Thursday, May 19, 2011

Casey Anthony Murder Trial: Jury Selection Day 10

Casey Anthony entered the courtroom at 8:23 wearing a casual white top.

Jose Baez was seen flitting around the courtroom, conferring with people and Casey.

Then, Casey got busy, jotting down juror numbers from a paper that Dorothy Sims had nearby. It appeared that we were on for jury selection this morning.

As Judge Perry entered the courtroom, Casey straightened the neckline of her top so it looked closed.

Judge Perry discussed some details about the situation. There were 11 more jurors present and the defense had 1 strike left and the prosecution 3.

He asked the defense and the state whether 4 jurors with financial hardships should be called. They decided that jurors 3025, 3317, 3340, and 3309 would be excused for financial hardship.

3131 was the first juror to be called. She had been ill for the last couple of days.

Prior to this juror's voir dire, Perry pointed out that this is the last day that the jurors have been summoned. There will have to be action taken by noon today.

Jeff Ashton said that his chart indicated that he had 12 remaining jurors. The judge read off the numbers and the clerk then verified that there were indeed 12.

Then voir dire began for juror 3131. In 2008, she had heard there was a lot of misinformation and confusion as to where the baby was. She knew the mother had said she was the baby sitter. There was a long search for the body and the body was found in a field or something. She learned there was tape on the baby's mouth and nose. There were allegations about the grandfather and others.

She said it was hard to listen to it intently, she just hoped that the child was found.

She heard from others that they believed Casey Anthony was guilty. Her source of information was mainly a combination of the TV and newspaper.

She said that she couldn't watch the sensational shows like Nancy Grace.

She stated that she had formed the opinion that Casey is guilty. She also mentioned she is a former daycare worker.

She said it was "chilling" to see the babysitter pulled in as a "smokescreen" or a "pawn" as she was a former babysitter herself.

She believed that Casey is guilty. She didn't think Casey acted like a distraught mother whose child was gone.

Juror 3131 stated that she could not put aside what she felt. (Her feelings go deep on this.)
There was no questioning and the juror was excused for cause.

Up next was juror 3310. He had not heard anything about the case in the media with the exception that there was something about a murder in 2008.

When asked by Judge Perry if he could relate any details of the case. He said that he had learned a few things from the media. He stated that a young lady was accused of killing her child; that was all he recalled.

The judge further questioned him about his media preferences. He said he mainly watched channel 13 in the morning. He seldom watches the major stations.

He also said that people at his work knew he had a court summons and that he told them he couldn’t talk about it. He only had one friend who said anything. He thought the defendant was dead!

He said that he knows none of the details and everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He obviously had no opinion about Casey's guilt.

So far, he had managed to pass the media test. Linda Burdick had few questions for him. She did ask if he remembered her name and he did. George and Cindy Anthony were not recognized by him.

He had not been in Orlando since 2008. He thought he knew what a blog is. Then, he mentioned he had thought about posting a message to his service provider.

He read no documents from the case and didn't know they were available.

Jose Baez questioned him more about his favorite programs. He said he liked TV Land for the old shows.

He indicated that he doesn't watch HLN at all.

He set up a Facebook account but doesn't use it. He "may" have a Twitter account but doesn't use it. He does watch YouTube.

Next, Judge Perry administered the Death Penalty Test. Juror 3310 felt the death penalty is a necessary option and aced the question by mentioning reasonable doubt.

Juror 3310 passed the Judge Perry Test and moved on to the Ann Finnel Test. (The state chose not to ask questions.)

In answering a question, the juror mentioned that the death penalty an "unfortunate" result of someone's actions. He scored himself a 6 on the Finnel ruler.

Evidently, he passed the Ann Finnel Test.

General voir dire was next. (I hoped he was a normal, regular guy with no skeletons in his closet.)

This man is 57 and single. He's never been married, has no children, and has two siblings. He's lived in Florida for 16 years. His parents are still alive. The father was an educator and his mother mostly stayed home. His sister is an administrator in a nursing home and his brother is an agronomist.

