WE HAVE A JURY!
We started Day 11 with a total of sixteen jurors. The state has 3 peremptory challenges, the defense 1. Unless Jose Baez can sweet-talk Judge Perry into giving him more challenges, we should have a jury with perhaps an alternate or two by the end of the day.
Of course, the way things have gone, I would never predict what will actually happen!
The live feed came up with a shot of two weary attorneys, Jeff Ashton and Frank George. There were also shots of a weary Linda Burdick discussing something (exhibits for opening arguments?) with a perky Jose Baez (He must get a lot of caffeine throughout the day.)
Casey Anthony entered the courtroom at precisely 8:25 in her usual fashion: head hanging down to the left, neutral expression on her face.
By 8:30, Judge Perry was on the bench. There was a problem with the volume on the feed, I could barely make out what was being said.
Juror 3050 was called to the stand. When first called he had child care issues and the situation was the same (child care for his girlfriend's grandson).
Perry continued on with voir dire. He said he had no memory of the case from 2008.
Now there is interference with another transmission and it is virtually impossible to hear.
I missed if he had formed an opinion and he said he believed he could put aside what he knows.
He said that he has problems with capital cases in general.
He said that he has a strong moral opinion about the state putting people to death under his name.
Perry then tried to rehabilitate him. When asked, he said he would automatically vote against the death penalty if Casey Anthony were found guilty of 1st degree murder.
Neither the state nor the defense had any questions. He was asked to step out. He was excused over the objection of the defense.
Juror 3060 was the next for voir dire. When he left last time, there was an issue about being paid for jury duty. He said he would be reimbursed 100%.
This gentleman didn't hear news of the case when it first occurred. He said he heard about the case about 3 months ago.
He thought he heard about it on CNN. It was a 5 minute "thing" on his lunch break. He did see the face of the girl, but didn't remember the content. Also, he said there were pictures where they were searching houses.
Two or three weeks ago, he heard the case was moving to Tampa.
He had no opinion about Ms. Anthony's guilt or innocence.
There were no questions concerning media from the attorneys.
We came next to the Death Penalty Test. Once juror 3060 said he could presume innocence, the juror said that he was against the death penalty.
Judge Perry then worked to rehabilitate this situation. He said that he could not find Casey Anthony guilty of 1st degree murder if the death penalty might be imposed. The judge tried and failed to have him consider imposing the death penalty and he was excused as the previous one had been.
Remember, the defense filed motions asking the death penalty be removed. As of now, all have been denied.
Juror 3170 was called next.
He remembered a little of the initial reports and a there was a blank until the judge had read the indictment was read in court.
He remembered that a little girl had been missing and they couldn't find the body. He read that the body had been found in December.
He stated he had no opinion about the case in terms of Casey's guilt or innocence.
He felt he could be a fair person in the case.
The state declined to question, but Jose Baez did. He elicited that he knew a utility worker found the body but that he couldn't remember Caylee's name.
This man is one of the blankest slates we have seen. I can only wonder if he will pass the Death Penalty Test.
He said that he had no problems with assumption of innocence and other basic premises of law.
It turned out that he is a government teacher and what the judge had to say is something he teaches his students.
He said he believed in the rule of law and that he was fairly neutral about the death penalty. He also mentioned extenuating circumstances (aggravating and mitigating factors).
I'm sure both sides are going to be leery of this juror. As a teacher who knows a lot about the law, he could end up being the jury foreman and "teach" the jurors. Which way he would go would have a profound effect on deliberations.
He said that he had no problems recommending the death sentence or life without parole based on going through the process.
He passed the Death Penalty Test, so now we were on to voir dire about media exposure.
The state had no questions, but Ann Finnel did give her Test. (How many times have we heard it?)
I was surprised that he didn't know that in Florida, death is by lethal injection.
Juror 3170 passed the Ann Finnel Test and we were now on to general voir dire.
Frank George spoke to the juror. He has been married for 4 years. He was married 2 previous times. He's never reported for jury duty before. He has one son from his first marriage and he is 23. His son does not have children. He does have two step-children from his current marriage. One is 17, the other 16.
He had a DUI which was was lowered in a plea guilty of careless driving 6 years ago. He said he holds no ill will against the system.
