WFTV has posted the video!
If any of the attorneys (I'll leave you to guess which ones) involved in the Casey Anthony murder trial thought they could let deadlines slip, they were sorely mistaken. Judge Belvin Perry made it abundantly clear that there will have to be a very compelling reason for there to be any changes to the deadlines he has set. He has prepared all the attorneys for the fact that, if the work can't be accomplished during the day, it will be accomplished at night.
Jury selection for the trial will begin on May 9, 2011, and the trial itself will begin on May 16, 2011 in the Orange County Courthouse.
Perry entered the courtroom promptly at 1:30 PM. Court was called for order and the attorneys introduced themselves, with the exception of Cheney Mason. Perry made light of that and joked for a moment with the defense attorney, asking "Where is Mr. Mason?"
He then passed out agendas for the hearing stating what was to be discussed and in what order.
Perry then commented that this was an important day because tomorrow, August 31 is the deadline for witness lists to be submitted.
The first item on the agenda was concerning the depositions by expert witnesses listed by the State of Florida. The deadline for these depositions is September 30, 2010.
Jose Baez then spoke to the issue. He stated that he had numerous scheduled and a handful to be scheduled which he hoped to have by the deadline. He explained that he had compiled a chart for His Honor. Unfortunately, there is some work product on the right. Judge Perry simply stated, "then I don't want it...". Hello! couldn't Baez have made a copy of the chart and covered the work product for the judge?
Baez then paused for a while to look over his papers. Judge Perry then asked Baez which experts had not been scheduled yet. Baez read over his list and gave about 9 or 10 names. He wasn't sure if he was going to depose someone who did peer review or a took mark expert concerning the bullet found on Suburban drive.
Judge Perry than asked for a response from the State. Jeff Ashton pointed out that Neil Haskell (entomologist), Dr. Warren, and Dr. Schultz (forensic anthropologist) had not been scheduled and that if the defense didn't want to depose them, it was fine with him!
Baez then provided the Judge and the State with a copy of his list and went on to explain his rather complicated color coding scheme. I'll spare you the details on that! I did notice that Jeff Ashton didn't bother to take notes about the color code, anyway.
After that, Perry stated that the "Pumpkin Time is the 30th of September for defense to take these depositions. The deadline will not be extended without good cause. I'm thinking that with Judge Perry at the helm, it would have to be a VERY good cause.
Jeff Ashton then rose to state that certain depositions they had done were completed in April, not in May as Baez had previously stated. He then stood there, looking to me as though he were showing off to the teacher how good a boy he was today. Judge Perry rewarded him with two words... "That's good."
Then, Jose Baez stated he had some "issues" he would like to bring to the court's attention in reference to the deadlines. It seems that the state had listed an additional 60-70 witnesses and released 8000 more documents. He said he also received new documents on a disk today, with how many pages of information he did not know, and the State had added 13 new witnesses to their list today. He pointed out that they were working as efficiently and expeditiously as possible, but with all this new information, the odds of the defense meeting the deadline were 50/50.
Perry responded by indicating paragraph 3 of his order, that all witnesses other than experts and law enforcement were to be completed by tomorrow, August 31. All other witnesses must be listed by October 30.
Judge Perry indicated that if there were good cause with these 60 new witnesses, he would consider expanding the deadline for "those witnesses and those witnesses alone". Perry then went on to say that they have to "wrap it up and play with the team players". Continuing on with the football analogy, he said that "the roster must be set unless it's not under the control of either side". If there were to be newly discovered evidence, they would deal with it.
Judge Perry pointed out that the magic date to have all the information in is February 28, to allow the attorneys to prepare for trial. For that reason, he is being very strict about the deadlines now.
Baez then had a second "issue". He said that he is receiving discovery that dates as far back as 2008. He indicated that he was receiving discover about people he had already deposed (and would possibly have to go back and depose them again. Baez said that this was an ongoing problem and that they needed to turn discovery over to him as they got it. He also claimed that this evidence was in the hands of the State's attorneys and LE in 2008 and he was just receiving it. He rambled on and on about various items of discovery and then started to say something about his renewed notices of objection when Judge Perry stopped him and said, "We're not going to talk about that now."
At that point, the judge asked the State to answer Baez' concerns.
Linda Drane-Burdick pointed out that there were three issues that Baez had mentioned. She's a better note-taker than I am! Then, she explained the situation for each.
1. Dominic Casey e-mails
The State was not provided these e-mails by Dominic. Casey, came through someone who sent them to someone who game them to the State. The files were cumbersome to read, and once they were organized and printed out in order, they were given to Mr. Baez.