He has a bachelor's degree in business administration. He once went through training for a correctional guard but never got a job. In Florida, he has not worked in LE.

He said he's worked for Verizon for nearly 15 years and has done various jobs there. He is now a "retention specialist" (keeps the customers).

He said he doesn't deal with cell phones or the towers.

Burdick then went through the remainder of his work experience.

His only connection with LE was a time when his sister was "messed up in the head" and her boyfriend broke into his parents’ home 17-18 years ago. The sister was prosecuted and sentenced to a facility in Ocala. Her life is now turned around and he said he was extremely proud of her. He did mention that he had some speeding tickets.

As for computers, he said he knew how to save a file!

Before Jose Baez began his questioning, he asked for a side bar to discuss an issue with this juror.

Baez started out with his Ann Finnel Jr. Test dealing with jury instructions. Again, he passed.

The juror stepped out of the room and the defense took a second to confer before saying they had no challenge. The state had no challenge either.

We now had 12 jurors and the judge at first said they would forge on to see if they could get any more jurors. Then he called for a 10 minute recess. (I assumed that it was so both sides could discuss their position concerning strikes.)

Judge Perry took the bench at 9:59.

He announced that the next juror up was number 3016.

The judge asked him the usual questions and went on to ask him what he recalled about the case.

Juror 3016 said that his major sources of information were the St. Pete Times and People magazine. He knew a child was lost and then found. Most of the evidence related to the mother. He mentioned remains and a smell in the trunk of the car. Other than that, he remembered few specifics as he didn't follow the story closely.

This man is a teacher and he listened to conversations in the teacher's lounge. He said that he didn't recall any conversations about this trial because they discuss a lot of current events. He had heard opinions that Casey was guilty. For himself, he stated that he had formed an opinion that she is guilty, even though he hadn't read much.

The juror said that he could set aside these opinions and presume Casey is innocent. He said he had no reservation about laying aside his impression and information he had gleaned from news accounts.

Frank George talked to the juror first. He mostly goes to out-of state sources on the computer. He doesn't read the local material. He watches local news and Sports Center in the morning.

Jose Baez then questioned juror 3016. He was mainly concerned how he could set his opinions aside. He gave examples from his experience as a teacher. No matter what he hears about a student, he makes his own opinion.

Next came the Death Penalty Test. He stated he doesn't have an opinion about the death penalty and that he'd never found a case worthy of the death penalty.

He said that he could not recommend the death sentence. It would be very difficult to do. The judge tried to rehabilitate the juror, who finally said he could consider it, although it would be difficult. He was so very honest and eloquent about this.

He did say that he could consider sentencing to Life without parole.
(I think this juror would have a hard time finding Casey guilty of 1st degree murder.)

The judge then asked that exact question and he said he could find her guilty of 1st degree murder. The judge then asked again about imposing the death penalty. He said yet again that it would be very difficult and that he could consider. (He really is sticking to his guns here.) The juror did say that the situation could change based on what he heard. He also said that he would take into account the instructions provided.

There were no questions on the death penalty from either side.

We then moved on to general voir dire.

Frank George again questioned the juror. He had an uncle in the FBI (which he forgot about on the questionnaire). He retired about 5 years ago.

He had been the victim of a house robbery, but nobody was arrested. He had no negative experience with LE at that time.

He stated he taught 10th grade Physical Education and Health for 15 years. He doesn't have children. He has an older sister and brother in other states. They each have a daughter. One is 10 and one is 7. He doesn't have the opportunity to see them often.

He has two Labs, but has had no exposure to search and rescue dogs.

He is familiar with computers but is not an expert. He said he is currently taking a classes online to get a master's in special education to help him in his teaching job.

Jose Baez went through his usual Ann Finnel Jr. Test about jury instructions.

He passed his test and was asked to step out of the courtroom.