Aside from teaching senior US Government, he is a drop-out prevention coordinator. He has taken a business law class and many US Government classes which cover law. He teaches about the criminal process in the class.
He said that what he would bring would not be "special" knowledge.
He also engaged in negotiations in a job with the Post Office as a Labor Specialist.
He said that he'd like to be on the jury because he believes in doing his civic duty. He even quoted Judge Perry. It would be a good experience and a help as a teaching tool
Cheney Mason came up to question next. He first asked the name of lawyer friend who comes to talk in his classes.
He said his school has a Criminal Justice Academy, but he is not connected with it.
There was a lot of discussion of what the people he brings in to speak to his classes teach the students and other aspects of general voir dire.
He reads Tom Clancy and Frank Baldacci.
Juror 3170 stepped outside and there was no challenge to him. We have juror pool member 17.
We had a 10 minute break. When the break was over, Jose Baez asked if they could approach the bench.
It was at this point that it struck me that Dorothy Simms was absent. Ms. Fryer, Cheney Mason's assistant took over the role of baby sitter today.
(I wonder if she was sent back to Orlando to digitize the documents or get them organized.)
Juror 3268 was called next. She told Judge Perry that she had heard about the case. She state that she just heard about the case on Monday when called for jury duty. She checked online and checked a timeline about the case. She said that she knew there was a gap.
At the time the case occurred, she was out of the country.
When asked about the "gap" she said that there was a gap of time between the time the child went missing there was a time before she was reported missing. She also heard that there was another person of interest.
The same day, her mother told her that the little girl went missing, the mother was suspected, and that it was a horrible case. Her mother made no judgement about the case.
She said she had no opinion about Casey's guilt or innocence and that she could lay aside all she knew and judge the case on the evidence and the law.
Linda Burdick did the questioning for the state. The juror had been working on a boat from June 2008 thru 2010. She had been all over, from Canada, to Florida, to the Mediterranean.
She described her online search which lasted for about 20 minutes. She said that she saw a link with a script of the phone call between Casey Anthony and her mother. They were asking her questions about the child and she thought Casey had said she was wrongly excused. She said she saw photographs of the child, smiling and happy. She also saw pictures of Casey Anthony. They were party pictures which might have been on Facebook. She thought she saw 4 or 5 pictures.
She indicated that has not read blogs associated with the case.
I'm wondering why she didn't tell this to Judge Perry. Does she know more than she's saying?
As for the "other person of interest," she said it was the person was the one who found the body.
She recognized the parents and George's suicide attempt in Daytona.
She thought that it was "weird" or "strange" but that it hadn't made her form an opinion.
She said that she didn't follow any news about the case after her internet search. She thought the jury had been chosen Monday and that, on Wednesday, she was "in the clear" about being chosen for the case.
Jose Baez asked if she could set what she knew about the case when sitting on this case. He asked how certain she was in such a serious case.
She said she could, because, if she wasn't there, she didn't know.
Baez continued with this questioning and she kept saying she could. She felt there were no assumptions in what she read.
He then tried to clear up her answer to the point where she could "forget" what she knew.
When he asked if she could forget Judge Perry, she said "no", which brought about a moment of laughter.
She said that she couldn't block it out, but that she would not use it in making a decision.
This was excellent questioning by Mr. Baez.
Judge Perry then went on to question the prospective juror about the presumption of innocence. She said that she had no problem with that. She had a problem about weighing the evidence, she would have to hear from the defendant, in spite of being instructed that the defendant has the right not to testify.
The state was asked if they wanted to inquire and they said they didn't. The defense said the same.
Both sides agreed to excuse her because she would hold it against Ms. Anthony if she did not testify.
Juror 4046 was up next. She first heard about the case was when the little girl went missing. There was a baby sitter involved. She remembered they found the child. Then, she heard that the mother had been arrested. She also remembered that the mother of the child had gone out dancing at night.
She heard last week that there was a problem with the jury. Her husband told her that one of the jury members was also a witness.
She said that she saw the picture of the mother at a night club.
Juror 4046 said that she only had one conversation with her husband when the child was missing. She told him that she hoped the would find her.
She said that she had not formed an opinion about Casey's guilt or innocence.
