Saturday, December 11, 2010

Casey Anthony's Last Minute Hearing: Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. Rules!

December 13, 2010

Judge Perry's Order granting the State's motion for Clarification is now available. It's a good read.

Also, the Clerk of the Court has listed a telephonic hearing for tomorrow, December 14 at 4 PM. Since it is a telephonic conference, I going out on a limb and guess it could be with the JAC concerning Baez' request for more investigative funds and an expert in tapophony.

I won't be around at that time tomorrow, but I will report on it if there is a video posted later as with the last telephonic hearing.

Just recently, WESH has put up an article with some of the details.

Again, muito obrigada to FRG

Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. was none to happy with the defense yesterday when presiding at the 5 PM hearing concerning reciprocal discovery by the defense. In the picture to the left, he has just glanced at the Baez e-mails and heard from the "for all intents and purposes" lead attorney that yes, indeed, his response to the Court's order the court's order had been the series of e-mails.

This hearing was a culmination of a series of events. On November 19, Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Ashton filed a Motion To Compel Additional Discovery. The motion was heard at the hearing on November 29. As a result, Judge Perry ruled that day and also issued an Order Addressing Motions To Compel Additional Discovery And Other Discovery Matters on December 3. The pertinent part of the ruling for this hearing was:

...Defendant shall also provide to the State a list of the Defendant's experts and shall include the subject matter as to what the experts will testify to and the area of expertise for each expert.

Jose Baez took this to mean that he could fire off an "amended" e-mail of the witness list to Jeff Ashton containing sophomoric comments such as, "YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS ALREADY".

On December 1, Jeff Ashton fired back a Motion For Clarification/To Compel Compliance With Order For Additional Discovery. He thoughtfully included the e-mails between himself and Baez (unfortunately redacted).

Since the prosecution needs to do the depositions of the expert witnesses by the end of January, time is very much of the essence, hence the Friday, 5 PM hearing.

Once the hearing had been called to order, the judge called upon Jeff Ashton to argue his motion.

Ashton responded by reading the judge's ruling (first oral, then written) concerning the information the State was to receive from the defense. He then stated he had received the initial partial compliance on Wed. Dec. 1, in the form of an e-mail.

Judge Perry interrupted briefly to ask if the reply was in the form of a pleading or an e-mail Ashton replied that it was in the form of an e-mail. He said that the e-mails contained general area of expertise for some and some more vague. When he asked the defense was going to comply with the order, he received a reply which indicated that Baez wasn't about to comply with any meaningful information. He stressed that he had about seven weeks to complete the depositions and one was already scheduled for next week.

This first deposition is set for the forensic anthropologist Dr. Scott Fairgrieve next week. Mr. Baez has listed him as possibly testifying about canines if there is a hearing. (Talk about vague!) Ashton also pointed out that he had done what research he could and had found Dr. Fairgrieve did not seem to have a background in "canines".
To further complicate issue, Ashton pointed out that the deadline for filing motions on scientific issues requiring testimony was November 30 and no motions had been filed yet, making the prosecution doubly prejudiced.

Ashton mention a Dr. Freeman, a forensic epidemiologist and there are no such issues involved in the case. Furthermore, Freeman wants to charge $575 an hour for his deposition! Ashton stated that he didn't want to pay this person $575 an hour to fish around to find out if he had anything to offer.

In Baez' last e-mail, he admitted to giving the State only what they already knew.

Ashton closed out his argument by asking the Court that, if Baez hadn't complied fully with the ruling, to clarify what the defense must turn over. He had thought the judge meant a "brief summary" of the testimony. However, he is willing to abide by Judge Perry's decision.

Baez then opened his arguments by stating that he doesn't know why they are here! Ashton already knows what they will testify to and all he needed to do was call if he needed more information. Baez even admitted that, when Ashton wasn't satisfied with the information he'd been given, he "filled in some more of the blanks"! (Gee, I didn't know that "Discovery" was a fill -in-the-blank game.) He also said he gave more information about what they MAY testify to!

In a sense, Baez was using Cheney Mason's "you-trust-me-don't-you?" game. Baez seems to think it fine just to "fill-in-the-blanks" over the phone. (At this time, it sounded like the defense was at a gaming convention versus a court of law!)

