January 26 was the deadline for Jose Baez and his fellow defense team members to file all the expert reports ordered under sanction by Judge Belvin Perry.
Foolish me, I expected that Mr. Baez would have gotten the message Judge Perry sent and get the long over-due reports in. It didn't happen. Instead, Baez filed a Motion For Extension Of Time To Comply With Order For Expert Witness Reports! Later the same day, he filed a Notice of Unavailability for February 21-25.
Notable is the fact that notice states that
2. The undersigned request that no appointments, mediations, depositions, conferences, hearings or other legal proceedings be scheduled during that time.
I find it interesting that the "undersigned" is initialed as "WCS", and the names of Jose Baez, Michelle Medina, and William C. Slabaugh follow the signature.
Given that Monday, February 21 is a Federal Holiday, that leaves 4 work days during the month the State is supposed to be doing depositions. Their current deadline is February 28. The defense obviously feels that Judge Perry will willingly grant their 45 day extension and everybody else will have to stop working the case while he and his staff are "otherwise occupied". Casey Anthony has three other outstanding attorneys who could pitch in for 4 days! Why can't Cheney Mason, Ann Finnell, or Dorothy Sims take care of depositions? I would think Ms. Sims would want to be there anyway, since they are expert witness depositions.
As I've been contemplating the motion for the extension of the deadline, I've been listening to the January 3 hearing in which Judge Perry ruled with the State for sanctions. Baez & Co. managed to delay further by filing a Motion for Reconsideration. That motion dragged the issue out until January 20, when Perry made his ruling denying it.
With this background, it is astounding that the defense has not fully complied with the judge's order.
In the motion, Baez indicates that the defense has "...made a good faith effort to comply" with the January 6 order. Another phrase used to describe compliance is that they have "substantially complied in part...".
At this point in time, the defense has supplied the reports of Dr. Jan (sic) Bock, Dr. Kenneth Furton, Richard Eiklenboom (sic), Dr. Timothy Huntington, and Dr. Scott Fairgrieve.
Among the missing are reports from:
Dr. Henry Lee -- he will not be called as a witness
Dr. Michael Freemen -- withdrawn from the defense witness list
Dr. Leeson -- will only consult with the defense
Dr. Werner Spitz -- is not available (while the defense put this under seal, it is widely known Dr. Spitz has had surgery and is recuperating) He also has been on the case from the discovery of the remains and did his "autopsy" two years ago. He should have already written a report!
Dr. Barry Logan -- the defense "anticipates" compliance, but they haven't been able to get him on the phone lately
Dr. Bill Rodriguez -- has not yet had the opportunity to review all the information as he was recently retained
Dr. Kathy Reichs -- is traveling and needs more time (although she has been on the case from the beginning).
Baez again cites financial reasons for all these experts not having the opportunity to meet together to "properly consult with and furnish all information needed, in order for them to reach well-informed opinions." Hello, what ever happened to Skype and all sorts of teleconferencing media?
Also, Baez actually puts the blame on the Court for ordering that precludes "testimony that is not either in reports or disclosed in deposition".
The kicker here is that Baez tells the court that he will have a "unique opportunity" to meet with, "Reichs and Rodriguez prior to them rendering their opinions as they may have additional opinions after review of additional material."
Could it be that Mr. Baez has asked for 45 days so that he can travel to Chicago where these two experts will be attending the Forensic Sciences Annual Meeting?
Now, I would love to know how the State is going to reply to this astonishingly audacious document. Will they file an objection? Will they file another motion for sanctions? Will they file a motion for both?
Regardless of what they do, the defense is fighting tooth and nail to avoid completing discovery in accordance with the court rulings and in spite of having already been sanctioned.
Jeff Ashton must be very hot under the collar about this and I'm sure he's conferring with his superiors up the chain of command on how to handle this situation. A beautifully crafted reply takes time and effort to create. I'm just anxious to see it!
I don't even want to think of what Judge Perry is thinking. He will start this trial on time in spite of the devious defense tactics. Will there be sanctions? Will the defense be held in contempt?
Stay tuned for the next chapter of this saga.
Just in! News 13 has just put up a short article about tomorrow's document dump. It seems there will be a lot of information about the investigation of Laura Buchanan. I hope they are right on this. The whole nasty TES situation has been one of my major complaints in this case.
I'm glad we are having a snowy weekend. I can spend my "snow days" reading!