2. Letters people wrote to Casey in jail
The State received them in June. They had to be scanned and organized and sent to Baez. When Judge Perry asked how long it took, Drane-Burdick indicated that the scanning took a full week.
3. Erica Gonzalez, who had a conversation with Casey on July 15, 2008. She apparently claimed to have heard Caylee's voice in the background.
Ms. Gonzalez's phone number had appeared on the phone records. She was located in Oviedo. in June or July, Yuri Melich took her statement and the transcript should have the date the statement was taken.
Drane-Burdick stated her goal was to give the material to Baez in an organized manner so it is easier for Baez to go through them.
Judge Perry then said that he reminded the State to go through all law enforcement records. He stated that he's quite sure they'll do that at some point. He indicated that "This case must come to an end at some point".
In response, Drane-Burdick told the judge that she spent all day, August 25, at the sheriff's office. She went through Yuri Melich's files and found 300-400 pages to give to the defense. They included bank records of no significance to case. At this point, the only thing left to do is to go through Melich's laptop to see if there is any information there.
Judge Perry then asked if the defense experts had finished the evidence review. He pointed out the deadline is October 31. Baez said that they weren't done, but that he expects to be done by the 31st.
Baez has agreed with Ashton to send certain things to their entomologist and hair slides to an expert. There is one disagreement concerning DNA testing of one item. He said he would be planning to file a motion about it.
Jeff Ashton indicated that the defense had yet to designate the specific number's of the items to be sent. He also said that he had no objection to the DNA testing, which has already has been done by FBI. The State insisted the testing would have to be done at an ASCLAD lab in the US, not to the Netherlands as the defense wants.
Baez spoke briefly about the judge allowing the cost of this testing and said the Dutch specialists would work pro bono.
Judge Perry responded to all of this by telling the attorneys that all new motions will be heard in 15 days. He doesn't want any motion filed that will not be heard in 15 days, he doesn't want the court file to be cluttered. I know my files are cluttered with motions from 2009! Perry said that, if his court calendar was full, he'd be willing to hear the motions at 5 or 6 PM. He tells them to bring their lunch and goes on to say they will have to work evenings and weekend if that is what it takes to get the job done! Judge Perry is on a read time-line-tear! He reminds me of some teachers I know who will tell everybody to behave if even ONE person is misbehaving! Do we have to guess much to whom he is addressing these comments?
Judge Perry then said that the defense deadline to list their expert witnesses and have their reports completed is November 30.
Jeff Ashton indicated he would like to start the depositions of the defense experts already listed, but there are no reports yet and he doesn't know if the defense will use these experts. He also pointed out that he was unclear if the latest defense witness was the entire list or if it was in addition to the previous list. He pointed out that, there is no forensic botanist on it.
Jose Baez stated that this list complies with the August 31 deadline but that hasn't gotten the expert witness list done yet. He points out that he still has time to do this.
Judge Perry said that he wouldn't rush anyone, but would hold them to the deadlines. If Baez had any experts ready to be deposed, it would be a good idea to let the State know about them.
He stated that the only other deadline they may have to adjust is the one dealing with the motions about forensic evidence. He warned the State that their deadline for hearing the objections is the 28th. Again, Perry mentions bringing some food to dine on for any evening sessions!
Linda Drane Burdice then asked if there is a deadline for evidence. She has a similar problem with the defense and tangible evidence, video depositions, and interviews. She was concerned that the State will have to wait for the information until just before trial when the defense decides whether or not they're going to use a witness.
Judge Perry then discussed exhibits for the trial. He said that they come in in two places, at deposition and at trial. He continued saying that if there are such things that they could be using at a hearing or the trial, is there a deadline for that?
Baez told the judge that they are so tied up in meeting deadlines, ...wants the Judge to... mumble, mumble, mumble, whine, whine whine. I could not take notes fast enough to keep up with this!
You get the gist of it all!
Linda Drane Burdick then got up and spoke to the problem that the State is having due to lack of information from the defense team. She stated that at the Laura Buchanan deposition, they had TES records, and Ms. Buchanan, who was in New Jersey, had a THIRD document in her possession that Mr. Mason said he didn't it. The document had to be faxed and when she compared it to TES documents in her possession, it showed that this witness had a document they didn't have. I do believe this may be the document whose authenticity is in question.
When the document was faxed, it had a sticky note on it that said, "From Laura to Mort." In addition, there was a similar situation with aerial photographs. Since the prosecutors had not been provided with documents to study prior to the deposition, they had to adjourn and reschedule this deposition.
Judge Perry responded to this situation by stating that there are remedies for "Trial by Ambush". Excluding the evidence is one of them.