Baez sounds full of umbrage that, instead of playing the "phone-fill-in-the-blank-game", Ashton
instead he filed a motion. According to Baez, this hearing is "taking up their time" hearing this motion and they are not "here to hide anything". Baez also said that the court had "thrown them a bone" by even requiring the defense to tell them the subject matter the expert witnesses were going to testify to.

At this point, Baez went off-track to refer to the fact that they didn't receive such information about the 350 "ordinary" witnesses. (Personally, I have to wonder if the defense spent as much time poring over the discovery from the State as many of us did.)

Baez summarized that this was a "huge waste of time" and could have been resolved with a "simple" phone call from Mr. Ashton. Short of a "script", Baez would be glad to TELL Mr. Ashton what he needs to know. In frustration, Baez slapped the e-mail motion down, calling it "nonsense".

Some unfortunate choice of verbiage by Mr. Baez here. He's starting to sound like his client!

At this point in the hearing, Judge Belvin Perry slowly, but steadily made Mr. Baez aware of how NOT "nonsense" all this was. (Slightly edited for length)

Perry: How many experts does the State of Florida list, Mr. Baez?

Baez: Approximately 20.

Perry: How many reports have been turned over to you?

Baez: Approximately 12, there are some who have not written reports. About half.

Perry: How many experts have you listed"

Baez: 13

Perry: And how many reports did your experts author?

Baez: None. One has recently submitted an affidavit which I will be attaching to a motion.

The judge then asked Mr. Ashton if he agreed with what Baez had said. Ashton disagreed He said that any expert who will render an opinion on the basis of analysis has written a report. He also said that some people listed as "experts" were not involved in analyzing the evidence and would therefore not write a report.

The judge then did a question-answer sequence with the State and the defense.

Perry: Oh what date was the defendant indicted for murder in the 1st degree, Mr. Ashton?

Ashton: Oh boy, I think it was October 12, 2008, I could be wrong on the date....

Judge: And Mr. Baez, on what date did you file your motion for discovery?

Baez: (Unintelligible after any number of reruns)

Judge Perry indicated that discovery has been going on from 2008 through 2009 and now 2010.
He pointed out that there is a a trial date that is quickly approaching. Then, he got down to his ruling:

Perry ordered that where experts have not prepared reports, or reports on their examination or tests, BOTH sides will provide:

Curriculum vitae, qualifications of expert
Field of expertise or medical specialty
A statement of specific subjects upon which the expert would testify and offer opinions
The substance of the facts to which the expert is expected to testify
A summary of the expert's opinion and grounds of each opinion

The deadline for the majority are due by December 23, by 3 PM.

For the two depositions to be taken next week (Fairgrieve, Bock), next Tuesday by noon.

At this point the judge raises his voice to say:

It is to be filed by a pleading in court.

The judge asked if there was anything else. It was at this point that Jeff Ashton added the name of Dr. Bock, the botanist to the deposition schedule for next week.

For once, Baez had nothing more to say.

Judge Perry then told everyone that his ruling would be available in half an hour. Jeff Ashton said he'd be happy to receive it by e-mail.

A number of articles in the MSM have written article about how the judge laid down the law to both sides. That's what he always does. However, let's remember that the prosecution has already supplied reports, curriculum vitae, etc. to the defense following Linda Kenney-Baden's motions over a year ago. I know they did because I scrolled through pages and pages of discovery and read some of the reports myself. The prosecution may have a few odds and ends to clear up, but their work has already been done.

As for the defense team, I'm not sure what is going to happen. Sometimes, I wonder if their experts haven't written reports because they haven't found any information to counter the prosecutions' experts. I also wonder if the experts on the defense list who weren't approved by the judge and funded by the JAC are working pro bono.

The good news is, the defense has been given the chance to comply. I can't imagine what Judge Perry will do if they continue to invent new games to play.

One thing is for sure; he defense team would have had to give out a lot less information had they complied in the first place. Let this be ONE lesson Jose Baez and Cheney Mason have learned.

Watch the hearing


Anonymous said...

