hours of out-of-state PI time that is left. At that point, Judge Perry then told Finnell she has 100 hours for investigation in Ohio, and they do have investigators there.
Bischoff also stated the JAC had already disallowed attorney travel expenses before and hold the same position in this case.
He felt that the $2500 may be premature at this time. Judge Perry pointed out that "in capital cases you have to put the cart before the horse" and granted the $2500.
Copy costs... Judge asks Baez if he has any money left in copying costs? Baez said he didn't believe the judge gave him copying costs. Baez says he gave money for public records and rambles on a bit, he doesn't have an answer.
The judge, as patient as a second-grade teacher leads Jose Baez through a word problem. He gave him money to obtain public records and when we get public records we have them ____. (The correct answer is COPIED). Baez continues acting dazed and confused until the judge tells him he is playing WORD GAMES. (Clearly, the judge isn't pleased with that at all.)
Judge: Playing word gymnastics!
In the end Baez didn't know how much he had left and indicated he wants Finnell to have her own copying money.
Judge broke down and gave Finnell a starting amount of $500.
Judge Perry did put his foot down when it came to the issue of in-state investigator hours. He said that he has to have defense give accounting of hours already used. When asked, Baez told him all the hours were used up. Baez tried to save face a bit by saying that it wasn't just a TES issue and mentions all the State witnesses.
At that point, Perry insisted he get an accounting, he'll be around all next week, before he gives the defense more.
Perry, perhaps feeling a bit sorry for her predicament, gave Finnell 100 hours of her own, just what she asked for.
Oh! Baez just came up with his records! Surprise! Surprise! After a short trip up to the bench,
Baez gets another 60 hours! One thing is clear here. If Baez wants more time for PI services, he'd better show the judge some extremely detailed records. The judge also told Baez that if ne needs more PI time he can do a telephonic hearing
Perry doesn't award expense money for Finnell due to the privately retained attorney. (And I'm supposing trying to get expense money from the retained attorney would run into just as many difficulties as getting some money to make copies.)
Judge Perry then heard the Motion for Clarification. I never understood that one, but it seems that none of the issues were being disputed. The judge said that expenses for experts would be straightened out and paid at 9th Judicial Circuit rates.
Linda Kenney's Motion to withdraw was dealt with next. When asked if there were any objections, the only voice heard was that of Mr. Ashton who said he liked working with her. The motion was granted. I only wonder here if Casey Anthony understands just what losing this lawyer could mean to her case.
State: Extend time for depositions. The defense has no objections. (How could they?)
Linda Drane Burdick spoke to the motion and repeated a lot of what is in motion and discussed here in my previous article.
The judge asked a few questions about one of the witnesses who can't be located. Believe it was Travis Sanders, whose address was given as Northern California. When Drane Burdick asks if the defense knows what he is going to testify about, Baez pointed out that he's in a video!
Judge Perry grants her motion for a 30 day extension.
Perry then asks Ms. Finnell if she is aware that November 30 is the deadline for mitigation witnesses. Finnell stated that she is working on it and will do her best to meet the deadline. Perry informed her that she may be able to get an extention for mental mitigation, but Bennett has been on the case for a long time. It's obvious that Finnell and Barrett need to become very well acquainted very fast and Ms. Finnell will need to be brought up to speed on everything that has been done.
As the status portion of the hearing continues, Jeff Ashton is asked about expert witness depositions. He says the defense has 2 to go by extended deadline and that all people from the
Body Farm are done
The judge asked the defense if they are anticipation filing any Frye motions. Cheney Mason mumbled something about waiting on transcripts. Jeff Ashton pointed out to the judge that Jose
Baez had personally recorded them!
Judge Perry then told Mr. Baez that Mr. Mason said that he couldn't make Frye motions until he got transcripts (which need to be paid for) why couldn't he use audio?
Ashton, pointed out that the burden is on defense to prove scientific method is new and that some is new, some isn't.
Ms. Finnell made some suggestion about the transcription and then Judge Perry said he can get it done cheaper than "that" if Baez gives him the tape. He told Baez to give the audio to his clerk and the transcripts would be done.
Ashton helpfully told the Court that he doesn't have witnesses for Frye hearing to depose. (I'm wondering if the defense has any at this point.)
What I may not have reported earlier was that there was a brief discussion concerning the TES documents collected in Texas. Judge Perry brought up the topic again at this point in the hearing:
I'm going to summarize it here for the sake of brevity in an already to long entry!
Back in February, Mark NeJame filed a document with the court which explained how additional TES documents had been located in a search of Tim Miller's garage. (Hey TES is an all volunteer organization with one volunteer clerk in the office. It burns me up whenever I hear the defense and the Anthony family knock their efforts and record keeping. They sure aren't in this for the money, media exposure, and fame... and that includes the searchers as well.)
Jose Baez accused the prosecution of playing 3-card Monte with them and had denied the defense access to them. Linda Drane Burdick, for the first time in the 2+ years, lost it a little for the first time. She got up and carefully explained to the judge that these documents had been brought by Yuri Melich back to Orlando and booked in as evidence. The documents were copied and the copies returned to TES. She spent a day (of her summer vacation as I recall) going over the evidence lists with the defense team and it had been their choice NOT to ask for them.
After a little bit of discussion, Perry gave the defense two weeks to go take a look at them. Actually, I thing the defense should have checked out what NeJame had to say last February!
12. The above mentioned additional documents that were recently located are now placed with the other approximately 4,000 documents located at the undersigned counsel's office. The previously mentioned documents along with the recently located documents are available for review by the counsel for the Defendant and the State.
At this point in the hearing, Cheney Mason mumbled something about needing some "psychological" tests. The judge asked if he needed the results.
Linda Drane Burdick came to the rescue (again) and explained that FBI Special Agent Nick Savage had been depositioned yesterday. He did NOT administer the "tests". Rather, two other FBI agents utilized background sheets (which we can all observe in George and Cindy's videotaped interviews with the FBI). However, there had been discussion about the forms and Baez probably realized they existed.
Drane Burdick said that Baez and Mason DIDN'T find out about the forms yesterday. Yesterday, Baez asked if she had them. She said "no" the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit uses them (to profile people) and doesn't provide copies.
Judge Perry simply told the defense to file a motion to compel, soon.
Drane Burdick then informed the judge that Mr. Mason wants to conduct depositions with 18 law enforcment in November. Three had previously been extended to Nov 18. She said that Mason told her that the court's order was uninforceable and they would do depos when they pleased (sanitized version).
As to the excess "searchers" ON Suburban as witnesses, Drane Burdick said that Mason said that there are 6 to 10 who MAY apply and it's been past 5 days and don't have the names.
Judge Perry, on hearing about the law enforcement depositions said, "Then I don't think they'll do any more depositions.".
For those folks who don't comply with deadlines, and if we have to take a deposition, we will have to take a deposition at the convenience of the court, not either side.
He said that he would be present in court to hear these depositions which would NOT occur during normal working hours.
"I will choose the time, place, and method"
Judge Perry close the long, drawn out, contentious session with some stern words to both parties about "disagreeing without being disagreeable".