Monday, November 29, 2010

Casey Anthony Appears In Court: A Short And Sweet Hearing

Now we know the reason Judge Belvin Perry moved the hearing up to 1:00. He is hearing another case and the jury was to return to court at 1:45. For this, we thank you, judge, it made both parties to get to the point and get the job done.

Casey entered the courtroom sporting an orange blouse and shackles. Many people have noted that orange isn't the best color at this time as it is reminiscent of jail garb! I hope Casey liked it, as it had no ruffles, just some rusching on the sleeves.

The hearing opened with Judge Perry addressing Jeff Ashton's Motion To Compel Discovery. Mr. Ashton simply went through the items he wanted from the defense.

He indicated that the prosecution had given the defense over 10,000 pages of expert evidence and the defense had given them none. (Remember Linda Kenney-Baden's 91 page motion.) Thanks to Nums34 we have the link for the gargantuan motion. He pointed out that he had done a great deal of work to supply the defense with the discoverable information that they had asked for. We have proof of that by scanning through the discovery to see e-mails and other documents provided to the defense.

Ashton pointed stated that if they are listed as witnesses, he wanted their reports, as well as fees, expenses, travel. He stated that all this information, "is grist for cross examination". (includes prior to indigency).

Ashton also explained that he wanted the notes taken by these witnesses during the examination of the evidence. He pointed out he also wanted notes taken for the investigator since he had observed that Dr. Henry Lee had someone taking notes for him. (I have to wonder if this person's expenses were included in Mr. Lee's $8000 bill for those three days.)

He also indicated that some of the notes between the experts and the defense could contain work product, however, he left it open that the court could examine them to determine what could be considered work product. Ashton explained that these notes would help the prosecution to determine what type of testimony a witness might give. He gave the example of Dr. Scott Fairgrieve, a forensic anthropologist from Canada. The prosecution had been assuming he would testify to information about the remains. As it turns out, Fairgrieve will testify about cadaver dog scent issues! (This leads me to wonder if Judge Perry would certify him as an expert in THAT field.) Without this pertinent knowledge, the prosecution would be ill-prepared to depose these witnesses. These communications would act in place of reports, if none exist.

Ashton also asked for all the expenses incurred by these witnesses, including transportation, lodging, and entertainment (perhaps meaning meals?) as these are usually part of the discovery.

He indicated that all of these sorts of information had been provided to the defense a long time ago.

As to the photographs, Ashton indicated that with the civilian witnesses, they either had not received them or received them shorty prior to deposition. (And we do know that one particular document was not presented to the prosecution until during a deposition.)

Jose Baez then rose to speak to Mr. Ashton's motion. Beginning with "a page from Mr. Ashton's book", stated that concerning this sort of discovery, "There is nowhere in the rules that outline the types of discovery" Baez also said that he doesn't want to pull agreements or give him an accounting. He said that Ashton could ask the experts directly himself in his depositions.

Baez also claimed that none of that had been given to the defense by the State.

On the contrary, in over 116 depositions, Mr. Ashton objected to giving them any communications. Now, after the defense has done their depositions with experts he's filed a "mirror" motion asking for the same information.

Baez said that he had not asked any of his experts to write reports, due to their working pro bono and under the current indigency status of Ms. Anthony. He also said that there had been no wining or dining. (I suppose the experts were never given any food to keep them going during their inspection!)

Let me stop here for a moment to explain. While Mr. Baez gives the excuse of low pay or pro bono status as the reason for not having reports written, let me tell you this. Many defense attorneys do not have their expert witnesses turn over reports, just so they don't have to turn them over to the prosecution. That's the real reason why. Baez then went on to say that when they had asked the prosecution to turn over information on the 300 witnesses, they had said "no". (What Baez left out was that the State, in it's discovery had turned over audio and written transcripts of the witnesses to the defense. Heck, we've read about Amy Huizenga, Jesse Grund, the Anthony's, and many other people's involvement in the case. Mr. Baez is being extremely disingenuous here.)

