Thursday, March 12, 2009

Casey Anthony: March 12 Pre-Trial Hearing, Score: Conway 1/2, Baez 0

The title of this article may be a bit flippant, but after today, it's appropriate! One motion was granted, sort of, and two were essentially declared moot. One defense motion was denied.

The hearing began at 3:05 PM. In attendance were George and Cindy Anthony sitting behind their daughter in her support. Jose Baez and Linda Kenney Baden representing Casey Anthony sat with their client, Casey Anthony who fidgeted with various items of her clothing throughout the proceedings. Bradley Conway was there to represent George Anthony. Judge Stan Strickland presided over the hearing.

Bradley Conway began the proceeding by discussing his Motion To Restrict Disclosure. Conway basically explained that the information did not have evidential value and would only embarrass and annoy the family. He also made a point of stating that the police had broken into George's car after he was taken to the hospital following his suicide attempt, thus gaining access to the letter. He also indicated that if, at a future time, the contents of the letter were to be decided to be of evidential value, he would be willing to argue a motion at that time.

State's Assistant Attorney Linda Drane-Burdick indicated that they "didn't have a dog in this fight" and had no opinion on the issue.

Judge Stan Strickland pointed out that the media had not been noticed about the hearing and did not have any representatives present. He granted the motion saying that nothing in the suicide note was relevant to case at this point. He did state the issue could be reopened if the media filed a motion.

Since Jose Baez is a fan of baseball analogies, I'll say the defense team was next at bat. Before he begins his arguments, he asks the judge to not allow the cameraman to zoom-in on Casey's notes this time. The judge stated he wasn't aware of that happening, but assures Baez that they will not do this. I'm wondering if that's the reason we only had a rear-view of the last hearing. Perhaps that was the judge's way of "punishing" the cameraman!

The first motion argued was the Amended Motion To Compel DNA Bench Notes-Reports And Standards. Linda Kenney-Baden told the court that the defense needed all of this information. They needed more than the reports. They needed the bench notes and a whole lot of other stuff I missed because she speaks very, very fast! Suffice it to say, they want it all and they want it NOW! She used a movie analogy. "It's like buying a ticket to a movie but not watching it and saying you saw the movie." Get it?

State's Assistant Attorney Jeffrey Ashton pointed out to the judge that the State had turned over all material they have to the defense. The State does not have the materials the defense is asking for and is not required to provide the materials the defense is asking for.

Then, we got into a discussion we have heard a number of times before. The judges of the State of Florida do not have jurisdiction over Federal entities such as the Oak Ridge Labs and the FBI. If the defense wants this information, Ashton said (possibly for the umpteenth time in this case) that all they have to do is make two phone calls to these entities and ask for it. Then, it is up to those entities to decide what they will give the defense.

Kenney-Baden pointed out that the FBI does not send bench notes to 3rd parties (the defense). The prosecution has to ask for it. She indicated that that the judge could ultimately preclude testimony during trial if the defense wasn't given this information.

Ashton stated that it is not incumbent on him to get this information. He also said he didn't want to be put in a position where he was "in the middle" of the situation between the defense and the Oak Ridge Labs and the FBI. He pointed out that this court's subpoena power ends at the state line. He added that the judge can't order him to get information for the defense. He also said that counsel will get bench notes if they make two phone calls.

Ashton added that after the defense found anything missing after that, he would deal with them. The defense can call him and he'll tell them what he objects to.

Judge Strickland declared that this issue was moot. He pointed out to Kenney-Baden that she hadn't even tried to get the information she wanted. He told her she doesn't have a letter from either of these entities denying her access to it. He also informed the defense that they should do what they can to get the information they want and file another motion later if necessary. At that point, he seemed to indicate that he wouldn't expect the prosecution to get the information unless the defense proved they HAD to get it through them.

The judge said they should wait for the objections (from the prosecution) and see what the FBI and Oak Ridge labs give them.

Kenney-Baden asked, "If the labs say no and (Ashton) objects, do we need to go back to court to discuss the issues?

The judge responded, "yes."

Ashton then indicated that the defense had already received a copy of the DNA parentage report.

Ashton then turned the discussion over to an attorney for Orlando County's Office of the Medical Examiner, Robert Guthrie. He stated he was in the process of gathering all the information asked for by the defense. (I'll spare you the details!) The exception was the material the defense wanted about the Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Jan Garavaglia's arrangements with Discovery Health and that she may object. In the end, Kenney-Baden stated that she will accept the documents from the ME's office by March 20 and will "go from there"( in the information they want from Dr. Garavaglia).

