Thursday, October 8, 2009

Catching Up With Casey Anthony

OK, I took a vacation. It was just a short one, but it managed to coincide with the latest doc dump and a couple new motions. I missed the Defense Team Media Blitz and there has been a new hearing scheduled for next week. The prosecution has been granted their motion for George Anthony's grand jury testimony. Where to start?


Judge Stan Strickland has announced that he will hear five motions concerning the murder case at this hearing. The hearing will also address the status of the check fraud trial. Hopefully, he will set a date for this trial then.

According to clickorlando, "Judge Stan Strickland wants to put lawyers from Anthony's defense and the state attorney's office in the same room in an attempt to resolve several issues and get the case moving." Among motions still pending that won't be discussed at the hearing are the ones dealing with change of venue, videotaping, and the dropping of the death penalty filed by the defense in September.

The Motion to Dismiss Due to Spoliation of Evidence is the first motion up today. I discussed this one at length in an article posted September 17. The defense has been aiming at getting the physical evidence and the case tossed since the day Caylee's remains were discovered.

The State filed a Response on September 22. In my T&T entry on September 23, I went over this response at length. State's Assistant Attorney Jeffrey Ashton clearly pointed out that the defense needed to use correct terminology as they had used a civil term, "spoliation" to cover destruction of evidence and preservation of possibly exculpatory evidence. He asked for a list of witnesses to support the substantial burden of proof that the defense would bear. Well, the hearing is a week away and there has not been any response to this motion. I am going to assume at this point that the defense will argue that they don't need to present any more information than they have. The State and the defense at this point keep tossing the ball back and forth as to who has the burden of proof. Somehow, no proof is ever offered!

As with some of he other motions to be discussed at the hearing and some which are not, the defenses motions seem full of broad generalizations without specific facts to back them up. I've read the Memorandums that have accompanied some of the motions, and they seem to do the same thing. They repeat accusations with little argument as to proof. I expected more from the "Dream Team" defense attorneys.

Next up is the
State’s Motion to Strike Defendant’s Legally Flawed Motion to Dismiss Counts I and II. This is an interesting situation. While I was on vacation, the defense filed a Motion to Dismiss Counts 1 And II Of The Indictment Against Casey Marie Anthony.

Since I didn't get a chance to review the motion, I'll discuss it briefly here.

Count 1 is for First Degree Murder. The defense stated that the State had not established a prima facie case of guilt against Casey and that the Court had the right to dismiss the charge. One of my favorite lines from the motions state that:

5. There are no material facts in dispute in this case. Even viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the undisputed facts of this case show that the prosecution cannot prove its prima facie case for first degree murder. Specifically, the State cannot establish whether Caylee Anthony's death was accidental, natural or the result of an intentional or negligent homicide. Most importantly, there is no evidence to substantiate that Miss Anthony unlawfully and with premeditated design killed Caylee Anthony.

That left me with my mouth agape. No proof? Dr. Jan Garavaglia, the ME in the case clearly doesn't know exactly how Caylee died, but she knows it was a homicide, most likely due to the duct tape and the location of the remains wrapped in two black plastic garbage bags and a white laundry bag.

The motion goes on to say that this is a strictly circumstantial case and therefore should be dismissed. I am going to assume that the defense assumes the judge will assume that all the science is junk or tainted, therefore it doesn't exist. Likewise, the defense makes a huge leap here in saying that it's "only" a circumstantial case!

Remember Scott Peterson? There was no cause of death and precious little physical evidence, just the cement buoys and a few of Laci's hairs on a pair of pliers on his boat. He's on death row as we speak. What nailed Peterson more than anything else was his pathological lying. Sound familiar?

Well, we really don't need to spend a lot of time on this motion because it's not on Judge Strickland's to-do list for the hearing the 16th. Instead we have the State’s Motion to Strike Defendant’s Legally Flawed Motion to Dismiss Counts I and II.

In the motion, State's Assistant Attorney Linda Drane Burdick indicates that while the Court is permitted to dismiss criminal trials prior to trial under a few circumstances, the defense motion does not move to dismiss under "any particular rule of procedure..." She does point out that under the Rule of Criminal Procedure 3,.190(c),

... it is the defendant's burden to specifically allege and swear to the undisputed facts in a motion to dismiss...

Once again, we have a motion which lacks any proof. There are more sweeping generalizations, no specifics.

Drane Burdick also pointed out that there were some "fatal flaws" in the motion in that Casey Anthony would have to swear to the facts and that there were no "facts" in the motion to swear to, and Casey had not supplied the affidavit which so swore.

On October 6, perhaps in an attempt to fix those "fatal flaws" the defense filed an Addendum to the motion. One would assume that Mr. Baez and Ms. Lyon would manage to affix the pertinent facts to the document to make it legit. But no! Instead they whine about not getting discovery from the State fast enough to do so!

3. Miss Anthony should have also included in that paragraph the fact that much of the discovery which forms the basis for this motion was not made available to the defense until August and September of this year despite repeated requests...