Baez then says that if communications between witnesses and the defense are to be released, then in his "mirror motion", he would have to go back and re-interview these witnesses.
Hello! Baez is mixing his oranges and apples here. He's talking about civilian witnesses, when the topic is expert witnesses. Baez & Co. has tons of information from the State expert witnesses, including reports!

Judge Perry then asked Mr. Baez to back through his arguments, one by one. He told Baez he had already addressed #1 (contracts and agreements). Baez also addressed #2 (communications). Now, he wanted Baez comments on #3 (bills and payments submitted), #4 (travel, expenses), #5 (notes taken by or for experts), and #6 (photographs and video).

Baez began with #4, saying that at a time when there is so much work to be done, it would be burdensome for them to pull all these records. (Heck, my husband uses Quicken and can pull that sort of stuff up in two minutes! I suppose that digging all the receipts out of cardboard boxes laying in dark corners could set a member of Baez & Co. back days!) Baez pointed out that the prosecution could simply ask the experts for this information during the depositions.

Baez had no problem turning over the photographs as they were clearly discoverable. He was also willing to turn over any notes taken during examination that don't involve work product.

Judge Perry then backtracked to the fact that none of the defense experts were going to be turning over any reports. He asked if the State's experts had turned over reports and Baez responded that many of them had. All the judge had to say about that was "OK".

Ashton briefly replied to Baez by pointing out that they had turned over such notes to the defense a year-and-a-half ago, approximately 10,000 pages. Likewise with the photographs the State is requesting. He also said that they had provided the defense with all the bills they had received. (Remember, a lot of the work done for the State is done by government employees who work on a regular salary.)

Judge Perry asked Ashton for a justification under rule 3.220 concerning what he had asked for. Ashton gave his justifications and the judge pointed out that much of what he was asking for in the first 4 items could be learned through deposition and subpoena duces tecum. He also pointed out that the rules of discovery were never meant to shortcut an attorney's responsibility to do his own investigation. (He usually tells Baez this.) Ashton agreed, but pointed out that many of the experts are out of state, making it a cumbersome procedure. In addition, one witness is in Canada, a whole different country. He again pointed out that the State had provided much discovery which saved the defense from slogging through all those procedures.

What struck me the most as Ashton was arguing his points was that the defense had two years to jump through the hoops of the subpoena duces tecum, and they did take their time. The State is running into the same issues, but just under six months till trial and with deadlines for depositions. As with the Laura Buchanan document, the State had to stop the deposition, get the document and then reschedule. At this point, I doubt there is enough time. Essentially, the defense had "all the time in the world" and the State is battling short-term deadlines (4 weeks) with a burdensome task. It's not fair, but it's the law.

Ashton did go on and point out the inequity of the situation and made my favorite comment of the day: "I can't imagine it's all that difficult for Mr. Baez to go to his trust account records and determine how much money was paid to a particular expert, or how much money was paid for that person's travel."

Baez got in his last licks on this by stating that, while they did receive a great deal, the State had given them misinformation that they had to go directly to the FBI for materials they wanted. He also brought up the issues they had with the Oak Ridge Laboratories. He said he was denied billing information and they had to jump through the hoops.

Judge Perry then pointed out that it was obvious that most experts don't work for free, that's how they earn their living, whether employed by the government or outside entity. He also said it goes to their bias, and could be obtained by deposition or subpoena.

Judge Perry denied #1, #2, #3, and #4 without prejudice as some of the information may not become available through the depositions.

He granted #5 and #6 concerning notes taken and the photographs or videos during the examinations. Since the experts are not creating reports, the defense will have to turn over to the State the subject matter to which they will testify prior to their depositions.

Since the deadline for providing a list of expert witnesses is tomorrow, November 30, the judge originally gave the defense two weeks to provide the information and three weeks to provide the notes and photographs. Jeff Ashton pointed out that they were trying to take the depositions of these witnesses this month and the deadlines would make that impossible. At that point, Jose Baez and Ashton agreed that Baez would provide all the information in writing by this Friday by 4:00 PM.