In the end, there was no decision on this motion. Some items have been resolved and others are bound to come up at a future date!

Next up was a motion originally filed on January 23. It is a Motion For Sanctions. Since this portion of the hearing gave viewers a glimpse as to what the trial may bring, I'm going back to the videotape and give you some detailed information (unless there was a commercial.)

Baez opened with the following statement:

Uh, Judge, from, I guess, uh, prior to us, uh, once we arrived, um, uh, I pretty much laid it out in my thirteen paragraph motion, the facts that gave rise to what we believe, ah, has put us in a position where we are required to ask for sanctions.

I will spare you, dear readers, and myself from anymore transcriptions!

He stated that the State may call some witnesses and that he would prefer to leave his argument until after the testimony is given, with the Judge's permission. If not, he stated he was willing to outline it for the court.

At this point, Drane-Burdick pointed out that this is an evidentiary motion, filed by Mr. Baez, and it is incumbent upon him to produce evidence in support of his motion. If Baez didn't want to do so, she said she would like the court to strike the motion. She also pointed out that she had asked Baez to withdraw the motion as moot.

Drane-Burdick also stated that if he chose to continue, she would be happy to cross-examine any witnesses he would provide.

Baez then stated he would lay out the facts himself. Drane-Burdick objected, stating that if Mr. Baez wants to testify, she will be able to cross-examine him!

Baez agreed to lay out the facts "as they are."

At this point, the judge, slowly and methodically began to explain to Baez that he has brought the motion for sanctions, claiming the State has failed to provide him with information... He thought better of it and calls for a sidebar. It lasted quite a while.

After the sidebar, Baez called his one-and-only witness to the stand. It is CSI2 Gerardo Bloise. Baez tried to make a joke and asked, it's GERARDO, not GERALDO. That one fell flat for many reasons.

The issue in this motion for sanctions is that the defense claimed the white plastic garbage bag that had originally been in the car. By the time Dr. Henry Lee came to examine the car on November 14, the bag and its contents weren't there. Biological and entomological evidence had been sent out to experts David Hall (botanist) and Neil Haskell (entomologist) for study on July 16, the day the bag was taken from the dumpster at Amscot where an employee had thrown it. Neither of these gentlemen were on the State's witness list.

Baez questioned CSI Bloise extensively about his job description and what work he had done to process the car. Blosie stated that it was his job to inspect the car and process the evidence it contained. He did this with his supervisor, Michael Vincent.

Bloise stated he collected some hairs from the trunk and that they were immediately sent to the FBI labs. Baez asks about the nature of the testing done to the hair and Linda Drane-Burdick objected, pointing out that this information has nothing to do with the motion.

This combination of Baez questions and Drane-Burdick objections occurred with many of the questions asked. Many of Baez's questions had nothing to do with the motion.

Baez asked about the garbage bag. Bloise testified the bag wasn't in the car when he received it. He didn't remember when he was told there was garbage in the trunk.

Baez kept asking if anyone ever told him about the bag and Bloise continued saying he didn't remember. Bloise frequently mentioned that the questions that were being asked of him would be better asked of his supervisor, Michael Vincent.

He also asked if Michael Vincent sent out just the bag for testing. He asked if there were any liquids in the bag, was the bag moist, was anything else sent to Dr. Haskell the 28th? Baez refreshed Bloise's memory with Michael Vincent's report. Bloise added that maggots and pupa were sent out.

Bloise also testified that he collected and preserved the garbage. When asked by Baez if he was aware of the evidential value of the garbage, he responded that that was Dr. Haskell's job.

There was yet another objection by Drane-Burdick to limit the questions to the content of the motion.

Moving over a lot of questions here, Baez finally got to Dr. Lee's visit on November 14. Baez stated they were there to inspect the car and its contents. Bloise stated the garbage from the bag was in the evidence section and it was brought over for Dr. Lee to inspect. Bloise also testified that he advised Dr. Lee that the garbage bag was in the Tennessee lab.

Baez then asked about Bloise's notes. Bloise explained that it was SOP to take his notes and write a report from them on his computer and then destroy the notes. Baez went over and over and over this information again and again and again until Drane-Burdick objected.

Baez somehow mentioned that Dr. Lee discovered 17 hairs in the trunk. They were collected by CSI and sent out for testing.

Once he mentioned the 17 hairs, Drane-Burdick objected yet again as to the relevance and Baez was finished with the witness.

Drane-Burdick, in her cross-examination of the witness elicited the fact that Lee was afforded the opportunity to place the car on the lift to further examine it. However, Lee had to catch a plane and didn't get around to doing that. She went on to elicit that that Lee ended the inspection voluntarily. Other facts that came out were that Lee was informed immediatly that the garbage bag was in Tennessee.