There were no challenges and we had 13 prospective jurors.

The judge asked both sides what they wanted to do. The rest of the judges have completed their trials today. He said that it was going to be done differently.

He will bring a panel up of the remaining jurors and first ask about financial hardship. When they lose people, they can see how many prospective jurors/alternates are left.

He also said he would have liked to do it differently, but time does not permit that. He said he would conclude questioning around 5 PM unless they want to forge ahead.

Tomorrow morning, those who remain will be brought in and he will swear the jury, 12 first and then the last juror, 3016, who is in the alternate 1 position would become the #12 position. He also said that he would decide tonight how many alternates he will have and get one strike for each.

Once they exceeded that number, they will have no more peremptory challenges, and would have to use cause.

Input was expected at noon.

Next up was juror 3140.

She said that she knew the daughter was missing and the grandparents were looking for her.

She said that she wasn't into the newspapers or the computer. She doesn't have cable. She said she just started getting the St. Pete times for the Weekender section.

She gets her news from other people. She said she worked mostly with young people at the store and they don't know very much!

When asked by Judge Perry, she said she had not formed an opinion about the case or Casey's guilt or innocence.

Juror 3140 passed the media test.

There was no questioning on the issue.

Next up, was the Death Penalty Test.

She indicated that she has no philosophical issues about the death penalty. She said that she had not considered which cases were appropriate and which were not appropriate for the death penalty.

She said that if the mitigating factors outweighed the mitigating factors she could recommend the death penalty. It the reverse were true, she could recommend life without parole.

Jeff Ashton questioned her briefly. He asked her reactions to when people were executed. She said she thought if was justified if the crimes were appropriate.

We next moved on to the Ann Finnel Test. She answered all the questions correctly and rated herself a 10 on Ms. Finnel's ruler.

Jeff Ashton did the general voir dire for the state. She has been married for 15 years in August and it is her second marriage. She and her first husband adopted a son, 33 and a daughter, 28 when they were infants. Neither lives in Florida.

She said that she has worked in Publix for 10 years to get out of the house. In her home state, she worked as a day care worker.

She said she is a high school graduate.

She's had no connection to crime, nor has anyone she knows.

When not working, she does arts and crafts, making things for herself and friends. Her husband teaches lapidary in his spare time.

Cheney Mason questioned for the defense. He inquired about the problems with her hearing aid. She said that she needed to get it adjusted.

Mason was concerned with her former employment in day care. She said it would not affect her in terms of this case..

She described herself as very old fashioned and friendly. Her kids refer to her as a good mom and she has a two-year-old grandson who lives in Tennessee. She said it would cause no conflict for her.

She said that she'd like to be on the jury because she found the process interesting and would like to know the whole truth.

She wasn't impressed with the media presence in and around the courtroom.

Juror 3140 stepped outside the courtroom. With no objections, she became number 14.

At that point, there was one more person for the morning.

The judge asked if both sides had discussed the possibility of bringing in a panel this afternoon.

The one person from the morning will be put to the afternoon, there are 3 who are coming in this afternoon and 3 on call.

He said he would ask the current 14 to make their preparation and come back tomorrow to swear in all 14 or perhaps 12.

Then, that means that the defense would get two shots at them (once as a juror, once as an alternate). They would settle on a target number of alternates this afternoon.

(That's what the judge said, I'm not sure I totally understood that, but we will find out what will happen as the day goes on.)

There are also prospective jurors who will be called in for tomorrow who have yet to begin voir dire.

The judge did point out that there was a good chance that they would have had the time to think up the right answers to certain questions to be excused from jury duty.

Linda Burdick indicated that she would like a brief recess to discuss the process with her team and a 5 minute recess was called.

Lunch would be until 1:30 PM.

When the attorneys returned from lunch, the defense and prosecution teams were again facing the gallery as the "fresh" panel of jurors was brought into the courtroom.

Judge Perry asked if anyone wanted him to abbreviate the presentation. The prosecution asked them to abbreviate the indictment and some of the other instructions.

