At 8:28 Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. arrived and court was called to order.
Casey was pretty much in a good mood as she walked in wearing a bluish-gray v-neck blouse with a lot of ruffles!
The first juror up was 1312. She is another person who works at Bayshore Medical Center.
She knew about the case before coming for jury duty. She heard about it when the original event happened and she heard it on the news. Since she's not a big news person, she saw it in bits and pieces. She probably read only one article in the newspaper about it.
She was aware that Casey was arrested and saw some of the interviews on CNN. She mentioned that she saw Cindy Anthony who spoke more about her feelings, saying that her daughter was innocent.
Other than that, that was all she knew about the case. She had talked about it with friends and at work. There were people on both sides of the guilt issue. She said that she felt there was more to the story than they knew and that something may have happened accidentally. She understood that the news may or may not be accurate.
She said that she could set aside what she knew and form an opinion based on the evidence presented in court.
Linda Burdick inquired about the amount and source of the coverage she viewed. She said it's been six months or more since she saw any coverage. She hadn't gone online to look at documents. She doesn't watch much television. She doesn't blog or read blogs about the case.
Jose Baez questioned her as well. She is not a big news person at all! She didn't seem to be computer oriented either.
Judge Perry then reminded her of the guilt phase and mitigation phases of the trial.
When asked about the death penalty, she said she believes in it and that each case should be looked at individually.
Jeff Ashton asked her a few questions about the death penalty. He brought up the fact that the death of a child is very emotional and he asked her if she could still make the right decisions based on the law.
Ann Finnel was next and pretty much went through her usual questioning.
In general voir dire, Linda Burdick asked if she was from Pittsburgh! She recognized the accent because she is from Pittsburgh too. The prospective juror has lived in Florida for 8 years. She is an OR nurse. She is involved in litigation over a divorce. He is currently functionally disabled. She is not concerned about the media. She is not a writer and does not do any public speaking. She has 2 grandchildren. Her daughter is currently on probation.
Also, about 25 years ago, her brother had a trial and was acquitted of the crime. He was charged with an armed robbery. She felt that she saw the system work.
Baez began with the media and asked if it could have an effect on a witness' testimony. He asked if a witness should be televised? She felt they shouldn't. He asked about what she felt about people who sell their story?
Linda Burdick objected and this line of questioning cut off.
Baez kept trying to get her to say what her reaction would be to various circumstances, and he was cut off at the pass yet again.
He again asked the question, "Who are you?" She gave a very good answer.
She has two children and two grandchildren in the area and a small circle of friends.
Another new question was "how do people react to stress". As a nurse, she was able to answer this quite well. (He's pushing his case again here.) He asked about how different people react upon the news of the death of a family member. She'd never seen anything inappropriate. Then, he asked her if she believed in PTSD. She was hesitant to give it an exact title. (He's giving more of the case out again.)
He then asked if people can compartmentalize their pain (read going out to party).
Finally, Burdick objected and the judge sustained the objection.
He also asked how she evaluated if someone was telling the truth! Linda Burdick again objected and it was sustained. Baez asked for a sidebar.
He asked if she has treated victims of abuse. She did when she worked in a woman's clinic. She has a 5 month old grandson and 5 year old granddaughter she sees once or twice a week.
She felt she would make a good juror. Neither side had an objection, so we now have five potential jurors.
The judge then announced that tomorrow morning, he will ask if they intend to use any backstrikes, and if not, they will choose the jury and it will be sworn in.
After 5 minute recess, juror 1011 was called to the stand. He is a retired gentleman who is a diabetic.
He saw news of Casey's arrest for the killing of her daughter. He read some other news coverage but can't recall its content. He's had conversations with peole about the case. They were brief. He doesn't remember any talk of her guilt or innocence.
He hadn't formed any opinions or impressions about Ms. Anthony's guilt or innocence.
Frank George questioned him about his recollections of the case, and the TV stations he watches, magazines he reads, and local newspapers. He uses his computer for e-bay and Amazon. He doesn't even know what blogging is.
He said he has no knowledge about George and Cindy Anthony and has never read paperwork from this case.
Jose Baez questioned him about whether he follows real-life crime and he watches the news twice a week. He get the newspapers for the cupons and sports page.
He said he was for the death penalty.
Jeff Ashton asked him a few questions, focusing on a type of murder where there would be a death penalty. He felt he could listen to mitigating circumstances before making a decision.
Ann Finnel asked a question concerning the nature of this case, that the fact that this is the death of a child.
This triggered an objection and a sidebar.
Finnel then asked if there was anything in the indictment which would make him unable to sentence the person to life. He answered "no." He said he would be an 8 on a scale of 10 for the death penalty.
After this gentleman, I plan on just reporting if the prosepective juror moves on to the final round. While the questions vary a bit from person to person based on the person's background, it all tends to melt together.
Ann Finnel's detailed questions about which mitigation factors this juror would consider and why or why not. This line led to rather longish sidebars.
One thing new that came up was that there is a possiblity Casey Anthony would take the stand in the mitigation phase! She asked how he would feel if she pled her innocence!
