Thursday, October 21, 2010

Looking Forward To Another Hearing: Casey Anthony To Attend

October is one of my favorite months. Gone is the heat of summer and the clear, crisp days let me work in my garden for hours on end. Those chilly, drizzly days are perfect for naps on the sofa wrapped in my favorite Betsy Ross panne/fleece blanket. The past weeks have been pure bliss. Oh, I surf the computer early in the morning and late at night to keep up with the latest in the Casey Anthony murder trial. Fortunately, there was a bit of a slow time and I've been able to indulge myself. However, it's almost "Pumpkin Time" and I've had to abandon them for now.

The Motions

We have a hearing on Friday, October 29 at 1:30 PM. Originally slated to be a status hearing, which is always quite an experience, we will also be hearing two motions. Ms. Anthony will be in attendance for that reason.

One motion to be discussed is one filed by Ann Finnell, Casey's newest death penalty attorney. In her Motion To determine Reasonable Budget For Due Process Costs In A Capital Case And Motion To Incur Certain Specified Costs , Finnell sets out her budget for the mitigation phase should Casey be found guilty of murder. On October 12, Bradley Bischoff, attorney for the JAC filed his reply.

For a complete analysis of the documents, I highly recommend the analysis published in the Orlando Sentinel.

After reading the motion and the JAC reply, I went back and read my entry for the original JAC hearing on May 6, 2010. It will be interesting to see how much of what Judge Perry said at that hearing will be repeated or acted upon in this hearing.

One of the most interesting items in Finnell's motion concerns mitigation specialist, Jeanene Barrett. In her motion, Finnell asks for 100 additional hours for the specialist.

At the hearing, Judge Perry asked Jose Baez for some information about Ms. Barrett's work.

The judge then asked how many hours she had already put in, how close to completion she was and how much she was compensated in past, He wants to know the number of times she met with Ms. Anthony.

Baez answered in a rather rambling manner, which is what he does whenever he doesn't have those pesky little details available.

Baez responded that she had traveled to Orlando twice a month for a year. She had traveled to Ohio and Ft. Myers to meet with relatives. She also met with Cindy, George, and Lee Anthony .

As for the additional 100 hours for the mitigation specialist, the JAC response notes that the court had previously approved a "cap" of 384 hours for mitigation specialist Jeanene Barrett.

"It is unclear whether that cap has been reached at this time," states the response from JAC Assistant General Counsel Bradley Bischoff.

The rate for such work is $40 per hour and the response states the court "must determine that the additional hours sought are reasonable and necessary for the defense of the case."

For the sake of brevity, I'll be quoting my entry here. In the July 6 hearing, Judge Perry asked Jose Baez to indicate a few details about Ms. Barrett's work to date.

The judge then asked how many hours she had already put in, how close to completion she was and how much she was compensated in past, He wants to know the number of times she met with Ms. Anthony.

This is highlighted because in her motion, Finnell stated that there would need to be visits to the same locations. Would this be unnecessary duplication of labor? On each visit to Orlando, Barrett had spent “multiple hours” (3 as an average) with Casey and the two had grown extremely close. He estimated that it would take about 384 hours to complete the work.

Judge Perry said, “Stop! How many hours has she put in?”.

Baez said he didn’t know, probably the same amount. He pointed out that it is an ongoing relationship. If the case were to end up in penalty phase, she'd have to have discussions with Casey that no one else can. He went on to say that Jeannene Barrett was the closest person to Ms. Anthony, that she knows Casey better than he does.. She is the most important person on the defense team. She has a relationship with the family members who have opened up to her and has gained their trust. She had even spoken to Casey’s elementary teachers.

At the hearing, Judge Perry made it abundantly clear that he wanted FACTUAL information concerning Ms. Barrett's activities in the case.

She must keep detailed records, and he wants records of people she has already spoken to. He will go over her billing with a a fine tooth comb as will JAC. It may get cut, but at this stage, she will continue

He will scrutinize hotels (mentions types at cheapest possible rate. She will have the same per diem rates as outlined in FL Statute. Car rentals (compact cars).

Judge Perry made it very clear at this hearing that to get more money from the JAC, he would have to justify every past expense and would also have to be very specific if he came back for more money. This is no surprise, the Judge is very involved with the JAC and is very money conscious. Jose Baez, on the other hand, has a problem with finances and record keeping. That's a "whole 'nother story! I'm hoping Finnell will be better at accounting for all of this.

One only has to go back to the beginning of the JAC hearing to note that. At the hearing, Perry pointed out that the defense originally had $275,000 at their disposal. Andrea Lyon was paid $22,500 for expenses. $89,454.33 was paid to Jose Baez for his representation in both the criminal and civil cases totaling $111,954.83.