WOW!...If looks could kill as Judge Perry's eyes are "piercing" to his front left... LMAO!!!

FRG said...


Excellent article, thank you!

Now, fill in the blanks by phone huh? Sounds very unprofessional and disrespectful! What was JB thinking about? All dummy had to do was to comply with the court's order in writing! I can't believe JB said he didn't know what he was doing there and that was a nonsense. What nonsense? Court's order?

Can you imagine to have to deal with JB's BS for over 2 years? I would have choked him already.

Mr. Ashton had no choice but to file a Motion. I have read some comments around the blogosphere that I disagree. JP didn't punish Prosecutors, he has shown how fair he is and he ordered that both sides would have to comply with his order. Prosecutors will not have any problem at all complying with the court's order as you have mentioned, they already have. Now, I find it hard to believe defense's experts haven't produced any report, if they did, great, if they didn't, just thank JB!!!

There is good thing about JB's poor choice of words yesterday... it was recorded for eternity... so we can play it again and again and again... just to have the giggles!! Doesn't JB ever get embarrassed to make a fool of himself? Apparently not.

Judge Perry rocks!!! You go Your Honor!!!

BTW, is CM having fun yet? I know I am. LOL

ritanita said...

Anonymous, Judge Perry does his utmost to not appear to favor one side or another, but his body language says something else.

FRG, There are so many pages of discovery turned over by the State that include all the items Judge Perry asked for. I think the prosecutors might have a bit more, but they will know what they need to submit to the court, if there is anything.

You will notice that when asked if the State had not provided information, Baez mentioned only the "ordinary" witnesses, not the experts.

Judge Perry reminds me more and more of a schoolteacher who will chastise everyone in general rather than pick on a small group of students.

When I taught, I would do this. A couple of students would be talking to each other. Rather than tell those students to be quiet, I would say something like, "I would appreciate it if the classroom were quiet for a moment, there is too much talking going on." It's a polite form of discipline.

Ronni said...

I'm going with the idea that the experts haven't discovered anything helpful to the defense. Baez isn't going to pay for reports unless they help his cause. I'll bet he winds up actually calling few to none of them to testify.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Ronni's comment, something like this happened in Scott Peterson's trial. Michael Baden and Henry Lee were on the defense witness list. They ended up not testifying.

David In TN

Liz said...

It seems Mr Baez found out "why they were there". It will be interesting to read the "court pleading" to see if he took any notice of why they were there.

When Mr Ashton began speaking Baez rolled around in his chair placing his back towards the court and Mr Ashton. Doesn't seem to be the act of a lawyer intent of doing the best for his client. The first indication that Baez realised he may be expected to do something came after the Judge asked as to how any information was received. Suddenly, Baez looked concerned. Watching this hearing without sound is as interesting as listening to it. The body language of all participants is most revealing.

When the Judge was asking questions the jumping up and down appeared to indicate Baez wanted to answer the question addressed to Mr Ashton but as you stated the answer to the question he received was "Unintelligible after any number of reruns"

It could just be that Baez is hoping one of those 13 experts may have an "Aha moment" as per Dr Baden in the Spector trial - otherwise it will be interesting to see if anything of use to the defense will be reported.

Many thanks for your detail - appreciated as always.

Anonymous said...

Too bad for Baez, if he had only complied originally, he would have had to give much less than now ordered. He is truly clueless.

ritanita said...

Anonymous, you are so right!

Do you think Ashton will have much or any work to do to comply? I do believe his work was completed a long time ago.

FRG said...


Thanks for the update!

You are quite welcome (de nada). You are so cute!

I can't wait for the hearing... hopefully no more of our taxpayers' money will be spent on the "fishing expedition"!!

ritanita said...

Well, we'll find out sooner or later. The Taphonomist isn't on the list after all. Just the money for the PI and expenses for experts.

Boa noite!

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,
First of all, I'm not a usual poster but I'm an avid reader - excellent article, as usual. One little thing:
the link to the Court's order did not work when I tried it, I'm including it in this comment:

Not sure if it will post as link or not, if it doesn't, just copy-paste to your browser.

Thank you again for a great article!