She also told Judge Perry that she could not put whatever she knew about the case aside and could render a decision based on the law.
She gave a rather convoluted explanation about this and she said that it made her sad. She felt it should not be a form of entertainment.
Uh, that didn't answer the question!
Finally, the judge asked the question one more time and she finally understood it. Then, she said she could put her previous memories aside.
She pointed out that she hadn't heard the mother's side of the story and could not make a judgement until she did.
Judge Perry continued with the questioning after clearing that hot mess up. The juror said she understood reasonable doubt.
Jeff Ashton asked her questions about pre-trial publicity. First he asked her when she moved to North Carolina. She couldn't remember! She'd moved back and forth a couple of times.
She's clearly not an internet person and Jeff Ashton was finished.
I'm not so sure about this woman, she is nice and friendly, but I wonder about her ability to understand things the first time 'round.
Jose Baez had no questions!
We then went to the Death Penalty Test. She said that she has no opinion about the death penalty.
All of a sudden, there was a disturbance as a woman in the gallery shouted out "she killed someone anyway!" The woman was led out of court, shoes in hand. Judge Perry asked that she be held at the courthouse.
The juror was asked to step out and the defense moved to dismiss the juror because of the outburst. Jeff Ashton said that they should bring the woman back for questioning about the incident before deciding if she should be dismissed.
Judge Perry took a brief recess to look into the matter.
When Judge Perry resumed the bench, the Court Deputy escorted the lady back into court.
Elizabeth Ann Rogers appeared before the judge, crying copiously.
Judge Perry asked her if she had any reason for not being held in contempt of court.
She said that she is mentally challenged and had never been in court before. She didn't know why she said it. She said that she has a 3 year old.
The judge asked her how she is mentally challenged. She ran through a list of ailments from bi-polar disorder to PTSD to borderline personality disorder. She said that she needed her medications.
Judge Perry was very stern with her and said that, as a result of her actions, they may have to dismiss a potential juror.
The judge mentioned that she had said she took her medications at 6 AM.
She had been in the courthouse for another case, that she's not a bad person and she volunteers with the SPCA and goes to the methadone clinic every day.
He said that, but for her disability, he would have sentenced her to 179 days in the Pinellas County Jail. He did find her guilty of contempt and sentenced her to 2 days in Pinellas County Jail. He advised of her right to appeal.
He then swore her in. She repeated that she is a volunteer and is on Social Security for her mental illnesses. He appointed a public defender to represent her.
Juror 4046 was then called back to court.
Judge Perry asked if she recalled what the lady said. She said that she originally heard something, but then was engaged in a conversation with a detective and forgot.
The judge excused her. He was VERY angry and slammed something down on the bench.
Juror 4013 was called in next. She said that she had no financial hardship. Judge Perry asked if she had any other hardships and she said she didn't. The judge asked her to think about it. She said it was a long time to be gone. In the end, she said that she would be fine.
She had heard about this case in the news media. She said that she was more into it when the little girl went missing, kept up with it up until Casey's arrest.
She remembered that the little girl went missing and they thought Ms. Anthony was missing and arrested for it. They found the body. She saw pictures on the news. The pictures were of people wearing the T-shirts and other pictures as well. She didn't recall what they were.
She did no internet searches but did remember Casey's parents and how devastated they were. They were the ones with the T-shirts on. She didn't keep up after that.
She said she'd been around when others expressed opinions about Ms. Anthony, that she was guilty. She said that she hoped she's not.
Juror 4013 said that she had not formed an opinion since she's not one to judge someone if you don't really know.
She said she could put what she knew aside to judge the case.
Frank George asked further questions. She watched Nancy Grace occasionally until the body was found.
She recalled seeing the protestors outside the house and the bounty hunter.
She mentioned that Nancy Grace had people on with different opinions. She repeated that she still hoped she didn't do it.
She never read about the case on the internet.
Jose Baez then inquired. He asked her if she took what was on Nancy Grace seriously or if it was like wrestling!
Baez then asked her if she'd ever had to block something from her mind before and she said that she said everybody does it.
She said what she would be "okay" with the evidence.
Baez asked a lot more questions on the topic and this juror wouldn't budge with her opinion that she hoped Casey didn't do it.