As the judge figured, there was still $163,045.70 left and he stated that it looked like it went to pay for investigators, experts, and travel. He wanted to know any number of details such as whether they would be testifying and the number of hours for which they were compensated.

This huge amount of money not well accounted for would lead any fiscally responsible person to wonder "where did it all go"? Wouldn't we all like to know!

Whatever happens with Ms. Finnell's motion on Friday, I'm sure the judge and Mr. Bischoff will hold the defense's feet to the fire to justify any more money. It will be interesting to watch, especially because it will be Ms. Finnell;s first court appearance.

In an especially ironic response from the JAC, Brad Bischoff, in arguing against the payment to Finell of travel and lodging in the pursuit of her mission. Since Jose Baez brought her on board, her expenses are part of his overhead and should come out of the money he had accepted for representing Casey as a private attorney.

Personally, I can't believe the sticky wicket Baez has gotten himself into. Since Casey is now indigent, he can't get money from her through any other source than the JAC, which has its own severe budgetary situation. If Casey were to miraculously broker a deal for herself from the jail (oh, those pesky jail logs) to sell more of Caylee's memory, she would no longer be indigent!

The second motion, filed by Jose Baez on October 15, the Motion For Reconsideration opens up the topic of sealing Casey's visitor logs. Based on a recent Court of Appeal decision, Bent vs Florida, his previous motion to seal jail visiting log records be sealed. He also states that "jail commissary records, telephone and visitation logs are also not subject to public record disclosure under Chapter 119..."

As I read the motion, I notice two things. First, the court decision deals with the phone calls of minors. Second, the last page of the decision has the following statement at the bottom.

Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

Since the decision came down on September 29, 2010, I have no idea if this decision is being appealed. If it is, it is more than likely that this ruling may not yet be final.

For more information concerning this motion, I recommend you read Richard Hornsby's excellent blog on this decision.

The Commotion

Is Jeremy Lyons?

Last Wednesday, accusations that defense PI Jeremy Lyons had been accused of witness tampering. According to WFTV,

Defense private investigator Jeremy Lyons is being accused by two EquuSearch volunteers of trying to change their testimony about searching the scene where Caylee's remains were later found. One has already been deposed by the defense and the other has given a statement to investigators.

The two complainants are Brett Reilly and Brett Churchill, both of whom had searched with TES. According to Churchill,

"He basically was asking me if what I said in my deposition was the exact story because he had others who fared differently, one of them being Brett Reilly,"

Reilly said that:

...he warned Lyons not to twist his words after seeing what the defense has done to others. He says Lyons promised not to, but then found out he did exactly that.

These accusations follow a situation with another searcher, Joseph Jordan who claimed that the defense PI, Mort Smith had tried to do much the same thing, prompting him to clandestinely record the session. The end result of that dust-up was that the illegal recording was sealed by Judge Stan Strickland and his decision was upheld by Judge Belvin Perry. Jordan is now on the State's witness list.

If these accusations are true, then it is a sad situation when the defense will go to any lengths to get someone to say that the area where Caylee's remains were found was dry and had been thoroughly searched.

Linda Kenney-Baden Leaves the Team

The latest "bombshell" occurred on Friday, when Casey Anthony's forensic specialist attorney Linda Kenney-Baden filed a Motion To Withdraw. She cited the burden of travel and expenses in making her decision. If there are any other reasons, it's purely speculation on our parts. Good luck to Dorothy Sims, who can now deal with ALL the science (with perhaps a bit of help from Casey's former lawyer.)

For more on this latest commotion, and for a good laugh, do read donchais' take on the situation at Calls For Justice.

See you all in court Friday!


donchais said...

Your attention to details and facts never ceases to amaze!

Thanks, yet again for another superior article - this case just keeps on giving, lol!

FRG said...


Finally you wrote an article! I have been looking for it for weeks!!! Thanks for the great article! I agree with donchais!

High five Ritanita!

Boy oh boy, can't wait for the next hearing.

BTW, I also got as a gift an iPad, did you hear it, JB? But hubby didn't have to miss a mortgage payment in order to get me one! *wink wink*

Back to the subject, I would like to speculate about LKB leave the sinking ship... Her agenda is complete so now she will move on to just be a panelist on National media when the trial starts. There was not a money issue before why would be an issue now? Sure, put the blame on it doesn't belong, JAC right? I take this quite as a joke.

After all KC is not that special! JB is stuck so he is the only who won't bail out. Have you regret it yet, JB? I bet you are. Oh well.

Do you know if Dr. Kobilinsky is on the sinking team?

ritanita said...

