Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Hearings for Casey Anthony - Pass the Excedrin (Super Strength)

It's the beginning of the gardening season and I've spent a lot of time outdoors cleaning up my gardens. Where I live, the plants go dormant, but somehow the weeds manage to proliferate. If I expect to see my beautiful flowers grow strong and healthy, those pesky winter weeds have to go!

With decent gardening time this week, I had hoped to get a lot accomplished. However, Casey Anthony and her lawyers' interminable motions and excessive examination of witnesses is stealing all my time!

I'm also sure Judge Perry is thrilled with the latest developments as well.

I just came indoors to start doing my homework for the hearing Friday (and possibly Saturday) and found out to my dismay that we now have a hearing on Thursday, March 31 at 10:00 AM.

There will be more Frye hearings on Friday, April 1 and possibly Saturday, April 2 at 8:30 AM as well.

Meanwhile, there have been two more motions filed by the defense today. I'm sure you all remember the defense Motion to Vacate & In The Alternative Motion For Clarification Dr. Hall, which the judge DENIED March 21. Today, the defense filed a 03/29/2011 Motion for Hearing: Amended; on the Unreliability of Expert Opinion Testimony of Dr. Hall. To get the root-growth testimony excluded from trial, the defense cites Chavez v. State which says:

Before an expert may render an opinion, the witness must satisfy a four-prong test of admissibility. Section 90.702...requires the court to make two preliminary determinations: (1) whether the subject matter will assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or in determining a disputed fact, and (2) whether the witness is adequately qualified to express an opinion on the matter. Once these threshold determinations are affirmatively satisfied,
two more requirements must be satisfied for the admission of expert opinion testimony. The expert opinion must apply to evidence presented during the hearing, and the danger of unfair prejudice must not substantially outweigh the probative value of the opinion.

I have a feeling that the defense is desperate to try and get Dr. Hall off the State witness list. Could it be that their witness, Dr. Bock, does not have the same extensive credentials in forensic botany that Dr. Hall has? Could it also be that the defense is desperate for a hearing on this, based on the wording of the citation in their motion? I feel there is another DENIED coming down the road.

The second motion filed today relates back to the torturous questions asked by Dorothy Sims to the FBI lab tech, Karen Lowe at the last hearing. She kept being interrupted by Jeff Ashton and Judge Perry who both indicated that the questions she was asking did not relate to Frye. She kept saying that the defense motion was MORE than a Frye hearing. The judge told her to file a motion.

Here it is: Motion In Limine: Amended; for Hearing on the Unreliability of Scientific Testimony by Karen Lowe on Post-Mortem Hair Banding. This is a five page motion, but you can get the gist of the argument by reading the topics discussed in it.

The State did not satisfy the requirements under Frye because Ms. Lowe's testimony was the only testimony offered by the State on the general acceptance of hair banding during the March 23, 2011 hearing

Ms. Lowe's testimony is pure opinion testimony

Ms. Lowe is not qualified on an expert in hair banding

Hair banding is an inappropriate subject matter for a lay witness

Ms. Lowe's testimony regarding hair banding lacks relevancy and, as a result is inadmissible

Any probative value of Ms. Lowe's testimony is outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice lay witness and is, in fact, an expert.
(This isn't making any sense to me!)


Because the State failed to provide an independent witness, Ms. Lowe's testimony is pure opinion, Ms. Lowe is not an expert in the subject of post-mortem hair banding, and post-mortem hair banding is an inappropriate subject for lay witness testimony, the Defendant asks the Court to strike Ms. Lowe as a witness. In the alternative, the Defendant seeks a hearing on the issues

There are so many things that bother me about this motion. Karen Lowe is a highly trained person who works for the FBI. She has studied hair-banding as part of her job. While she isn't a researcher, she showed her knowledge of the subject during her direct and cross-examination.

Unfortunately, Ms. Simms did have a hard time understanding how the results of testing hair from living people produced different results than the death-banding.