The defense wanted the indictment shortened and reasonable doubt left as is.

Cheney Mason corrected Judge Perry about saying to a juror about the death penalty that "unfortunately it's not the law".

Perry said he would do the general questions by row.

Once the jurors were seated and sworn, Judge Perry resumed the bench and he read the shortened indictment and instructions to these new people.

Once again, when the judge addressed the jury pool, Casey could not look at them and became visibly distraught and was breathing heavily throughout the murder charges and the summary of the alleged crime.

The judge called for a five minute recess.

When the judge returned to the bench, he gave the instructions about not talking about the case with others and so on.

Even though the indictment had been read, Casey still could not look at the prospective jurors. She kept her head down throughout the questioning about hardship.

The judge went down the first row and asked each juror if there were hardships. It was hard to hear the jurors because there were no microphones.

For some reason, the Judge Perry moved down to the podium to continue. It was odd to see the judge standing where the attorneys usually do.

When completed, the state and the defense chose not to ask questions of the jurors who claimed hardship.

There were a total of 20 of the prospective jurors who were excused for hardship.

The judge then asked the remaining jurors about the media and if they had formed an opinion of the case.

Again, we were unable to hear what they said.

The remaining jurors were excused from the courtroom and they had to fill out a contact form for the court to get in touch with them about returning tomorrow.

We then had a brief break in the proceedings while the prosecution and defense tables were reversed.

The remaining jurors were excused from the courtroom and they had to fill out a contact form for the court to get in touch with them about returning tomorrow.

We then had a brief recess while the prosecution and defense reversed their positions at their tables.

One of the 30 jurors, a lawyer had been told to report back and he did not. The judge issues a rule to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court.

When court resumed, juror 3093 was called.

She said she only recalled facts of the case from 2008. Then, she stated that she only knew about what the judge told her last Wednesday. She said she had not formed any opinions of the case. She said that she could put aside what she knew and base all decisions on the evidence in court.

She said that she could presume Casey's innocence.

The state had no questions.

Jose asked what she knew about the case and said she only knew it was coming to court. (This lady somewhat confused me.)

She said that she is a spinner and a weaver and is not into the news. She is also into sports.

We then moved on to the Death Penalty Test. She stated that she believed in the judicial system and realizes it is a death penalty state. In essence, she said she had no position on the death penalty.

She said she could recommend either death or Life without parole.

She passed the Death Penalty Test and the state did not question her.

We then came to the Ann Finnel Test.

This lady, who first confused me, passed the Ann Finnel test with flying and thoughtful colors.

Before the final questioning, juror 3093 was sent out and Judge Perry announced that juror 4053 said that she would not be compensated by her employer. She was excused for cause. Juror 4013 will be compensated and will be in the "lineup" tomorrow.

The attorney who did not return said that he misunderstood the instructions. Judge Perry asked if anyone wanted to talk to a lawyer. The judge told someone to OFFICIALLY excuse him now.

Next came the general voir dire after a brief recess.

Juror 3093 was first interviewed by Linda Burdick. She is 48 and has been married for 28 years. She has two sons. One will be 25 and one will be 22. Her husband is currently unemployed.

She is a nurse's tech. She's been in the medical field for 30 years. She is originally from New Jersey.

She was a juror on a civil case. She had reported for jury duty before, but was never chosen for a trial since.

She has had no contact with the criminal justice system, nor has anyone she knows.

She enjoys sports, yarn-making, a weaver. She is a member of the Weavers' Guild.

Jose Baez inquired next. Asked about her patients and how she sets things aside. She cited the HIPPA law in dealing with that. He tried to get her to compare that and the situation with this trial.

She gave an explanation, but I couldn't really follow it.

Then, he went on the Ann Finnel Junior test about jury instructions.

Neither side challenged the juror and she became number 15.