At this point, this motion is obviously very premature. Shouldn't the defense take their time to get which facts they have into shape to include in the motion? It's rather clear at this point that discovery is ongoing and there are many months left to go until the trial. I would imagine that there is still laboratory testing going on.

The best part of the motion is Casey Anthony's affidavit. Baez and Lyon point out that all the "facts" they have are based on lab results (which they didn't have time to put in the motion) to which Casey cannot swear. So, Casey swears to "any old thing" just to make the motion legit.

Casey writes:

I do hereby swear to the following:

1. I did not report my daughter missing until my mother called on July 15th 2008.

2. I did tell law enforcement that I had dropped off my child with a person named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez when questioned by Law Enforcement.

Personally, I don't think the judge will think much of this amendment. In fact, he may be highly insulted by it.

Lastly, there are the State of Florida’s Motion to Compel Reciprocal Discovery and the defense's Response to State of Florida’s Motion to Compel Reciprocal Discovery. Once again, the State is calling out the defense to put its money where its mouth is. Todd Macaluso made broad statements in court claiming they had proof that Casey was innocent and that someone else had put Caylee's body in the swampy area. I posted about these motions and if you want to review my comments about them, you can find them HERE.

There is only one motion left on my blotter now. It is a defense Motion To Preclude The Death Penalty Procedures, apparently penned by Andrea Lyon, the Angel of Death Row. I won't comment about it now for two reasons. First, this motion is not included in the hearing next Friday and second, Linda Drane Burdick just issued a response to the motion today. It's not out on-line yet, but WFTV published the following about it this evening:

In a new document filed Thursday, prosecutors are accusing Casey Anthony’s defense team of filing yet another bogus motion, this time over the death penalty.

The defense wants the judge to take the death penalty off the table, but prosecutors say judges don't have that authority.

Prosecutors went as far as saying either the defense team doesn't understand the law or is purposely misstating it to grandstand.

Prosecutors say a hearing on the issue would be a waste of the court's time.

Well, that's it for now. I hope this article and the others I've linked here will help you get ready for the hearing Friday. They are so much easier to follow when you've gone over the motions. I look forward to your comments and seeing you in court Friday, October 16, at 9:30!


Katprint said...

One of the funny things about Casey's sworn statement that she did not report her daughter missing until her mother called on July 15, 2008, is that this sworn statement contradicts Casey's prior statement to police investigators - also sworn under penalty of perjury - that she DID report Caylee being missing to close friends of hers (aka "outcry witnesses.") Thus Casey creates her own factual dispute by her inconsistent sworn statements.

As far as the requisite intent i.e. "premeditated design (to kill) Caylee Anthony," intent is normally proved through circumstantial evidence. It is impossible to prove what someone was thinking at a given moment, other than by websites they accessed or things they said or actions they took before/afterwards.

If a wife is slicing meat while cooking dinner then she turns around and stabs her husband in the abdomen (for example, because she didn't know her husband was coming up behind her to give her a hug) then she would normally call 9-1-1 to summon aid for her injured husband. Calling 9-1-1 is circumstantial evidence of her intent i.e. that an accident had occurred. If instead of calling 9-1-1 to summon aid, she wrapped duct tape around her husband's head, put him in a laundry hamper, put the laundry hamper in a trash bag and dumped his body in a nearby vacant lot, then that would also be circumstantial evidence concerning her intent i.e. that she intended to harm/kill him. Similarly, if her computer reflected searches on the best ways to kill someone, that would also be circumstantial evidence concerning her intent.

ritanita said...

Spot on, Katprint! It's too bad the friends she told are as imaginary as Zanny the Nanny.

This was an extremely strong circumstantial case before the body was found.

I really expected better of the "Dream Team" and their experts.

Sedonia Sunset said...

Excellent article, Rita! The bumbling of this defense team never ceases to amaze me. How is it that Baez ever became a lawyer in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Hi Ritanita, wonderful article. I hope all of you are proud of the product you are producing. I've said it before the "mainstream" media is looking pretty sad when compared to T&T.

Katprint, as usual your comments are so enlighting. I was beginning to feel that since the Cameron Brown trials have hung because the juries couldn't decide what type of murder it was that we might have the same problem in the Anthony trial. Your explanation has reasured me. And IIRC the state reversed itself regarding the death penalty after the body was found. I'm thinking the duct tape was what did it.

Sadonia, I think it was a quota thing. Thank goodness he didn't decide to be a brain surgeon.

September moo

Nora said...

Thanks for your great updates - mainstream media seems to avoid discussing this case. Zanny the nanny - remember Lee said Zanny was his and Casey's code word for Xanex.

Anonymous said...

Nora, thanks for that information. I had heard that theory (zanny = Xanex) before but I had never heard it attributed to Lee. Thanks.

September moo

katfish said...

Thanks so much for the time you put into this case. I know it has to take a huge amount of time to gather this info, read it and detail it in a manner that makes sense to us all(which is a huge feat given the malarky in these motions)let alone enter it in the blogger. Just want you to know how much I appreciate it.
Katprint, Great analogy. Well said! Must be a Kat thing. LOL jk