Hi, FRG. Sorry I didn't post earlier, but it was pretty quiet for a while after the last hearing and, aside from my gardening and sofa surfing, I've also had company. I hadn't seen my friend for a few years and we had a wonderful time together.

As for Dr. Kolbilinski, he's no longer on the team. Dr. Werner Spitz, who did the autopsy for the defense is no longer around either.

I am so looking forward to the hearing on Friday. It will be interesting to see what depositions the defense hasn't finished. The DEAD LINE is next Sunday and there still hasn't been any notice of deposition filed for Amy Huizenga. I don't think that Judge Perry will allow the defense any more time on hers and other depositions of witnesses listed prior to May 24.

I wonder what Casey will think about that!

Donchais, thank you so much for the comment. I am "calendarly impaired" in that I have a hard time remembering dates. I've been known to forget my anniversary and other important dates! When it comes to this case, the dates jump right to mind when I need them.

Tezi said...

Oh, boy, I wonder how big Bozo's color coded chart will be on Friday? I will have to watch just to have a laugh.

Liz said...

Many thanks Ritanita for your great explanation (as always) of the next hearing.

It is past time for Ms Anthony to see her lawyer performing in a status hearing - her reactions could be interesting to watch.

FRG said...


Morning!! I also love when it is fall!! Like the pumpkin photo, very cute!!

So, it is clear to me, and you may not agree, that these experts and lawyers worked pro-bono for one and only reason, if in the long run whatever was promised to them was not going to happen anymore because KC run out of money, they would jump out of the sinking ship. I have always wondered why all of these lawyers had accepted to work pro-bono... hmmmm.

Hey JB, you are stuck!!!

Now, as far as the check fraud trial, JB didn't depose AH because there were the videos at Target and in the BOA showing KC spending AH's money, so it was a lost case... I believe JB also was saving money, how many depositions did he do at the time KC was not indigent? Obviously he didn't forget to pay himself, did he? I do hope that JP won't give KC's defense any more time to depose AH, JB failed and it is his fault!!!!!!!

What about Laura Buchanan deposition? She got sick (*wink wink*), remember? I can't wait to read her depositions, if it is going to be released, of course.

When do you believe that JP will be ruling on the Motion in Limine? This is crucial to the defense if they get to include what Mr. Kronk's ex bitter wives are accusing him of doing. This is "SO UNFAIR" to him, I hope Prosecution won't allow these absurd accusations to make to trial.

Is is Friday yet? Oh no, just Monday!!! LOL

ritanita said...

Tezi, nothing would surprise me about those color-coded charts. Technically, the entries should be mostly blacked out since so many were DEAD-Lined by the judge as of Sunday.

Liz, I have been thinking the same myself. Casey needs to see the progress ( or lack thereinof) in her case and it would do her good to rouse herself out of her cozy cell to find out.

FRG, I wish I really knew why Andrea Lyon and Linda Kenney-Baden really left. I'm sure that they originally thought they were in for the duration, but now, something has changed. Were they expecting to have their expenses covered by Baez? Did Cheney Mason slip his own people in? Did egos get in the way?

Bill Sheaffer opined that each lawyer had an agenda they had met and had now left. That's another possibility.

More than likely, there's no one reason the rats have left the ship. They'll never tell, and we'll never know!

Amy Huizenga's deposition should have been two years ago. She did cancel the first deposition so she could obtain an attorney, but there was still plenty of time to depose her before the check-fraud case ended last January.

I remember at one point, when he was doing sporadic depositions, Baez mentioned that it was an expensive proposition, about $1000 each.

Yet, he managed to miss both Amy and Richard and Jesse Grund. As for Jesse's last appointment, Baez forgot to get a subpoena for him! Those two are this week.

If the defense is going to depose Amy, they should have this Saturday available to go to Miame! So far, I haven't seen any notice about her deposition. I sure hope Perry sticks to his "Pumpkin Time" DEAD-line.

Finally, Laura Buchanan. I have absolutely no idea what will happen. She cancelled out due to "illness" and it's not the defense's fault. I would expect Perry to take some action on that. After all, the defense needs to get the truth out of her, don't they?

Thanks for bringing these up, FRG, I got a massive headache, the worst in my life, while writing the article. I meant to add this information, but it couldn't happen.

And I NEVER, EVER, get massive headaches... Thanks a lot, Casey.

FRG said...


Wow, did you hear the news? Another deposition cancelled by defense of the Grunds, why??? They are pretty much running out f time. That's a no, no!!!

Depositions Cancelled Suddenly In Casey Case
Posted: 7:34 am EDT October 26, 2010
Updated: 8:16 am EDT October 26, 2010

ritanita said...