Drane-Burdick also asked Bloise when he destroyed his notes. He explained that he routinely destroys his notes once his report is memorialized on the computer.

Baez then questioned Bloise again. The main thrust was that Bloise's report was written 1/1/09. Bloise explained (yet again) that every time he worked on evidence from the case, he would take notes and then write a report on it, destroy his notes. His "report" was actually an accumulation of all his entries made as he worked with evidence. 1/1/09 was the date that his supervisor signed the report.

Somewhere earlier on, Baez had asked Bloise if he took notes during Dr. Lee's examination of the car. Bloise answered that he hadn't. Later in the questioning he asked Bloise where his notes were that he told Dr. Lee the bag was in a lab in Tennessee. Bloise again said he took no notes.

After again telling Bloise he wrote his report 1/1/09 and Bloise again explained the procedures he followed... it was over.

To summarize, Baez stated that he and his team were never informed that material was taken from the car and sent to Haskell and Hall.

I didn't quite follow it at this point, but Baez pulls an A-Rod analogy for Dr. Haskell.

One thing I don't understand about today is that the bag was removed from the car at Amscot and was not in the car when Bloise examined it. Why he was called about this information, which he only learned about later, is beyond me. He essentially processed what he was given, period.

Baez kept repeating that the State failed to disclose this information at the time, in spite of the fact that Bloise testified under oath he told Dr. Lee about the bag and had inspected the garbage retrieved from it. Baez stated that the State should pay for a return visit by Dr. Lee to complete his examination.

Drane-Burdick pointed out that Baez, through his own witness, proved that they were aware of the facts, CSI Bloise had testified that he had informed Lee about the disposition of the questioned evidence and that they were in his own motion! She also pointed out that they had, although they didn't have to, stood there by Dr. Lee and informed him of the status of the investigation.

She also pointed out that, until the defense team and their experts came out to the crime scene where LE was excavating the bones and evidence in December, they hadn't made any effort to review the evidence.

In the end, Judge Strickland denied the motion. He said, "For sanctions, you need misconduct." He also indicated to the defense that discovery is a continuing process and that the defense would get information as it became available to the State.

Okay, loyal readers, if this is a hint at what is to come, it's going to be one tough trial to follow!

The final motion to be discussed today was the Motion to Compel Copies of the Screen Shots or Printouts Concerning the Forensic Examination Done of the Computer of Ricardo Morales which was filed January 23.

I'm just going to summarize this one in as short a manner as possible. There was something the defense felt they didn't have from the computer. Drane-Burdick pointed out that Yuri Melich wrote a report about the computer search and said investigators hadn't found anything of evidential value. The report also indicated that material had been deleted the day it was taken by LE. In the report, it said that the deletions were automatic.

The defense already had the copy of the entire hard drive, but wanted all the notes and reports. Obviously, they don't want to pay an expert of their own to do all the analysis. In the end, it seemed to end up that the prosecution agreed to supply them with something or other.

Unfortunately, I couldn't understand much of what happened because Linda Kenney-Baden was apparently still at the podium and was breathing heavily into the microphone, which drowned out most of the main points of the end of the hearing.

If anybody out there heard something I didn't, please let me know!

Many thanks to Sedonia Sunset for being my fresh set of eyes and helping me to edit.


Anonymous said...

RN your coverage of this case has been excellent! Keep up the good work!

But I'm confused - why would the defense (most notably Linda Kenney-Baden) want anything from the Oak Ridge nuclear facilities?

My uncle helped build the community back in the 40's, and my cousin worked there in a military capacity for many years. It is heavily guarded and is not easily accessed.

Why the heck are the Anthony clan asking for Oak Ridge info?

I can tell you first hand - if you drive your car on the access roads to either Y12 or the K facility, you will be stopped by military officials. And you will be turned back, or arrested.

Of course, with Linda KB on the case, we can rest assured that all issues will be muddled.

Anonymous said...

"breathing heavily into the microphone" caused, most likely, by peroxide seeping into the skin and affecting the lungs. This woman and her crew are going to cost the taxpayers of FL a fortune. And how are these defense attys to be paid? I heard on Headline News that they are attempting to squash any attempts to reveal that. Is it book deals or photos that they are brokering? That would be a blatent conflict-of-interest....something that has never bothered the Badens, as we know from Phil Spector Trail #1.

Anonymous said...

will the defense subpena dr. henry lee. they better or he may not show up. and some nerve about possible misconduct... dr. lee where is the white nail?

ritanita said...