It was then Judge Perry's turn to discuss the murder in the 1st degree charge.
This juror could assume the innocence of the defendant and that she would not hold it against her if she did not testify.
Then came the Death Penalty Test. She stated she hadn't thought about it. She passed the questions about aggravating and mitigating circumstances. She then passed the test when she said that she could impose the death penalty if supported by facts of the case and the law as well as impose a sentence of life without parole.
The state did not question this prospective juror. Then, we had Ann Finnel and her Test.
Juror 4013 passed the Ann Finnel Test with flying colors.
Frank George questioned her about her husband. She was a widow whose husband died last year after being released from serving 6 years for drugs. She hadn't lived with him in the time prior to his legal problems.
She felt her husband's jail dealings would have no effect on her concerning this case.
She has a son who is 12. She lives with her parents and they help her. She is 37 years old.
She went through the 11th grade and works at a car dealership. She also worked as a telemarketer.
She had been in trouble with the law for bounced checks. They approached the bar to go into details.
There was some more questioning by Frank George.
Her son has lived with his grandparents for most of his life. There were some times when she left him with her parents.
When asked if she wanted to be on the jury, she thought she could, it could be fun. She said she'd like to know what really happened.
The defense had no questions.
After she stepped outside, the state and state said they had no objections. She became juror 18.
She isn't an ideal juror, but I think both sides are holding onto their peremptory challenges until the final moment.
There was some talk about jurors who are coming in this afternoon and then lunch was called until 1:10.
Judge Perry took the bench at 1:15.
The next juror was 4191. Based on the opinion of others, he felt that Casey is guilty.
He understood the presumption of innocence and that the defense does not have to prove anything and Casey Anthony does have the right not to testify.
He had not read anything about the case and said that his opinion came from others.
He said that he thought it would be difficult to do it, but he probably could. He said that he can be because of the stakes of the case. He said if he was placed on a case he could be impartial.
Linda Burdick questioned him about pre-trial publicity.
He said that his friends, family, and other people had given him those opinions.
He mentioned that in the past few days, there was a lot of speculation among the prospective jurors he heard a lot of negative opinions about Casey.
Weren't there supposed to be people monitoring the jury room?
When further questioned, he said it was the sheer number of negative opinions that made him had his decision.
He apparently got very little first-hand information from the media.
He said that the "stakes" in the trial was the death penalty, which he doesn't take lightly.
Burdick asked if he could fairly judge without having other opinions "bleed" into his thinking.
Jose Baez was up next. He also delved into the unusual situation of this juror, who seemed to have no direct knowledge, yet had an opinion.
He said he would like to be part of the decision making, but that it would lay heavily on him. He said the process intrigued him, but the punishment phase would be hard for him.
Baez then asked how he could put the information aside. He said that if he was going to be part of the group who makes the decision, he would not let what other people told him affect him.
Baez asked about the jury room. There were two or three groups talking about it. It was the large group closer to the beginning.
This gentleman said that he is against the death penalty for religious reasons.
He said that the possibility of the death penalty would deter him from finding Ms. Anthony guilty of 1st degree murder.
There were no questions and the juror was dismissed for cause over the objection of the defense, as usual.
Next, we had juror 4156. She stated that she feels Casey Anthony is guilty. As a mother of 2, she could not imagine a mother not notifying the police for 31 days.
She lost a lot of sleep thinking if she could put her opinion aside. She said she was not sure she could be a fair and impartial juror.
There was no questioning and the juror was dismissed for cause.
Juror 4023 came next. She said that, because of the emotional nature of the case, she might not be able to judge the case fairly.
There were no questions and the juror was dismissed for cause.
They are dropping like flies today!
We then heard from juror 4192. He had very little knowledge of the case. He said he gets his news from friends and family, not the media. He's heard nothing from them about the case.
He said he had not opinion about Ms. Anthony concerning this case.
The state did not ask any questions.
I'm not sure if Judge Perry asked the defense if they wanted to ask questions, but they didn't complain at the time. Perhaps Jose Baez just shook his head no.
When asked about the death penalty, he said that it would depend on the case. When asked what kind of case, he said "rape" cases. The judge then went on with further explanation.