I also recall that when Jeff Ashton filed his response to the defense motion, he included nearly 400 pages of learned articles and a transcript from a Frye hearing held in New York.

Again, aside from the fact that the hair-banding shows a deceased Caylee in the trunk of the car, the defense doesn't even have an expert of their own to argue their case. Dr. Petraco, a well-respected expert in the field refused to testify for the defense. Ironically, it is Dr. Petraco's testimony in that New York Frye hearing where the testimony was allowed in for the defense.

It will be interesting to find out if Judge Perry pulls out his DENIED stamp for this one!

Hearing Wednesday, March 31

The defense filed three motions concerning adding new witnesses. Of the three, the Defense Motion Clarifying Motion for Leave For Additional Witnesses explains them all.

The first witness is Dr. Jeffrey Danzinger, the same psychiatrist who tested Casey on the orders of Judge Stan Strickland during the bond hearing. The defense has retained him to work with Casey and he recently completed his work. When the motion was filed on March 22, he had yet to write his report.

The next witness is Dr. William Weitz. He is also a psychiatrist and he specializes in PTSD. As with Dr. Danziger, he has yet to produce a report. For both doctors, the defense has stated that each "is a necessary witness to rebut recent rulings related to the Defendant's state of mind an consciousness of guilt."

While they were originally to be added to the witness list for the penalty phase. At the end of the last hearing, however, Ann Finnel approached the bench and told the judge that the defense wished to include one or both of these doctors to the guilt phase of the trial and she would have reports for the State.

This has been the topic of much discussion on the message boards I visit. What is confusing to me is that it seems the defense wants some sort of psychiatric testimony that will explain Casey's lying and flat demeanor. This move obviously derives from comments by Judge Perry in his denial of the motions to keep out all communications between Casey and the police, her family, and jail friends.

Since psychiatric testimony during the guilt phase of trials is traditionally limited to cases which deal with a mental illness defense, this move is very unusual. I look forward to the discussion of this during the hearing.

Next is Kenneth Lewis, Assistant State Attorney. I believe he was the prosecutor in the Maya Derkovic trial and would not be used unless Maya testified at the trial. The State has already said they are not calling her and the defense is thinking about it.

All we know about Sharon Cadieux is that he will be returning to Florida soon for a deposition. There's nothing about how she relates to the case. I believe she may have been a witness to the "assault" on Patricia young by George Anthony.

Daniel Kondos
is the supervisor of the individuals responsible for maintaining the landscape on Suburban Drive. He is a recently discovered witness. It seems that the individuals who actually did the work on Suburban Drive transfer around and he's the only person who is available to testify. We can translate this to the fact that he supervised the people who routinely cut the grass at the edge of the road. That would be the only "landscaping" Suburban Drive would have. I'll be interested to know what kind of lawnmowers the workers used there since I have a feeling Mr. Kondos would be talking about when the grass was cut and how the workers told him things about the water levels. This should be interesting once we see his deposition. Finally, there is

Patricia Young
. Ms. Young is a person who volunteered with TES. Unfortunately, the weather was bad that day and she went to the Anthony home where she became involved in an incident with George Anthony, who pushed her off the curb. She filed a complaint against George, but apparently, no action was taken. It's interesting to note that, although she didn't search with TES, the defense motion says, "Good cause is shown because Ms. Young was recently deposed as a member of the Texas Equusearch and was found to have material testimony for the Defendant."

I have to wonder if Ms. Young ever did search. However, once the name and the complaint came to light, the message boards and blogs have been busy speculating about her testimony.

Kathi Belich and Bill Sheaffer had some ideas!

Video State Interviews 'Possible' Witness In Casey Case

Tomorrow, I'll show you my homework for the April Fools Day Hearing!


Sprocket said...

Another excellent write up ritanita!

shari said...

and the plot keeps on thickening....or is it sickening?
Good job ritanita. Every day on the news I am truly amazed at the stupid motions that the defense files. I guess you just throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks.......Poor Judge Perry, the patience of a saint!