Juror 3281 was called next. She recalled when the child's body was found in the field. She also heard that there was a delay in reporting the child missing. She remembered Casey's parents dealing with harassment by the crowd outside the house. She also knew that a utility worker found the child and that she was found with duct tape.

She said she hadn't been around people when they were discussing the case and that she had not formed an opinion about Ms. Anthony's guilt or innocence. She also said she could lay aside what she had seen or heard in the media.

Frank George questioned her extensively about her media sources.

Jose Baez honed in on the news she saw on TV. She remembered a clip of the grandfather being angry at the people.

As for the tape, she only recalled that there was duct tape over the mouth.

She did not remember the length of time of the delay in reporting the child's disappearance.

Baez repeated, in his own way, if she could set aside the information she already had. He aslo asked her the other question Judge Perry asked. This time, she explained that she would follow the instructions given.

He also re-asked her if she had formed any opinion of the cases.

There was nothing new there!

After the judge asked the juror to leave the courtroom, Frank George pointed out that she hadn't been questioned about the death penalty or had general voir dire! It was a light moment that certainly broke the tension!

Juror 3281 was called back into the courtroom.

Judge Perry ascertained that she was not opposed to the death penalty or life without parole.

We then commenced with the Ann Finnel Test.

She said that she could recommend the death penalty or life without parole based on her following the instructions of the law.

The state had no questions and we were on to the Ann Finnel Test which she passed rather nicely.

She said that she could recommend the death penalty or life without parole based on her following the instructions of the law.

The state had no questions and we were on to the Ann Finnel Test which she passed rather nicely.

Next came general voir dire with Frank George. He inquired about the status of her elective surgery and she said that it was still on hold.

She had no problem with the cameras and the media.

She has been divorced for 5 or 6 years in October. Her ex works for a large large grocery chain.

This is the first time she has been called for jury duty, she had no connection to law enforcement and no problems with the law.

She is a sponsor (coordinator) between groups on a computer program of sorts. She is not so computer literate, though.

She has a college degree in human development.

Cheney Mason was the last to question this juror. He asked if she'd had an "inkling" of what case she was called for. She said she didn't know. She did think about it by Wednesday. She spoke to nobody about it and had some anxiety about the sequestration and the nature of the case. It is going to have an impact on her. She has one daughter and two grandchildren aged 3 and 1. She lost one child prematurely.

Mason tried to get her to say that she wouldn't be able to put the thought of her grandchildren aside when thinking about Caylee Marie. She insisted that she could.

He also asked if she was worried about the reaction of what people would say if she found Casey innocent.

He also pushed her to the max about reasonable doubt. He made it clear that he wanted her to be a person who would not fold to pressure of others to change her opinion.

The program she is helping to implement deals with a program developed for the Pinellas County judicial system and will have impact on a number of offices. He attempted to get her to admit that since she is working with the court system, the police, the State Attorney's Office, and so on, it would have a negative impact her view of Casey Anthony.

She said that she could separate the situations.

He also asked about other tragedies in her life and got her to approach the bench about one of her personal tragedies. It came about when she mentioned the death of her mother and asked if it was a peaceful death.

This had to be the most ferocious questioning I had seen!

When she left the courtroom, the defense objected to her because there was a reasonable doubt about her ability to be impartial due to her work which puts her in contact with the police and the State Attorney’s Office and what was said in sidebar.

Frank George objected, and the judge denied the objection. The defense didn't want to use a peremptory challenge and we now had juror 16.

Juror 3178 was next. She had heard about the case when it first happened. She saw the pictures of the defendant and the child. She also recalled when the body was discovered. She thought the case was over!

She mentioned it took 30 days to call the police. She also said her parents could have done something to her as a child.

That is all she remembered. She didn't have conversations with others about it. "It happened, it was sad, and I forgot about it." She didn't discuss the case with her husband.

When she got her jury notice for Wednesday, she thought the Anthony case was Monday and Tuesday.

She said that she didn't know if she had an opinion, but basically though that “she” did it.