Indeed, I have heard, FRG. We now have another commotion to possibly add to Friday's hearing.

There are also the new motions just listed on the Clerk of the Court site, obviously filed by the defense. One has to do with additional PI hours and the other is a clarification of rulings from the May 12 hearing about expenses for mitigation.

I'm sitting here waiting for the documents to be posted!

Anonymous said...


I LOVE ur SYNOPSIS!! You do an A-1 job ALWAYS...KUDOS girl :) Thanks so much for your coverage of this case, because of you I made a FRIEND with BETSY (met her this summer!!) and can ask u ANYTHING and you answer in simple terms for me!! THANK YOU RITA!!

Now I have to ask this. Why is Casey going through LAWYERS like we change our underwear? Is this a PLOY to come back and do an APPEAL and say she did not have FAIR REPRESENTATION? Also how come MISS BADEN was all in EVERYONE'S face about CASEY'S innocence but now we hear nothing from her of WHY she QUIT? Could these LAWYERS not only be thinking the ship is sinking, but see that when the JURY looks over the evidence there is no way they will come back with a NOT GUILTY verdict? I mean if you are so HIGH POWERED, it probably is not a good thing to to be attatched to a case that is CLEARLY not in favour of your defendant. I am just so CONFUSED as to all these CONSTANT changes and wondering if this will not come back to play well for Casey?

Another Q, when are they expecting the actual trial to begin? What is up with George and Cindy now that their lawyer left them as well? Have not heard much in the past bit as I am in Canada.

Thanks so much for everything Rita :) I ALSO AGREE with you about BETSY'S blankets...AWESOME. Got 3 for my POOCHIE and will be getting for us HUMANS in the spring :)

Stephanie Sander

FRG said...


This hearing will be great! Not that great because JB and CM are on it but there will be a lot of developments, I believe. JP can handle a lot of issues that will be heard.

I just saw this:
10/26/2010     Response
Orange County's; to Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration

Do you think that the OC has any say on JP's decision? Every time I think about it I get mad because JS had already denied and it seems unfair to his ruling, if you know what I mean. I guess we will have to wait.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to me that Casey Anthony has a mitigation specialist. Lemaricus Davidson, the ringleader of the Christian-Newsom torture-murders, which I wrote about for Trials & Tribulations, had a mitigation specialist paid for by the taxpayers.

Davidson's mitigation specialist prepared a 36 page report, mostly about his bad childhood, and testified in the penalty phase after Davidson was convicted of both murders. Incidentally, the defense chose to exclude parts of the report.

On cross-examination, the prosecution got the mitigation specialist to admit that Davidson had some good influences and plenty of chances but chose a life of crime.

Davidson was sentenced to death.

If she is convicted, what will the mitigation for Casey Anthony be?

David In TN

ritanita said...

Mitigation specialist has put in massive hours interviewing Casey, her family, and various and sundry relatives.

At the hearing Friday, additional hours for an investigator for this phase is being asked for.

For mitigation for Casey, should she be convicted, expect to see psychiatric reports about her upbringing. I have no doubt Casey's parents will end up under the bus for their parenting skills or rather, lack thereinof.

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone has written about Casey, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

I've opined before that the best chance Casey has to beat the death penalty is to hold up her up-bringing in front of a very sharp mirror. One thing I know for sure, I'm glad Cindy wasn't my mother.

Ms. Jeanene Barrett, the mitigation specialist, sure has her work cut out for her!

ritanita said...


Thanks for stopping by! Last year, I gave some friends their blankets and they were #1 among the favorites! I had one made of double fleece for my friend's husband who is always cold. I've never seen him so thrilled with a gift. I just finished up this year's order!

As for the trial, jury selection begins May 9, 2011 and the actual trial will start Monday, May 16. Judge Perry has repeatedly said so, and I believe him, 100%.

I've been following the Patrick Gonzalez trial out of Pensacola (Byrd and Melanie Billings murders).

They started selecting the jury on Monday and there was speculation that they might have to have a change of venue. As it turned out, the jury was chosen in a day and opening arguments were made Tuesday morning. The last prosecution witness was on the stand today and I wouldn't be surprised if the jury gets to it by Friday. It IS a capital case!

Oh, if only the Casey Anthony case could have gone so smoothly.

I believe if her defense had been as sharp an on-task as Mr. Gonzalez' has been, the trial would be over by now.

FRG said...


Laura Buchanan hired a lawyer from Fort Lauderdale so I read on the news today... I thought she already had a lawyer before... maybe she has just replaced lawyers. I am sure she will need one. LOL