Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Moving Along, Casey Anthony's Attorneys Argue The Motions

It's Tuesday, and right now, I imagine that Jose Baez and Cheney Mason are manning the phones, e-mail, and faxes to hurry up their expert witnesses. The problem could just possibly be that their experts have mostly found nothing to counter the prosecution evidence. Perhaps Jose Baez was correct when he said that his experts wouldn't know what to say until they heard the prosecution experts testify at trial. If this is true, we just may see the number of expert witnesses drop in the next week or so.

Then, there's Dr. Lee. Will he be willing to write a report prior to receiving the money he feels is owed him by the JAC? As of now, we have yet to hear if Jose Baez ever turned over Lee's financial records as he promised he would do.

I will admit that, after the first part of the hearing, the other motions sped by so fast, I couldn't take enough notes. So, I've gone back to the video of the hearing to check my facts and organized all the motions. Apologies to you all. I made a mistake when I said that there were two "missing" motions. There is only one, the root growth motion.

Once the sanctions were settled, Judge Belvin Perry immediately began to attack the blizzard of motions filed by the defense. Again, Cheney Mason took the lead in the arguments.

They started with #1 on his list, the motion about telephoto lenses and microphones. There was foreshadowing of this motion at the last hearing when Jose Baez interrupted Rachel Fugate to object to the camera photographing Ms. Anthony passing notes to her attorneys. Reminded of his manners that he was not the one to object at this point, Ann Finnell objected. The judge quickly overruled the objection and allowed Ms. Fugate to continue.

He complained that the still photographer from the Sentinel, Red Huber, had invaded the privacy of the defense team by photographing Casey reading a document. As there were brief pauses in the discussion, you could hear the photographer snapping pictures! When Mason claimed he could read the document, the judge asked if he had a clearer picture than the fuzzy xerox copy attached to the motion. For those of you who haven't seen it, here is the offending picture taken by Mr. Huber for the Orlando Sentinel. Even when I blew the picture up and used a magnifier, I couldn't read a word!

Cheney claimed the use of the telephoto lenses which can photograph the words on documents and notes which would violate Ms. Anthony's right to due process and was "beyond outrageous". He also claimed there was a picture, taken from behind, of Jose Baez sharing a message with his client on his "computer pad".

Mason then went on a tirade about the microphones on the desk, claiming that he'd never realized the defense table was "bugged". He even pointed to a posting on a website where it mentioned that he didn't realize the microphone was on to prove his point. Mr. Mason showed his lack of computer knowledge of the blogosphere by asking if LOL meant "Lots of Luck"! He wanted to have a conversation with the blogger who called him an idiot! Judge Perry shared a smile and a chuckle as Mason said that "they probably don't have the courage to do that".

He didn't even want a microphone on the desk at all because "not one should know whats said at counsel table except counsel and the client". Essentially, he was indicating that the table was a sort of sanctified ground. He told the judge he had the power to avoid a "travesty of justice" by taking the telephoto lens and microphone away!

Finally, Judge Perry interrupted him to ask Mason if he hadn't noticed that the microphone on the table had been modified to have an on/off switch! Instead of holding it down the entire duration of a conversation, he only had to push the button to mute it! The judge also pointed out the practicality. If there were no microphone, if the defense talked from the table, it would be difficult to hear what he was saying due to the bad acoustics in the courtroom.

Judge Perry wasn't buying the argument. He just told Perry to be sure his microphone was turned off. As for the issue of photography, the judge offered to let the defense sit at the desks along the side wall of the courtroom so that nobody could photograph them from behind or read their papers.

I've been reading around a bit and a lot of us bloggers like the idea of the move. Instead of a sideways view during the trial, we would get great head-on shots of the defense and the defense team and Casey would be able to look out into the gallery and also face the jury square on!

The judge said his rules mirrored the rules of law and asked Rachel Fugate to speak to those rules. Ms. Fugate agreed with the judge and stated that there was no violation of attorney-client privilege at all. She pointed out that Mr. Huber and the other media people know the rules and abide by them. They don't want to lose the privilege of documenting the events in the courtroom. She stated she had looked at many photos and saw no violations. As for the audio recordings, it was up to the attorneys to see that private conversations were not made public. (Push the magic button, Mason!) She best summed it up by saying that "this was a motion looking for a problem that simply didn't exist."

Fugate said she wouldn't mind if the judge reiterated the rules, because violations by the media just don't happen.