The discovery motion settled for the time being, the judge began the status hearing. He first brought up the Roy Kronk motion (which has been sitting in my motions pending file since November 19, 2009. The judge asked Jose Baez if he wanted it heard or if he should just deny it since he had no interest in calling that motion up. Baez got to his feet, buttoned his jacket, and informed he would probably withdraw the motion and file it closer to trial. (Hmm... could it be that with the latest deposition of Brandon Sparks, the motion is falling apart some more?) Baez stumbled through a few hesitant words until Judge Perry gave his "Please bear in mind" speeches about those pesky deadlines! The judge clearly stated that if Baez set that motion beyond the deadline, he definitely would not hear it, especially since it was already known to the court. Baez backed off with a few mumbled words about speaking with his team.

Baez stated "yes sir" when asked if all the depositions with the State's expert witnesses had been completed.

Judge Perry then asked Baez if all examination of evidence was complete since the deadline was October 31. Baez responded that all that was left was the DNA evidence. According to John Ashton, the shorts and laundry bag have yet to be sent out to the lab. The judge expected to have the results of that testing within the next 45 days (give or take a few days), starting today. Judge Perry also made Baez state that there WOULD be a report on the DNA testing.

One thing I noticed in the DNA testing was that Jose Baez said he had just handed the stipulation to Ashton! I thought that had been dealt with much earlier at a previous hearing!

Ashton was reminded of the February 28 deadline for defense expert witness depositions.

Baez said he would be in compliance with tomorrow's deadline for the listing of expert witnesses.

Ashton indicated they had scheduled two of the four currently listed experts for depositions in December.

Then, Jeff Ashton dropped a bomblet on the court. Mr. Baez had informed him that Mr. Petraco, the hair expert witness would not be on the witness list. Baez response was that he believed so, "unless it changed from today to tomorrow". Go figure that one out!

Ashton also indicated that they were having difficulties in getting responses from Dr. Lee concerning the scheduling of his deposition.

They were also trying to schedule the botanist, Dr. Brock. (As Ashton was saying this, Baez got up an faced the rear of the courtroom to wave people in to sit in the front row.)

Jeff Ashton brought up the Frye hearing. From what he understood, the defense is going to challenge the use of the decomposition odor base only (application of data to data base and not the testing procedure.) Aston wanted to know of any scientific witnesses the defense would be using so he could prioritize them.

Baez agreed and said he would be willing to discuss how the hearing would be held.

Perry reminded him that the deadline for such motions was February 28.

Baez also said that as of today, they had concluded the LE depositions, not including the no-shows and two officers involved in a criminal investigation.

At this point, Baez is driving me crazy with the "playing with his pen". He plays with it, opens and loudly snaps it shut, very distracting!

He also plans on "knocking out" as many of the civilian witnesses as possible in December. (Isn't December 31 the deadline for those listed after May 28?) When Baez indicated he had a trial during one of those weeks, as did Linda Drane Burdick, the judge reminded him that, "that's why we have Fridays and Saturdays". Baez assured the judge that they would be done "long before trial". (Jose, remember the word so dear to Judge Perry's heart: DEADLINE.)

Judge Perry then gave another "bear in mind" speech about the deadline for non-forensic scientific motions without witnesses were to be filed and heard no later than December 31, 2010 (in reference to Roy Kronk).

Finally, we got to the issue of Penalty Phase witnesses. Ann Finnell said that she had a list of 50 known witnesses to turn over to the prosecution. She said she was not prepared on the mitigation expert yet and asked for more time. She said she would hope to be able to list one within the next 60 days. (It looks like Jeanene Barrett is out. I heard somewhere that she is not licenced in Florida and cannot receive compensation from the JAC. I have not been able to confirm it, but it's a possibility.) The judge gave her until January1 to find one, considering her considerable experience in the field.

She also brought up her motion to seal penalty phase discovery. Unfortunately, it can't be heard today since the media was not noticed of the hearing. The judge agreed to keep the witness list sealed until a hearing could be held on December 20, at 1:30.