Judge Perry again mentioned the importance of doing things right and on time. He invoked what he called the 24 hour rule, "How much time you get to sleep at night, it's strictly on you!" He also said he had little sympathy for game playing.
Perry then said that he would fashion something to remedy the situation and will send them all a draft for comments and then finalize it with a ruling. It sounds like Ms. Drane Burdick and her team will not be forced to go into depositions or trial without all pertinent evidence.
The next topic was the September 3 deadline for depositions of all law enforcement. Baez said he thinks he will able to comply. He even indicated that the 35 people scheduled for September 3, have very minor rolls in the case.
Linda Drane Burdick indicated that the subpoenas sent out for these depositions were all sent out saying that 18 members of law enforcement should appear at 9 AM and the other 17 after lunch. She pointed out that there are individuals on medical leave, holiday leave, Labor Day Weekend. She pointed out that with this schedule, there would be no more than 10 to 15 minutes per deposition. Any people who had more information to give would have to show up and then be rescheduled.
Judge Perry began with the famous bear in mind, you don't want me setting your depositions, evenings, Saturdays, and gave the parties till Friday to have set deposition scedules.
Linda Drane Burdick simply commented, "See how it goes!"
Cheney Mason then got up and told the judge that the overwhelming majority of the depositions would last five minutes! He said that he asked the State to designate A,B,C witnesses. They didn't. He then read aloud the notice he sent along with the subpoenas to them to contact them if they couldn't comply. He claimed that only two people had contacted him. Then, as if answering direct challenge to his expertise, that "if 30 show up, I'll do 30 depositions".
Finally, Judge Perry discussed the pending motions. He said that some may be moot. He wanted the attorneys to let him know within three weeks which are moot, ruled on, or set for hearings.
He also thanked Linda Drane Burdick for compiling a comprehensive list of motions.
There was a bit of discussion about the motion on behalf of Orlando Sentinel to intervene in theseries of defense objections filed last week, those are the "abuse of ch. 119.01" ones.
Perry indicated that he interpreted them as simply filing these as a standing objection and did not want the court to rule.
Baez said that he was correct, they are simply protecting the record.
Perry pointed out that he's a judge, not a legislator. His remedy for too much pre-trial publicity is the motion for change of venue which he has said they will have.
He said that the media will be the last to know where the jurors will come from. He said he would consider having the parties (media outlets) sign confidentiality agreements, otherwise, he would only give them 30 minutes notice so that they couldn't cover the proceedings. Baez said he would have suggested 10 minutes.
Cheney Mason told the judge that he doesn't want the record to only reflect that change of venue is the only method to remedy the issue of excessive publicity.
Then Judge Perry asked the dreaded question, "Anything else?".
Jose Baez started to rise to speak, but Linda Drane Burdick beat him in addressing the judge. Her concern was the May 9 trial date. She indicated that she wanted to issue subpoenas well ahead of time. She asked if she should issue them for the 9th or some other day.
Judge Perry said that jury selection will start on the 9th"some place". The trial itself will start on May 16, at the Orange County courthouse.
Drane Burdick then brought up the "one witness per one attorney" which I assume is the practice in Florida courts. She also asked if attorneys could split the closing argument. Apparently, this is not typical in Florida. She said she wanted to consider the judge's views in her trial preparation. As an example she gave the example of Linda Kenney Baden doing the science part of a closing.
She asked if Court was opposed to this practice as it's not the protocol.
Judge Perry stated that he wasn't for or against it. As long as there is a line of demarcation between material and stay within the time frame, he wouldn't be opposed to that.
At first glance, Jose Baez said he had no objections.
The judge then reminded the defense team that they had depositions to do and sent them on their way.
All in all, the best part of this hearing was Judge Perry's constant reminders that time was of the essence here and that working hours would have to expand to meet the demand. This is something the defense really needs. Too much time has been wasted.
I also like how the State's Attorneys were constantly egging the defense on by talking about wanting to get their subpoenas out early, how they wanted to do depositions YESTERDAY. The only question I have is, did the defense get the message loud and clear?
After the hearing, the defense team had more business. It's not what I reported... here's a snippet from WESH:
Newly appointed Magistrate James Glatt set Oct. 4 and 5 for dates when the defense will get to look at Equeesearch records.
Anthony defense attorney Jose Baez reiterated allegations at the hearing that NeJame is only representing Equusearch for media coverage.
NeJame then told Cheney Mason, another member of the Anthony defense team, that Baez is a liar and incompetent.
“I believe your partner is not only a liar but incompetent,” NeJame said to Mason. “I'm going to say this in light of what he said to me -- he made up complete and total fabrications.”
Baez said he would not respond to NeJame’s comments.