Mason responded that the media rights in the courtroom were not paramount, Casey Anthony's were. He then said he would take up the judge's offer of the desks at the side of the courtroom. It would be even more convenient because there would be space for the other attorneys on the team. Unfortunately, he ended up by saying that if it didn't work out, he could file a Federal lawsuit! (He's said that before!)

So, telephoto lenses are in and the substance of notes will not be disseminated on the internet and the lawyers will have to be careful to use that on/off switch.

Thankfully, the rest of the motions went very quickly.

Judge Perry approved the payment of the Knoxville transcriptions. I think by this point, he had been worn down by the incessant complaints by Mr. Mason. The judge did warn him to get a contract first, next time.

Item number 3 on Mason's list was the motion about Roy Kronk. Jose Baez was to schedule a hearing for it no later than December 23 but never responded to the judge on that. Mason had asked the judge to rule on it as is. Judge Perry reminded him that he though Mr. Baez was going to abandon it. However, the judge, citing Hitchcock vs. State, essentially tells Mason he will have to turn it down. There isn't even a State response to the motion since it was to be argued in court after all the depositions were taken. Mason said the issue of impeachment of Mr. Kronk would be taken up at trial time, over the objection of the prosecution and if the judge rules in their favor.

Apparently, Linda Drane Burdick had filed some response to some of the motions the morning of the hearing. This made many of the next group of motions move along smoothly.

But before they got to them, the judge mentioned the recent pleading by Mr. Curtis Jackson to be called as a witness to prove Casey's innocence. Mason didn't know about it and Baez seemed to recognize the name. The judge brought it to their attention because he wanted to know if they were aware of it (saves a paragraph in an appeal) and it lightened up the mood in court a bit. What amazed me was how the defense laughed at the idea they might want to consider him a witness!

The next two motions dealt with Casey's "relationships" with Tony Lazzaro and Tony Rusciano.

In Drane Burdicks' reply, she agreed that the State would not go into details about the relationships. She felt there may be some information concerning credibility issues and wanted 15 days to properly respond. She said she wanted the time to introduce case law concerning the use of testimony. The prosecution does agree with the defense's assertion and is aware of how the testimony may be elicited only on cross examination, minus the prurient details.

The judge will rule on these two motions pending her response.

Concerning the motion of the Defendant's Knowledge (Tim Miller), Ms. Drane Burdick stated that she would not ask the witness to speculate and the judge granted the motion.

As to the Shovel issue, Ms. Drane Burdick again wants the judge to allow her 15 days to file a response prior to ruling on the issue.

Ms. Drane stated that she had no interest in introducing the Table Knife and the judge granted the motion.

With the Lying and Stealing Motion, Drane Burdick is well aware of the limitations upon presenting character evidence but again wants 15 days to respond. She also requested time to provide a response to the motion about the tattoo prior to the judge's ruling.

The motion to Suppress Statements Casey made to people the defense considered "agents of the State" will need an evidentiary hearing as will the motion on the Video Footage of Casey in the jail when the remains were found (which will require the testimony of law enforcement personnel).

When Judge Perry asked when he wanted the hearing for these, Mason went on a bit about waiting for replies, etc., etc. The judge said, "I have all the time in the world.".

Linda Drane Burdick pointed out that there would essentially be two kinds of hearing. One type would be the evidentiary hearings which would be relatively simple. The others would be the scientific, for Frye hearings which require much more preparation and witnesses. She suggested have the evidentiary motions within 30 days. There were issues of timing with the defense as the judge gave his open dates. Mason asked the judge to trust him to work out the details with the prosecution.

Mason did make one more statement which the judge didn't take very well. He indicated that for the scientific hearings he wanted "well trained" court reporters. The judge seemed to take umbrage with that, stating that ALL the court reporters were well trained.

Perry did ask if the defense would want to use "Real Time" during the trial. That's where the testimony goes across the screen as it occurs. Mason said he would like to have it and they briefly discussed computer issues. That reminded everyone that the trial itself is fast approaching!

At that point, there was a rather strange situation. Judge Perry said to Cheney Mason that Judge Eaton was leaving and Mason quickly turned around and looked a bit confused. Judge Perry then asked Mason, "What did you do to him?" and Mason replied "We'll find out". When I Googled Eaton's name, I found that he was a newly retired judge from the 18th Judicial Circuit and that "Eaton, 67, of Sanford, became a nationally recognized expert on the death penalty and taught other judges from across the country how to try those cases.".