As Frank George was questioning him, the judge stopped to say that jurror 1167 is currently on site is getting sick with an upper GI problem (possibly food poisoning). They will check and see how the juror feels by tomorrow.
Juror 1011 then returned to the stand to complete his voir dire.
Baez again addressed post-trial publicity and he said he would definitely not talk to the media. Before retiring, and irrigation, spraying and worked concessions. He has an adult daugher who lives in Ohio. He collects Rock and Roll memorabelia.
Jose Baez finished up with this juror. He kept asking the same questions that Frank George did.
He then went on to ask if he'd ever been accused of a crime and he said no. Baez brought up a misdemeanor, complete with mug shot!
Baez also asked if he collected crime memorabelia. He said that he owed a book about someone he knew and he bought a child some toys, a skull sort of bookend! It sure sounds like Baez is turning him into a crime junkie! He also wrote a bad review about an Australian crime movie.
The state did not challenge, but the defense challenges for untruthful answers (about the crime). He wasn't convicted of a crime based on Jeff Ashton's nod "no". He was arrested for DUI in March, 2006. Baez also felt he was disingenuous and has an interest in true crime.
George felt the potential juror was as truthful as he knew how to be. He wasn't even sure if his DUI was a crime. (The defense could use a strike!)
He was sentenced to community services and a program. He plead guilty. He said he thought the form said "criminal" at the time.
After more argument from Baez, the judge decided he would move on to the final cut. Baez decided to use a peremptory challenge.
After lunch, juror 1010 was called to the stand. He knew virtually nothing about the case and had severe reservations about the death penalty to the point where Ann Finnel didn't bother to question him.
There were no challenges to this juror, so he became number six.
Prospective juror 1055 had heard nothing about the trial until her mother mentioned it was coming up. The most she knows is from the charges Judge Perry read. She is pro-death penalty under certain circumstances. She sailed through the death penalty issues and we learned that she is a 32-year-old nursing student.
Both the defense and state did not challenge this juror and she became number seven.
There had been an issue of Ann Finnel using the term "mercy" when discussing mitigation and the death penalty. Jeff Ashton had objected twice. The judge read case law provided by the prosecution and the defense. Based on the opinions, Judge Perry ruled that Ann Finnell can ask the question but it can't be used to challenge for cause.
Judge Perry then broached the subject of opening the cans for the jury to smell the decomposition. The judge cited decisions which are pertinent to the situation. The attorneys will need to do their homework on this. Jeff Ashton added some decisions he had found.
It will be interesting to see what the end decision will be.
The next was juror number 1319. In the last phase of voir-dire, she had been reluctant to sit in judgement of others. Judge Perry questions of her. She doesn't like to point people at fingers based on what other people say.
However, she said that her beliefs would not stop her from being able to render a decision about the defendant's innocence or guilt.
She only heard about the case when it first happened. Otherwise, she doesn't pay attention to the news. she considers her self a loner with no friends who spends her time watching westerns and playing computer games.
In spite of these views, Jeff Ashton found she could sentence someone to death if the evidence proved it necessary. Ann Finnel did not question her.
She had a hard time answering Jose Baez questions and seemed to have little grasp on the concept of forensics.
This lady was quite an enigma.
The state exercised a peremptory challenge due to her first statement that she does not want to judge others. She also answered "I thinks I can" give the death penalty.
Cheney Mason made a Batson challenge because she is African-American.
Judge Perry disallowed the peremptory challenge. She will be number eight.
Juror number 1135 was the next to be called. Linda Burdick interrupted the proceedings because there was an issue. There was a bench conference and then the judge left the bench as the attorneys resumed their seats.
When Judge Perry returned to the bench, juror 1135 was brought in. Then, they approached the sidebar with the juror.
Then, voir dire began. His knowledge was mainly from the beginning of the case, the grandparents, and the baby was either found in it or was in it at some point. Otherwise, he's had no contact with information about the case.
He said that he is "in between" about the death penalty. He said he had no problem following the law concerning the death penalty.
Before going on to the last part of the voir dire, the judge sent the juror out to do housekeeping.
They judge said that they will finish up to juror 21 today. Then, he will ask the rest to go home for the evening. Cheney Mason pointed out that this would go until 11:00 at night, and that would be too much to bear. They decided to stop at juror 16.
There is a recess at this point so that Perry can go back and dismiss the jurors after number 16. That means 5 more jurors after 5 PM.
Apparently, tomorrow will be a full day!
When the judge returned to the bench, all the lawyers approached.
Ann Finnel moved for cause on juror 1135, because he refused to consider age as a factor for mitigation, even after the judge read him the rules. The state did not object. The count of jurors prior to back strikes is still 8.
At this point, I am totally exhausted. I'm going to stop now. Hopefully, by the end of the night, Judge Perry will have his 12 jurors and will continue on tomorrow to choose 8 more to bring the jury to a total of 20.
I'll see you all tomorrow morning. I'm making a guess at this point that court will be in session at either 8:30 or 9:00 AM.