Hey Trep!

You sure are fast...

In our case, the Oak Ridge labs have done a lot of forensic testing. That includes the "Body Farm" where gas chromatography mass spectometry (or something similar) was done to identify the components of human decomposition in the air in the trunk of Casey's car. It was the first evidence that Caylee's body had been there.

Those labs do a lot more than you'd ever realize!

Best part is they aren't in Florida and are a Federal facility which makes it interesting, discovery-wise.

Unknown said...

Everyone in chat who watched the hearing, today, was trying to figure out what was going on. lol

No wonder we couldn't figure out what Baez was saying... hahaha

Good job!


Anonymous said...

Baez's "performance" was pitiful. Bush league is charitable. He files an evidenciary motion and then acts like he does not need to put on evidence. You've gotta be kidding me. If he's my lawyer I'm a bit (read a whole bunch) nervous after he flounders his way through this hearing!

shari said...

Sounds like Dr. Lee is STILL having trouble remembering what evidence he has seen, handled, been told about etc. Maybe it's time to hang up the old microscope and retire.....fat chance!

Unknown said...

Many anchors (most recently Jane V-M, "Issues") have given Linda Kenney-Baden ("..she's brilliant") credit for Spector's hung jury. Not so, says I: that hung jury was NOT the result of good lawyering, it was the result of bad jury-ing. Juror #10 is a well-educated nutbar.


ritanita said...


I won't begin to tell you how long it took me to transcribe that little bit. The whole hearing, with the exception of Conway, had my head spinning!

shari, anonymous,

What is so interesting here is that Baez was trying to pull out of CSI Bloise that he never told Dr. Lee about the location of the bag. He made a big deal out of it. Uh, wasn't Mr. Baez there with Lee that day? He doesn't remember?

Another thing... those hairs were immediately sent out for testing. It will be interesting to see to whom they belong.

Finally, I'm surprised it didn't come out in the hearing that the bag was not in the car when LE seized it on July 16. It had been collected separately since it had been tossed in the Amscot dumpster. Baez made a big deal about Bloise not seeing the trunk AS IT WAS! Well now, he did see how it was... Bagless and trashless.


The worst part of his whole motion is that he was able to say, back on January 23, when he filed the motion he aready knew what he said he wasn't given. As Linda Drane-Burdick so artfully pointed out, Mr. Baez's own witness belied the accusations in the motion.


Having watched the entire Spector Trial I, I have to agree with you about Ms. Baden. I have my notes from Alan Jackson's closing argument and they are exquisite and easy to read. I gave up on her closing as it was so rambling and hard to follow.

katfish said...

Thanks for another great report! I have only seen parts of this hearing but if this is a peek into the way the trial will go .....we are in for a doosey what with LKB hollering and Baez whining.
I'm beginning to think perhaps some of this " CA dream(fantasy seems more appropro)team" are donating their services as they seem to want the state to do all their work for them or pay them to do it.
One last observation,if LKB had delivered the closing in PS #1 without that highlighter jammed in her mouth most of the time it may have been coherant.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I think of LKB's closing in the Spector I trial, I mostly think of ONE thing. Referring to the DNA samples from THREE different people that were found on Spector's genitals, she said: "What can I say? He was a busy man that night!" The implication was very obviously that Phil was a sex machine with the ladies. She neglected to mention at that point that the DNA was from three different MEN! It was so BLATANTLY disingenuous (not to mention ridiculous since the jury already KNEW that it was male DNA) that it still sticks in my mind.

She'll fit right in with Casey Anthony (who also cannot keep track of her story-telling and spins virtually every aspect of her life).

Sprocket said...


Your dedication to the details and nuances of this case needs to be commended! You're providing excellent coverage of the Anthony case for our readers here. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the results of all the hair samples found in the trunk. At least Dr. Lee didn't hide the evidence this time. People are getting tired of the defense saying poor police investigation. Mr. Baez may have made one important decision if he does not use this defense at trial. He may also want to limit LKB from speaking so often as she is quite annoying. I think the tot mom is quilty but the words about just how petrified she is of her mother is holding her back from telling the truth. She may think jail is much better than having to tell her mother the truth.

mae919 said...

Just wanted to correct this fact for the record. The bag of garbage was not in the dumpster at Amscot, but in the dumpster at the tow yard where the car was towed. When george went to pick up the car the owner of the tow yard opened the trunk in the presents of george and tossed the bag in the dumpster. This bag was later removed from the dumpster by LE. Enjoyed reading your post just wanted to correct this fact.