Next up was the "Jib-Jab" motion. Of course, Ms. Drane Burdick told the judge that they had no intentions of using it at trial and the motion was granted. Drane Burdick had a sort of humorous tone to her response. Since Judge Perry had no idea what the cartoon was, he asked for a copy!

It seems we will not be having the evidentiary hearings about the "Diary of Days" and the "Caylee is Missing" MySpace page. Ms. Drane Burdick again asked for 15 days to reply. The judge again will rule based on the filings.

It was decided that the Decomposition Odor, Chloroform, Post Mortem Hair Banding, Root Growth, and Stain in Trunk motions needed to have Frye hearings. I have yet to find a copy of the Root Growth motion. If anyone out there finds it, please sent me a link at T&T!

There was some confusion over the cadaver dog testimony. Judge Perry had to explain that cadaver dog testimony (or their handlers' testimony) is admissible in court an only needs an evidentiary hearing.

Judge Perry pointed out the "Phantom Heart Sticker" motion and Jose Baez spoke to it briefly. When asked if it was a Frye hearing motion, Baez said it was a difficult question to answer because it was "made up evidence, there is no evidence that there is evidence". Since it wasn't novel science, he decided it must be and evidentiary issue and Jeff Ashton agreed. He said it was a forensic analyst issue and the defense would have to put on appropriate witnesses at hearing.

Judge Perry indicated that the defense had filed a Motion To Suppress statements beyond the deadline (the day of the hearing) and asked if there was any reason he should hear it. Cheney Mason indicated that, with the preparation of all the motions before the holidays, he forgot to dictate it and wrote it up over the holidays and submitted it Monday. He said he would want it heard because it was significantly important. Mason then made an interesting comment. He said that he wanted to suppress the statement taken by LE at Universal Studios because "the defendant was taken into custody and handcuffed and so forth and then taken on a tour and never Mirandized.". (Note, link added)

Muzikman has gotten the latest documents from the court and I don't see it. I'll post all of his latest documents at the end. However, Casey Anthony was not taken into custody on July 16, 2008 and handcuffed prior to her "grand tour". Rather, she went with the detectives voluntarily and even insisted on taking them to her office at Universal where she stopped at the end of the corridor and admitted she didn't work there. She was asked if she wanted to speak to them about it and she agreed. They took her to an empty conference room there and indicated that the door was closed for privacy only and that she could leave at any time. (Updated to add: she was apparently handcuffed for about 10 minutes.)

Go figure where he got those ideas!

Linda Drane Burdick had not seen the motion yet. As Perry was attempting to get a copy of the motion for her, Drane Burdick pointed out that all evidentiary motions were to be filed by November 30. According to her response she had asked that the hearings on these motions should be delayed until the defense could show cause. Her alternative was that the judge give the prosecution time to prepare for all these late evidentiary motions.

Mason then stated for the second time that day that he only wanted to try this case once and that there was plenty of time to hear the motions.

Perry responded that he too only wanted to try it once but that he, "wouldn't mind trying it twice". He indicated to Mason that he should not try to take advantage of it, because... I'm told that there are some lawyers who practice civil law now, that are looking for new areas to make money, suing criminal defense lawyers now, for 'certain things'. So include in costs for recovering State of Florida for the JAC.
I don't quite understand what that exactly means, but Baez looked pretty concerned about it.

Judge Perry said he would hear the motions but that,"as they could see by today, deadlines are deadlines". He also brought up the possibility of fines of $500 a day for Civil Contempt. Mr. Mason took umbrage with that, saying he had not been found in contempt in his 40 year career and didn't expect to now. The judge agreed with him.

Mason went over to the prosecution table and had a quiet conversation with Jeff Ashton. Before he could finish, Judge Perry called him and Mr. Baez to the bench with the court reporter, for a short conference.

It's another one of those times I wish I could have been a fly on the wall. I can't imagine that it was a pleasant conversation. When the bench conference broke up, Mason spoke for a moment with Mr. Ashton and then went to the podium and said, "Well, it's been fun Your Honor, but that's all we could do today.".

Judge Perry then reminded everyone about the next status conference on Friday, January 14 at 1:30. He told the attorneys to come prepared to discuss jury selection. They were to bring information about the number of rooms they needed and the kind of hotels they wanted. He said the reservations would be made under fictitious names and that if the attorneys knew where they were going, the information would be under seal.

May 9 isn't that far away, is it?

Baez then approached the podium and asked for a modification of the sanctions. He said he needed more time to get with his experts. The judge asked how much time he wanted and Baez wanted 30 days. The judge denied him 30 days, but gave him until Wednesday to "get with him" in his office. He pointed out that he had very intelligent experts who would be able to comply. He then used a poker analogy that this was a game played where everybody sees everybody's cards. It was how you played the cards that counted.

