In it, Cheney Mason had a fit that Perry had announced to the jury that the defense case in chief would begin on Thursday, June 16. Mason told the judge to give an instruction to the jury that the defense was under no obligation to present a case. Perry refused, pointing out that Mr. Baez had been telling him that the defense would put on a case! Perry also told the defense that they were lying to him!
That's not a good thing for the judge to say, but I have to cut him some slack. The defense has made many representations to the court that turned out not to be true. Just go back to the hearings where Jose Baez told the judge that documents would be provided, and never were.
I'm sure there is more, but we aren't privy to most of it. To view the sequence of events that occurred, watch this video from WFTV beginning at 21:52.
Yesterday, Jeff Ashton announced that there were a few housekeeping details the prosecution needed to take care of. They need to introduce two additional sealed cans with carpet samples and deal with an item of judicial notice.
Jeff Ashton noted that, since the defense had no witnesses for Wednesday, he asked if these minor details be taken care of, Cheney Mason seemed to be in a high dudgeon that the prosecution would use part of the defense's first day of testimony (ironically, the third anniversary of Caylee Anthony's death) to their purposes before they rested their case. He told Ashton to either rest, or don't rest!
This meant that today, the jury will be hauled into the court for these things and then bussed back to their hotel.
Linda Burdick then made a comment to the defense team that, that, since they were coming back tomorrow (today), she wanted to be sure that she could take the defense at their word that they were not going to present witnesses! She stated she didn't want some "surprise" from the defense. She also asked for a list of witnesses. Cheney Mason said he'd get it to her tomorrow! You can watch the entire sequence here at 22:10.
A Short Day In Court
Live coverage of today's session started when Casey Anthony made her traditional entrance at 8:55. Before she could sit down, an officer talked to her and she was sent back to her holding area.
Then, Judge Perry, in shirt sleeves appeared on screen for a moment with papers in his hand.
In listening to InSession, it would seem that all the lawyers are in chambers with the court reporter.
The attorneys returned to the courtroom and the session was called to order at 9:13.
First, the state had some evidence to introduce. As to the Judicial Notice, Frank George told Judge Perry that the two sides had come to an agreement and a stipulation was made. Casey signed off on it also. It said that on July 2, 2008, she had gotten the tattoo, Bella Vita, which meant Beautiful Life.
As to the cans, Jose Baez asked if the cans were going to be used as a sniff test. John Ashton said that wasn't their plan.
Cheney Mason brought up the issue of the jury view of item 313. He wanted to know how the jury came to agreement as to seeing it and wanted the jury instructed on it. Jeff Ashton said that the jury had the right to ask to see evidence. Mason then dropped the issue.
The jury was then called in.
Frank George requested that Judge Perry read the stipulation to the jury.
Jeff Ashton moved for the two cans to be put into evidence. Baez agreed with that, with his usual objections.
Linda Burdick then stood and announced that the State rested its case.
Judge Perry then told the jury that they had legal matters to discuss which would take a long time. He then dismissed them for the day. Then, he addressed the defense and said that they had only presented the documents to him that morning! Mr. Mason told the judge he might be familiar with some of them and could read them after the arguments. Then, Mason asked Judge Perry if the state had provided cases this morning. Ms. Burdick indicated that the state had presented their documents to him on Monday.
It was then the defense's responsibility to make their Motion for a Judgement of Acquittal. These motions normally fail, but are necessary to preserve the record on appeal.
Cheney Mason spoke for the defense. I listened to his arguments and attempted to get all the pertinent information down. That, of course was an impossibility due to the pace and clarity with which he spoke.
Here is a summary of his basic arguments:
1. The state could not prove premeditated 1st degree murder.
- The evidence has to be consistent with the fact that there is no other person who could have committed the crime.
- The ruling of homicide by Dr. Garavaglia had been reached by the preponderance of the evidence.
- There is no evidence of when the child died, where she died, who was in attendance when she died. The state has failed to rebut the case for accidental death.
- The state has not proven premeditation. The state's argument has to be inconsistent with any other reasonable hypotheses.
- There was no history of prior abuse of the child. The first 18 witnesses called confirmed that she was a dedicated, doting, loving, caring, mother. They only said that she was a liar.
- He asserted that there was no proof of intentional abuse. The defense had asked the witnesses and none of them saw torture or any type of child abuse.
- The state had not proven that the was caused by neglect by Casey Anthony.
- The presence of duct tape on or near the remains only allows a suspicion.
In his closing, Mason stressed that:
- The state had to prove every point to beyond a reasonable doubt.
- It is a totally circumstantial case and there was no evidence to tie the death to Casey Anthony to the exclusion of all others.
- There was no scientific expert who could say that the hair absolutely came from a dead person.
- The only testimony was that an FBI analyst saw the outline of the sticker and failed to photograph it. Therefore, there is no tie-in between the sticker found at the crime scene and the duct tape.
- There wasn't proof of the duct tape being the cause of death. If it were, the only evidence about it pointed to the father, not his client.
- No murder, no premeditation, no history of aggravated abuse, forensic evidence which is not totally conclusive.
- All inferences the state has presented at this point must be accepted in the best possible light for the purposes of this motion.
- Ms. Anthony's statements to friends, family, and LE had indicated that a nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez, had the child.
- Accident is a possibility, but Dr. G. stated unequivocally that it was not an accident.
- Mr. George Anthony has rebutted the defense claims. At this point, the Court must accept that.
- The weight of the evidence goes to the jury.
- The placement of 3 pieces of duct tape allowed time for premeditation.
- There is the possibility that the child died as a result of poisoning by chloroform.
- It is possible to argue that the child died as a result of the combination of the two based on evidence in the trunk and how the body were found.
- A reasonable jury could conclude that the strife between Cindy and Casey could be a motive.
- The computer searches show premeditation.
- State does not have to prove manner on death or location of death.
- To convict, they don't need the body of the victim.
- A reasonable jury could conclude that her death was caused by multiple pieces of duct tape, which would not constitute a single act of abuse. Also, the possible administration of a poison for whatever purpose could be considered.
- There is no evidence of poisoning by chloroform.
- Dr. Garavaglia's report cited that testing only showed trace levels of chloroform.
- The duct tape wasn't wound around the child's head at all. Two pieces were attached and one was 9-10 feet away. (Testimony showed it was 6.7 feet away.) There is no proof it caused the death.
- George Anthony used a piece of the tape on gas can and on fliers. He was the only person who had it. The defendant did not have the duct tape.
- The computer searches were unrelated to the crime, they were searches of self defense.
When he returned, he read from abundant case law. He also went through the facts in evidence. He then denied the motion.
Get ready for tomorrow! Court resumes at 9 AM tomorrow and the defense will be up at bat!
CASEY ANTHONY TRIAL QUICK LINKS