At that point, all the attorneys went up to the bench for a side bar. Casey spent her time writing notes to her "prisoner-sitter" and had a good old time.

When the attorneys returned to their places, it was announced that the TES records were done. The defense will be required to give the state a list of witnesses from that exercise by December 31, and the State has until March 30, 2011 to complete their depositions.

There was one more matter brought up at the end of the hearing with Cheney Mason and the JAC. Apparently, the court stenographer in Tennessee charged more than the agreed price by $1 per page. Judge Perry suggested he sign contracts with transcriptionists prior to hiring them.

With that, the hearing was adjourned.

I must say, with a limit of 45 minutes, the defense managed to cut down on the verbiage and get their messages across. Perhaps the judge should set time limits in the future?

View the hearing:

Part 1
Part 2

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Casey Anthony: The Mitigation Witnesses And A Taphonomy Expert

According to what we have heard, the motion for discovery by Jeff Ashton is the only one to be discussed. However, two more motions have been filed. Just in case they come up, here's my take on them.

On November 23, attorney Ann Finnell filed the Defendant's Motion To Seal Penalty Phase Discovery Response. This motion comes after Judge Belvin Perry's Order denying the previous motion filed by Andrea Lyon on April 28, 2010. Lyon's motion, entitled Defendant's Motion for Protective Order with Respect to Penalty Phase Discovery, essentially stated that the defense wanted Perry to:

...enter an order protecting Miss Anthony from having to reveal any information relating to any potential penalty phase proceeding to the State prior to the time that she is actually convicted of First Degree Murder, should that event occur.

In a ten page memorandum of law, Ms. Lyon cited quite a bit of legal precedent and Casey Anthony's constitutional rights.

In sum, Rule. 3.220 does not require pretrial disclosure of penalty phase discovery. Extending Rule 3.220 to require penalty phase discovery before trial would raise serious constitutional questions, and the Florida Supreme Court has expressly declined to do so. To compel disclosure before trial would severely prejudice Miss Anthony's defense, violate her constitutional rights, and likely violate the witnesses' right to privacy under Article 1, section 23, of the Florida Constitution.

The defense argued Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220 does not require pre-trial disclosure of penalty phase discovery materials, so there should be no requirement to provide a list of mitigation witnesses prior to trial. The state argued the defense chose to participate in discovery, which triggered reciprocal obligations that include the sentencing phase of a capital trial... " (bold mine)

With this order denied, the judge did give the defense an "out" concerning the names of the witnesses.

2. If a particular witness will face public harassment, the defense may file a specific motion regarding that witness and the Court will consider a restriction on public disclosure of the name and address.

Surprisingly, in her motion, Ann Finnell chose to ask that all witness names and addresses be sealed from the public and the media. As we heard at the last hearing, she is having difficulty getting witnesses to speak to her. Apparently, Finnell believes that:

To date witnesses in this case, especially defense witnesses, have already been subjected to intense media pressure and harassment by the media and the public at large. This has resulted in a chilling effect with some witnesses becoming reluctant to come forward with information for fear of harassment and stalking. (bold mine)

Furthermore, Finnell also asks the judge, should he deny this motion,

...Defendant objects to any disclosure at this time and requests this Court delay disclosure of any kind until after the innocence/guilt phase of the trial. (bold mine)

Valhall, over at the Hinky Meter went to a great deal of effort to list all the defense witnesses who are not on the State's witness list. I have to agree with her that these people haven't exactly been featured in the media.

However, I know for sure that two of the defense witnesses, psychic Gale St. John and her daughter, Tamara have been harassed by the defense investigator, Jeremy Lyons. After speaking with Lyons once and essentially saying that she didn't have anything to offer, Lyons has called her constantly. HERE is a broadcast of Gale's that talks about the harassment and even plays the audio of one of his phone messages.

She then repeats the video of her "search" on Suburban Drive. If you watch carefully, you will see that Travis Sanders and the dog get sick just about where the remains were found. They then pull up further up the road and briefly walk the dog in the grassy area, a goodly distance away.