Jeff Ashton pointed out that Dr. Huntington was doing a report but there might be a delay in the hearings and the State might not be able to make the February 28 deadline. He also suggested bi-monthly status hearing as the time for the trial grows closer. The judge said they could do them every Friday, as he was always at the court then. He asked Ashton to give him a suggested schedule. Baez and Mason were to do the same.

As the hearing broke up,I noticed that there was a Subpoena Duces Tecum left over in my pile of motions. As it turns out, it is a motion for Joseph Jordan to supply pictures he took and posted on the internet.

Today, WESH announced that there would be a hearing tomorrow to hear this motion. In addition, Joseph Jordan's attorney has filed a Motion to Strike, noting that in his deposition with the defense, the issues of the photographs was never brought up.

It should be a short hearing, but it will be interesting, I'm sure.

Watch the hearing:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Recent filings:

Affidavit of Attorneys Fees
Preliminary Response to Motions Scheduled for Jan 3 2011
Addendum to Motion in Limine Filed Dec 30 2010

Just in!
Motion To Suppress


shyloh's poetry said...

Thank you for all your hard work on explaining and informing us all of that is going on. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours.

FRG said...


Great article! Thank you!!!

jennyb told you are "fantastic" and she couldn't sign in and ask me to tell you that.

So, JB didn't drop off Dr. Lee's detailed receipt? Maybe the box of oranges are overpriced! Hmmm.

CM, just move the darn furniture and stop whining! I also love the idea the defense and KC will be facing towards the cameras (correct me if I am wrong), front view is p-e-r-f-e-c-t, thanks CM!!! I think that JB's whininess rubbed off on CM!! BTW, CM, you are not even close to be funny, your jokes are boring! As far as the button goes, give something for KC to do, press the button, she might like it!!!!

No jib-jab? *insert sad face here*... just kidding!!!

What's going on with the defense? Were they on any type of medication when they wrote the motion to suppress the statements given by KC "voluntarily" to LE? KC was not in custody right? I don't get it! I guess that the colored-crayons are effecting their brains! LOL

No, May 9 is not far at all, time is flying!!!

I still can't believe that JJ has been around for so long and "just now" the defense needs his photos! I guess Mr. Kronk's prior bad acts motion didn't fly and they need to "stall" a little bit more right? Geesh!!

Hey Jose, are you missing Judge Strickland yet? LOL

ritanita said...

shyloh's poetry, Happy New Year to you and yours! My husband wants to go on a cruise when and if he gets around to retiring. I've informed him that we need to either wait until the trial is over or he has to book on a ship that has wi-fi and buys me a laptop to keep up with the case. It's that bad.

FRG, To use a "Caseyism", I have a feeling in my "gut" that the expert reports are going to be a big problem for Baez and Mason. I don't think that they have much with which to impeach the State on many issues at this point.

I am still wondering what Dr. Freeman, the epidemiologist will have to say, if he ever gets his work done before trial.

I keep flashing back to the Law & Order episode where they did a supposedly Casey Case program.

It was a bust in my mind, because, after an attempt to portray the family dynamics, it turned out the child died from the measles!

The "Casey" character got off, but they tried to prosecute the parent of the child who gave the "Caylee" character the measles. LOL!

I also wonder why Mason seemed to have the retired death-penalty expert judge in the courtroom. Could it be he is hoping to find a reason to get rid of Perry? Strickland was their "freebie" recusal. To get rid of Perry, they'd have to have a darn good reason.

That's speculation on my part!

FRG said...


I am also curious about the Judge. If you find out, please let me know it.

I have a question for you... how in the world will defense deal with KC's written statements where she says she left Caylee with Zenaida? Is this a normal issue that defense has to deal with? Will they just ignore it? I am curious.

ritanita said...

FRG, all I know about the judge is what I read about him. We'll probably never know what was up with that!

The hearing for that motion will be a good one. (Aren't they all?) It's typical for the defense to attempt to get the Defendants's statements kept out of trial and it frequently works.

IMHO, what makes this different is that at first, all though suspicious of Casey due to the 31 days and her initial story, LE was trying to get her help to try and find the child.

Mason used some very "loaded" language in his motion to depict Casey as a prisoner from the first moments.

Seamus O Riley said...

A well written, concise article.

Thank you for excellent work.

Peter Hyatt