Monday, December 20, 2010

Casey Back In Court: Judge Reserves Ruling

This was a short hearing concerning the defense's desire to keep the mitigation witness list under seal until there is a necessity to use is (read: if Casey is found guilty). Attorney Ann Finnell quickly argued her motion to the court. Her main points were that:

The Florida Sunshine laws gives court right to seal documents when there is a compelling need to do so.

The amount of publicity already generated by this case has denied Casey a trial by her peers in Orange County. The jurors will come from another county. (It sounded to me as though a change of venue was a type of denial of rights.)

These witnesses are for the penalty phase only. There are unique issues which are not relevant to guilt / not guilty part of trial.

Releasing the list would cause undue pre-penalty phase publicity which could in turn taint the jury pool during the innocence/guilt phase.

Any potential penalty phase witnesses who know their names will be publicized may refuse to participate in the penalty phase should the need arise. They would be fearful for themselves and their families.

She then returned to the fact that it is the burden of the court to minimize pretrial publicity is on the shoulders of the judge. (And not the publicity hungry attorneys and family of the accused?)
A prejudice has to be shown. It is the defense's burden to prove. Pre-trial publicity isn't enough. Others have been denied.

Orlando Sentinel attorney Rachel Fugate then spoke to her motion. She indicated that a prejudice has to be shown and that it is the defense's burden to prove. Pre-trial publicity isn't enough to seal the list. She also pointed out that other such motions in this case have been denied.

At this point, Jose Baez made his move. He stood up and objected that the cameras should not photograph Casey passing notes to him! Judge Perry slammed him down by pointing out he did not have the floor! Ann Finnell quickly objected and the judge overruled the objection. Back to business!

(This is the Belvin Perry I saw in a recent trial on InSesssion. He caught the legal no-no and quickly dealt with it. I fear his patience with Mr. Baez is wearing thin at this point. Jose needs to go back and read the book on court etiquette over the break in court activities over the holidays.)

Back to Ms. Fugate who rapidly composed herself and continued her argument to the Court.

She argued to the judge that the release of the witness list is of such a nature that it will jeopardize fair trial rights. In addition, it wouldn't taint jury from another county.

She also objected to the "blanket" request. Many of the people on the list have already been publicly identified with the case. The release of their names wouldn't hinder them from coming forward.

Ms. Fugate also stated that if there were individual witnesses who had specific problems being publicly named, the judge could review the issue in camera.

Ms. Finnell then made a few comments. She indicated that some of the witnesses have said they don't want to come forward because they are fearful for themselves and their family. She also said that Ms. Fugate hasn't made a good legal case.

As Ann Finnell was making her last statements, Casey stared steadily at her as she kept saying such phrases as "death penalty" and "penalty phase".

Judge Perry stated he was going to reserve his ruling. Let's hope we get an order sometime later in the week.

With the motion heard, Judge Perry announced that the January 10 hearing will have to be changed to January 14 as he will be out of town.

With the usual, "anything else?", Baez mentioned something about a sidebar ruling that was sealed and the three attorneys present (Ashton, Baez, Finnell) went to the bench for a brief conference.

Judge Perry then brought up the Roy Kronk motion again. Baez indicated that he had up until December 31st to decide. The judge gave him a look and pointed out in very vivid language that hadn't planned to be in court this week and he WOULD NOT be in court next week at all! The end result is that if Baez wants this motion heard, it would seem to be December 23, probably at 5 PM. That was Baez' second "reality check" of the day.

Jeff Ashton had a few issues, but indicated he'd be more than willing to meet at 5 PM to take care of them. He did mention that Dr. Henry Lee, the defense trace evidence expert refuses to be deposed by the State until he gets his money from the JAC. Judge Perry mentioned that he thought Lee might not testify at the trial. All Baez could say was that he would take care of it! (Like he takes care of everything else?) It would seem that Dr. Lee, who, according to a statement way back when said he was working pro-bono, is holding his participation in the case hostage for his money, not a crate of oranges as mentioned at the original JAC hearing by Cheney Mason.

With that, the hearing was over and the courtroom quickly cleared.

If, indeed, this is the last hearing of the year, let's hope 2011 moves along smoothly with "Perry's Rules" going into full play.

Watch the hearing HERE.


FRG said...


Thanks for the article!

AF is "b-o-r-i-n-g"! CM and her in trial, what a pair! Then you add smirky JB! Geesh!

I still don't see the relevance in sealing the mitigation witness list. If anybody would like to help KC (did I just say that?) they would. I believe this is just a waste of time's court.

Why didn't JB fill out Mr. Kronk's Motion? I see things are going downhill fast. So, will JP hear that Motion on Dec 23?

Although I see KC's interest when AF was arguing her Motion, she seems very relaxed, like she was at a pub, no real concerns. Cindy and KC have no sense of reality! Like mother like daughter! Delusional!

Dr. Lee, what happened to the price of box of oranges? $8,000 are pricey. LOL

No George, no CM today!

I personally don't think it is right to seal the witness list because of what defense has done to Mr. Kronk and TES searchers! They are KC's and the Anthony's family victims. Oh well!

iwishiwas said...

At 10:11 into todays raw video of the hearing, Ann Finnell prompts Jose with a micro chin jut and double hand flash... the little show of objecting was her idea, not his. That, to me, changes everything. Also, notice how Casey sits closer to AF and JB is distanced.

Katprint said...

Baez' response to Judge Perry asking whether the defense had abandoned their motion re Kronk's prior bad acts - LOL! Translated from legalese to plain English: The dog ate my homework, judge. I was planning to wait to file my motion until the day last day it could be heard then claim it was an emergency.

I have seen many judges with signs on their clerks' desks that say "Procrastination on your part does not create an emergency on my part" or words to that effect.

Poor Ms. Finnell! It's like the defense said to her, "You know that sow's ear that we wanted you to make into a silk purse? Well, it turns out that the dog ate that sow's ear and now it's just a steaming pile of poop so let's see what you can do with that." So Ms. Finnell valiantly soldiers on, arguing about the ADDITIONAL prejudice resulting from outing the defense witnesses like the unfortunate prosecution witnesses have been outed by the defense team taking its show on the talk show circuit while simultaneously dispelling any illusions that Casey might actually have some viable defense. (My deepest sympathies to TonE and Jesse Grund and Richard Grund and Amy and Roy Kronk and everyone else that the toxic Anthonys have tried to throw under the bus.) I'm thinking the judge isn't going to gag ONLY one side but not the other.

donchais said...


The picture you used looks like Finnell is thinking, 'geez, what the hell am I doing here?'

ritanita said...

FRG, it is going to be a long trial! At least then there will be witnesses to break up the lawyers' talking.

As for sealing the witness list, I really don't care one way or another. However, if the defense has chosen to run George and Cindy under the bus at that phase, some family members and old friends from Ohio may just not want to be a part of it.

Iwishiwas, I went back and looked. You're right! I'm wondering if, upon seeing that they were in the smaller courtroom and on the same side as the camera, Baez told Finnell about the time the cameraman zoomed in on Casey's notes.

In that case, a better objection would have been to ask the judge to order the cameraman not to zoom in on the notes! Fact is, that only happened ONCE because Strickland banned the camera to the back of the courtroom for the next hearing.

Katprint, I loved that part so much as well. Thank you so much for the superior description of the whole situation.

Donchais, thanks for noticing...