As for Travis Sanders, he's managed to escape the harassment by making himself totally unavailable somewhere in Northern California!

If Ms. Finnell knew more about harassment in this case, she would know that most, if not all the harassment, comes from the defense towards the State's witnesses. Think Roy Kronk, for one. Think all of the TES searchers who have been cold-called. I'm sure of you can come up with some more.

While I really don't care if the names are sealed or not, it does bother me that MSM and bloggers and posters on message boards are included in the harassment. We write what we see. While there are "haters" out there, there are many more of us who "call it as we see it".

As to Ms. Finnell's assertion that witnesses won't speak for fear of harassment, I really wonder if this is the ONLY reason. The defense cannot force mitigation-type witnesses to testify, it has to be voluntary. In this case, the mitigation witnesses will only be called for two reasons: to say how wonderful Casey is, such a good mother, good student, etc., and to bash Casey's upbringing by testifying about her parents, George and Cindy and the terrible values they taught their daughter.

People who would be unwilling to get up on the stand in court and do those things probably wouldn't want to talk to an investigator. They don't want to be involved, they don't want to be out there in public trash-talking family or friends. The defense can't force the issue.

Many years ago, early on in my teaching career, I was asked to be a mitigation witness for a student who had been in my homeroom for 10 minutes a day. It was a military murder trial and the officer spent the day at the school talking to all this man's former teachers. He came into my room at the end of the day, introduced himself to me, and asked me what I knew about "Pete". Unfortunately, I had nothing positive to say since my only experience with the then student had been dealing with his awful behavior, curses, and threats. The officer sighed and told me it hadn't been a good day for him.

I later learned from others that there was nobody who could credibly speak to any positive qualities they had observed in this future murderer. That was it, we never did hear what happened.

It will be interesting to see, should we get to a penalty phase, who volunteered to testify for Casey.

There is another motion floating out there in which the defense is asking for an expert in taphonomy. In the May 6 hearing setting the budget with the JAC, the following discussion took place. This is from my original article where I posted my notes and the dialogue is approximate:

Baez: Taphonomist. Taphonomy is the study of human decomposition.

Ashton: It’s not a recognized area of forensic science.

Baez: Ashton needs to Google it!

Bischoff: We need more information about this. Don’t they already have a forensic anthropologist?

Baez: I’ve labored hard over many hours to find the best experts for defense. Taphonomy IS a science.

Perry: Let me cut you short! We meed to have a Rogers hearing on this; file a motion and set a hearing pretty quickly. The expert can appear by video

Ashton: I need more information.

Perry: Provide (the State) with a CV of the particular witness. Have that witness appear by video conferencing, it can be done easily

In his Order, the judge denied the taphonomy expert without prejudice. He never seems to have followed Judge Perry's advice, and has now filed a new motion.

I'll write more about it when I can get my hands on a copy.

See you in court Monday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Casey Anthony To Make Another Appearance In Court Monday

There's going to be another status hearing Monday, November 29. The time of the hearing has been moved up to 1:00 P.M. Casey Anthony will be present because, aside from the status hearing, at least one motion will be heard.

Also, the following day, November 30, is an important day for the defense. They are due to turn over their witness list of expert witnesses as well as any reports they have generated. In advance of this date, Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Ashton has filed a Motion to Compel Discovery. Judge Belvin Perry will hear this motion at the hearing.

We are not strangers to Motions to Compel Discovery. Casey Anthony's former attorney, Linda Kenney-Baden filed one on August 20, 2009. After extensive searches, I can't find any active links to the document, but I'm sure you wouldn't want to peruse all 91 pages of it! She wanted everything and the kitchen sink. Jeff Ashton, who is the expert witness attorney for the case, spent a great deal of time working with Ms. Baden to provide her with every item that was discoverable, from bench notes to reports to the curricula vitae of the prosecution experts. One can even read some of their correspondence in the discovery documents. Indeed, many of us have spent hours pouring over the reports and documents released through the Sunshine Laws. Ashton's motion only takes up one page and a bit of a second page and is concise and to the point.