He answered the remainder of Judge Perry's question easily and correctly.
Once juror 4192 passed the Death Penalty test, he was subjected to the Ann Finnel Test. This young man flew through the questions easily. Ms. Finnel did change one question, though. Instead of asking the ruler question, she asked that if there were a referendum on the death penalty in Florida, how would you vote? He said he couldn't answer.
Having passed the test, he went on to general voir dire with Linda Burdick.
This juror is 25 years old and single with no children. He has a step sister and brother in their 30's and a younger brother 22. He is a carpenter. He sells shoes and has done child care for 3 and 4-year olds.
He had been accused of a crime. He was charged with paraphanalia and possession. He was given probation and one charge was dismissed. This occurred when he was 16. He has no negative feelings towards the criminal justice system.
Last season, he went to Orlando for the Orlando Magic finals. He went there for college parties when he as young. He mainly went to dorms at UCF.
He has 4 nieces and nephews under 7. He assumes responsibility for their care sometimes.
He said he's not very good with computers.
Cheney Mason inquired for the defense. His hobby is playing sports video games. He only watches DVR's on TV.
When asked if he wanted to be on the jury, he said that "it is what it is" and his civic duty. There would be no financial issues because he lives with his parents and has no bills.
Mason then tried to go over some topics discussed earlier and tried to find out how he would influence or be influenced by other jurors.
He said that he is not interested much in forensic sciences.
When Mason finished, the juror left the courtroom. There were no objections and juror 4192 became #19.
According to the judge there are 2 more to question. He then called a 10 minute recess.
Juror 4060 was brought in next. We first learned what she knew about the case. She knew that there was a missing little girl. She had seen a picture of the little girl and a picture of the defendant. She noticed nothing unusual about the photographs. She didn't recall anything she learned from the media.
She heard people talking about the case when it first happened, but didn't recall in detail. Again, it was just that the little girl was missing.
She said that she had not formed an opinion about the case or Casey's guilt or innocence.
Juror 4060 said she could put aside what she knew about the case.
Jeff Ashton asked if she knew any reason why the mother would be a suspect. She said she didn’t..
Jose Baez did not ask any questions.
There was no problem for her when she answered Judge Perry's questions. She said she would not hold it against Casey if she did not testify.
When she was informed that the case is a death penalty case, he went through the Death Penalty Test.
She said that she is against the death penalty and would have difficulty finding Casey guilty of 1st degree murder because she could not impose the death penalty.
As was usual, she was dismissed over defense objections.
Juror number 4123 was called last. There was an immediate side bar.
When it broke up, Judge Perry brought the juror into the courtroom.
She began by telling her knowledge of the case. She said that there was a little girl was missing, the body was found, and they accused the mother. She didn't know the names of Cindy and George Anthony.
She saw photographs of the little girl and the mom. It was just a head shot of the mom.
She has heard people talk about the case. Most of what she has heard, were excuses on how to get out of jury duty!
She learned the most about the case when Perry read the indictments.
She hasn't formed any impression about Casey's innocence or guilt. She reminded the judge that he said that people are innocent until proven guilty.
Frank George asked a few questions about her media exposure. She apparently had very little.
Jose Baez chose to interview this juror. She told him that driving to dinner with her husband, she turned the news off. She wouldn't let him watch his favorite news shows last night. She hasn't discussed the case with him at all.
She added that she knew that they were searching for the girl.
Next came Judge Perry's Death Penalty Test. This juror had a lot of difficulty in commiting to the death penalty. The judge read the law to her and explained some more and she finally said she could impose the death penalty. She could also vote for life without parole.
Jeff Ashton asked some questions. He first went through a more detailed version than the judge concerning reasonable doubt versus the preponderance of the evidence. He explained the law does not tell her she doesn't HAVE to vote for the death penalty, it will always be her choice.
By the end, she said it would be difficult, but she could.
She said she felt privileged to serve on the jury and was waiting for the evidence to come forward.
We were then treated to a few questions by Ann Finnel. (I guess I could call it the Ann Finnel Test: Short Form).
We then moved on to general voir dire with Frank George.
(I am getting pretty punchy about now.)
She has been married for six years and does not have children. It is her third (and last) marriage.