When asked if she could set her opinions aside, she said that she could set them aside and make her judgement by the evidence in the case.

The judge then asked her about the death penalty. She said she was against it. She said that she could not change her mind about the death penalty. She said she could find Casey guilty of 1st degree murder, she said she would vote against it. She was adamant about that.

Neither the state nor the defense questioned her and she was sent out. The state challenged for cause and the defense objected. She was excused for cause.

Without pause, juror 3175 was called into the courtroom.

This juror had heard about the case. She heard that Caylee was missing and they suspected her mom. There were pictures of Casey drinking and partying while the child was missing. She knew that the grandmother called the police and that the trunk of the car smelled like a dead body. She also knew that the child was found in the wood by a public service worker. She said that the ME had said it was a murder. She also mentioned the pizza box.

She had met people who expressed that Casey was guilty. When asked if she had formed any impressions about Ms. Anthony's guilt or innocence, she said that she firmly believed she was guilty.

Judge Perry asked her if she could put her opinions aside and decide the case based on the evidence as presented in court.

She said that she could not.

There were no questions and she was sent outside. She was excused for cause.

At this point, Judge Perry and the attorneys discussed how many jurors were available for voir dire tomorrow.

There is one juror who may be disqualified due to legal problems. The judge said he would do the scheduling for those people and be finished tomorrow.

Mr. Baez had one or two housekeeping matters.

What follows is as close as I could get to what Cheney Mason said to the judge.

Cheney Mason requested to have Judge Perry request that the state give them the order of the witnesses a day ahead of time. Perry said that he had no power to do that. Mason said that with 300 witnesses, it would be difficult because the State has unlimited resources and the defense had none. Judge Perry said that they just had to bring all their files and have them ready to pull when called.

Mason said that they had two little rooms that they didn't have space to put all the files in. The judge asked if Mr. Baez had digitized the files.

Jose Baez then suggested that the State give them 20 names at a time, but not the order.

Judge Perry told him he was talking to the wrong person and that doing what he wanted was beyond his pay grade. They need to talk to the prosecution about that! He said he already had. (I would guess that the prosecution team is being a cooperative with the defense as the defense has been with them for the past three years.)

Perry then offered to find them some more space here and there to put their papers.

Baez then explained that he would have to cause delays in the trial because of this.

Then, Baez wanted to have instruction on the use of exhibits that might be used in trial in opening statements.

Linda Burdick said it was audio, video, and photographs.

Perry said he needed to know what they wanted to use before giving them an answer. He said that if they both agree about which demonstrative items they want to use, he would know he would have no problem with it. If they couldn't agree, it would require a hearing. He pointed out that the jury would be walking in the door at 9 AM.

Perry essentially told Baez that he doesn't write blank checks.

Essentially, the judge said that they should either agree and have Casey Anthony stipulate to it, or leave it out of opening statements.

Judge Perry said he would only be in the courthouse a couple of times over the weekend and would be willing to discuss minor disagreements between the two parties. If it were to go to a hearing, it would be at 8:30 Monday morning and each side would have 7 minutes to flap their gums. Linda Burdick said she could do it!

Finally, court was in recess until 8:30 tomorrow morning.



Nora said...

Friday morning - I was watching Fox and Geraldo Rivera was on saying that the prosecuter is trying to get Casey killed. If this was an inner-city woman, a Latina or African-American, she never would be on trial with the death penalty. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone even sighted Geraldo at the courthouse?

I also read an interesting and true comment here about jury selection: One who has served on a prior jury is not likely to be picked for subsequent juries. So why waste taxpayer's time and money in calling those people back? And at that rate, at what point will they run out of finding a jury pool "acceptable to their criteria"? In the Anthony case, one such juror was placed among the "alternates."

Anonymous said...

Geraldo has to remember that this "child" murder happened in Florida, the state in which two children -- Adam Walsh and Jimmy Rice -- were senselessly murdered, and those cases resulted in new laws being made to protect children there.