Pursuant to F.R.C. P. 3 220(d) and (f), Ashton asks for:

1. Any contracts or agreements, in any manner or form, setting for(sic) the scope of work or expected compensation.

I expect this section to be a stretch for the defense. Remember when the State asked for the contract between the defense and the Padilla crew? Baez turned over some papers which made very little sense and was asked by the judge to come back to court with the originals. I don't know whether Baez was ever able to do so. I also wonder if he even has agreements with some of his experts in writing. Consider Dr. Lee. I remember him announcing on Nancy Grace that he was doing the case pro bono. Was there a handshake on the deal? Did Lee insist on some sort of contract? If there is a contract, can Baez & Company even locate the original?

2. Any communications between the expert and any member of the defense team, either past or present, or any member of their staff, or any one working on behalf of the Defendant.

I can't wait to see these!

3. All records of bills submitted by or payments made to the expert.

Again, this will be a very touchy issue. Baez and Cheney Mason have been having a hard time keeping up with what time and money has been expended since Casey declared indingency. I am very sure Ashton wants to see every penny spent by and for these experts from the get-go. I would expect to see some strong arguments here from the defense.

4. All records pertaining to payments for travel, meals or entertainment paid to or for the benefit of the expert or anyone traveling with the expert, by and member of the defense team, either past or present, or any member of their staff, or any one working on behalf of the Defendant.

Again, this could prove difficult for the defense to produce. I keep imagining a pile of cardboard boxes piled in a dark corner of the Baez Law Firm office, filled to overflowing with receipts tossed in as they accrue. My advance apologies to the Baez Law Firm if this is not a fact. Perhaps I'm channeling my former life as a temporary office clerk during a summer vacation when I had to sort and organize bills and receipts for a lackadaisical paint company facing an audit...

5. Any notes taken by the expert or for the expert during, or referencing their examination of any evidence in this case.

The State has handed over many such documents and we have read them.

6. Any photograph or video taken by the expert in connection with this case.

This hearkens back to the hearing when Linda Drane Burdick was complaining about lack of discovery from the defense prior to depositions (such as Laura Buchanan's "mystery" document). She used the David Lohr situation as an example. Baez, in high dudgeon, rose to address the Court to state that he had indeed provided discovery. It turned out that he had attached the phone interview transcript with audio to his motion! Drane Burdick said that she had never received the audio.

When arguing for the Dutch DNA experts to be used Baez pointed out that he had attached the curriculum vitae to the motion. In his Order on the motion, Judge Perry noted that:

The defense states that his CV is attached to the Motion as Exhibit A, but there are no attachments to the Motion scanned by the Clerk of Court.

Ashton ends his motion by blocking any objections by the defense about privilege by asking that such items be submitted to the court for in camera inspection.

My friends all laugh at me because I am an eternal optimist. However, as these hearings have gone on, I've lost hope that just ONCE the defense team would come in with neat lists and straight answers. Even so, I do hope that the defense will come in, give their current status in a succinct manner, argue with reason their points on the motion and then fully comply with the judge's orders with all the information they have been required to turn over to the State... just call me a dreamer!

By the way, there are two other motions that have been filed by the defense since the State offered this one. At this point, we don't know if they will be heard on Monday. I'm in the process of doing my homework on them and will write more tomorrow!

In the meantime, I'll look forward to seeing you in court Monday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Caylee Anthony Justice: Catching Up

November 18, 2011

WFTV has posted the hearing.

WESH has reported that Judge Belvin Perry has approved the DNA testing at the Pennsylvania labs.

During the hearing, Baez claimed that none of the state labs were certified The American Society of Crime Lab Directors. Brad Bischoff, representative for the JAC, could not confirm that any of the labs JAC lists as vendors are confirmed by ASCLAD.

Judge Belvin Perry said since the court had agreed that the items needed to be tested by an ASCLAD lab, he granted Baez's request to send the items to a lab in Pennsylvania called National Medical Services and spend the money on the testing.