She has a brother who is a Major in the Louisville Police Department. They are not close because they were raised by their parents separately. He has two children.
She was robbed at gunpoint in a convenience store in 1985 and nobody was arrested.
She has been accused of a crime (which they had already discussed at a sidebar).
She is disabled. She has some bad disks in her back with sciatica. She takes medication for back pain and also depression which is under control.
She fosters cats and her husband is a bank courier.
She said that she felt blessed to be able to be on the jury as she had her civil rights returned.
Jose Baez spoke to her about the presumption of innocence.
There were no new questions here, just reruns I sometimes refer to as the Ann Finnel Junior Test.
Once Baez finished speaking, the juror was asked to leave the courtroom.
There were no objections from either side and we now had juror number 20.
The judge then mentioned a juror 3016. They said they would take part of it up in camera.Juror 3016 was one who went through voir dire yesterday.
As it turned out, we heard no more of this.
There was then a lengthy break when the Perry and all the attorneys went in camera to discuss jury selection and strikes.
In the meantime, Casey Anthony was led from the courtroom.
What would happen next was anybody's guess. As I wrote those words, something interesting did happen next.
The lady from this morning was brought into the courtroom, in jail garb and still crying. Apparently, the rules in Pinellas are different and they had to start the proceedings over. She was accompanied by an attorney, a Mr. Wolf.
Judge Perry summarized the entire situation from this morning for Mr. Wolf. Then Wolf asked her to explain what happened. Here is pretty much what she said:
She was getting her fiancé to jail for domestic and she didn't take her medicine this morning. She's had no food or water all day. She's had no toilet paper. She told the judge she took her medication at 6, she meant she had taken her methadone and not the other medications because she was in a hurry.. She was thinking about how she was going to fix a 2 year abusive relationship
Mr. Wolf then gave a brief summary of what she had told him. He indicated that as soon as she said this, she regretted it.
Judge Perry said that one of the hallmarks of a free society is the ability to go into a courtroom. One doesn't have the right, however, to stand up and say something such as what Ms. Rogers said. It showed some forethought and to realize she was in a courtroom where someone was on trial for killing for someone. He pointed out it cost him a potential juror.
While he was mindful of the fact she suffers from bi-polar disorder, he felt that, at the time, he felt the 2-day sentence was appropriate. He then ruled as he did before. She will be out of jail tomorrow.
We then had another brief recess.
Finally, court was back in session again and Judge Perry said that they had exhausted the jury pool.
The state then struck juror 3308 and, in agreement with the defense, would add him to the end of the alternate list. (This was the juror who had a distrust of law enforcement he discussed in depth at a side bar the other day.)
The defense then struck number 1340.
Jose then made a motion asking for more peremptory challenges because they were not allowed to use for cause-challenges on jurors 1129, 1011, 3119.
Judge Perry denied the request.
The state and defense had agreed to use peremptory challenges on alternate jurors 3281 (defense) and 4123 (state). The remaining jurors would be the alternates.
The defense then objected to the jury as seated as they would have used the extra peremptory challenges.
The judge noted that the defense objected strongly and even mentioned the case law they should cite in their objection! Then Casey Anthony said she had had adequate input into the jury selection, noting the defense objection.
The jurors were then announced.
Check out this list for more details about the jurors.
The attorneys and Casey Anthony then moved to the other side of their tables.
Prior to the jurors being let into the courtroom, Judge Perry gave very strong warnings about people trying to talk to the jurors or interfere with them in any way.
With that, the jurors were brought into the courtroom and sworn in.
The judge gave them their instructions in a stern voice. Even though they are not officially sequestered, their lives are as sequestered as if they were in Orlando.
This time, Casey faced her jury straight on. She will get to know their faces very well. She will be sitting in the courtroom facing them each and every day of her trial. They are the ones who will listen to the testimony and see the evidence. They are the ones who will deliberate and decide her fate
Judge Perry returned to the courtroom and thanked Chief Judge Tom McGrady, his staff, his PIO officer, and the court deputies for the great job they did.
He also said that the prosecution and the defense thanked them as well.
In order for the jury to get ready for their long period of sequestration, Judge Perry announced that the trial will start Tuesday, May 24, at 9 AM.