As far as Laura Buchanan's deposition yesterday, WFTV posted the following article yesterday afternoon.

WFTV reporter Kathi Belich was the only one there when Buchanan was questioned Wednesday and her lawyer said she has no idea exactly where Caylee was found. He said if prosecutors show her a map and ask if she had searched specific locations in the woods off Suburban Drive, she'd be able to tell them.

Buchanan showed up Wednesday for a second round of questioning under oath by prosecutors after calling in sick last time and then getting a new lawyer. Now, she's under investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Office for allegedly faking a document claiming she and other volunteers searched right where Caylee Anthony's remains were found three months earlier, and found nothing.

Buchanan is also accused by another volunteer of using the bogus report to try to convince him to go along with her story.


I've followed many trials over the years, beginning with the OJ Simpson trial. I learned over the years to expect long period of "quiet time" between the crime and the trial. Back in July, 2008, I expected that there would be long periods of silence punctuated by occasional news as to the progress in the case. Boy, was I wrong! Due to a great deal of bizarre behavior on the parts of many people involved in the case and the Florida Sunshine Laws, following the Casey Anthony murder case can be a full time job.

This week has proven to be quiet, but interesting. On Monday and Tuesday, the defense team and PI's were at the court house going through TES records and doing some phone-fishing. From what I've read at several sites makes my blood boil. People who were not even near Suburban Drive are being called. I have to wonder what Judge Perry will think about another fishing expedition after the last hearing when he said that the taxpayers of Florida would not be paying for fishing expeditions.

Today, TES searcher Laura Buchanan is scheduled for a deposition in Orlando with her new Florida attorney. I have it on good authority that by going to Orlando for the deposition, she will have automatic "use immunity" for whatever she says. How many of you feel as I do? I so want to be the fly on that proverbial wall. As of now, she has been the only person who has been mentioned by the Baez camp as supporting their contention that the area was dry, searched, and no body was there. Her previous deposition had to be stopped because of a suspicious document faxed to the State's Attorneys Office which was not among the original TES documents.

Tomorrow, there is a telefonic hearing at 1:30 PM in Judge Perry's courtroom. Up for discussion is the cost of DNA testing scheduled to be done in Pennsylvania. Apparently, when Judge Perry approved the testing, the JAC was not noticed (Doesn't this seem to happen a lot in this case?).

Thanks again to Muzikman, we have all the documentation for the hearing. With the documentation comes confusion. At the September 28 hearing (remember, the one with all the headaches), Judge Perry approved the testing of the shorts and the laundry bag the following day:

Judge Perry ruled that the evidence will be sent to National Medical Services, Criminalistics Laboratory in Willow Grove, Pa. According to the Orlando Sentinel, both parties have agreed to using this lab.

Somewhere else in the hearing, there was mention made of testing hair samples. Judge Perry indicated that Baez had to get the defendant to sign the stipulation asap.

Now, WESH is reporting that the hearing tomorrow will deal with the hair testing. Yet, in going back, there are also the shorts and the laundry bag. None of this information got to the JAC. So, the question is, what items are include in the motion? They are never specifically named, it just says "two items".

In the JAC response, which is included in the above document link, Bradley Bischoff objects to the items (whatever they are) being sent to an out-of-state lab.

If televised, this hearing will be a difficult one to follow since both Bischoff and Baez will be calling into court. I'll be checking it out!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Natalee Holloway's Remain's Found?

There are some brief reports being released that a jaw bone (or portions of a jaw bone?) were found washed up on a beach where Natalee Holloway was last seen. "Bone material" has been sent to the National Forensics Institute in the Hague, Netherlands by the Aruba prosecutor's office where it will undergo analysis to first determine if it is human. If the material is human, it could take up to a week to attempt to develop a DNA profile.

If, (and that's a big if at this point) this piece of bone is indeed Natalee Holloway, would this "finally" be the evidence Aruba authorities would need to charge Joran van der Sloot with her murder? Hopefully, we will have some news next week.

As many of you know, Joran is in a Peruvian prison awaiting trial in the murder of Stephany Flores.