Saturday, July 17, 2010

Casey Anthony: Mom's 911 Calls To Come In At Trial

The hearing on July 15, lasted nearly four hours and, while it may not have produced fireworks, it provided an excellent preview of what we will see at trial in May, 2011. The hearing ended with all issues resolved and the issues which would have been covered in a status hearing July 20 were all discussed. Right now, one less hearing is a good thing!


As the hearing opened, Judge Belvin Perry announced that the TES issue would be heard first. He stated that he had read all the motions and responses and was prepared to have Mr. Baez speak to the issue for five minutes to and then Mr. NeJame would have five minutes. It was obvious that the judge had just cut off what could be an extremely contentious and time-consuming confrontation at the pass!

With this statement Jose Baez requested a sidebar with NeJame and the State. It was lengthy discussion. When all parties returned to their places, Judge Perry stated that Mr. Baez was going to withdraw his motion and Mr. NeJame will file a motion dealing with bad faith. As for the judge himself, Perry stated that he would be entering an order that the defense could inspect the documents again and take notes. He said he would also appoint a special magistrate to supervise the process. He will also tab any documents to be copied and brought to the judge for consideration.

Mr. NeJame will be filing his bad faith motion by Thursday of next week.

For now, we will have to wait for the judge's orders to know if there are any specific details as to what sort of notes the defense can take. As for Mr. NeJame's motion, I am sure we will all be waiting to see what comes of it. As with any negotiated deal, it is probable that neither side is totally happy, but can live with the results.

The 911 Calls

The Anthony family attorney, Brad Conway had stated in earlier interviews that Cindy Anthony would tell the truth, and she did, when it came to the 911 calls she made.

Cindy Anthony was called to the stand by Jose Baez.

At that point, Lee Anthony was asked to leave the courtroom for the time his mother was on the stand. (My friend, Sedonia Sunset said, Jeez, Lee couldn't even be bothered to put on a decent shirt!
Sprocket even pointed out that, Mr. Sprocket went to court, He AT LEAST put on a white shirt and a jacket.)

Another witness for the defense, Deborah Polisano, had yet to arrive at the courthouse.

Once Lee left the courtroom, Baez led Cindy Anthony through the events of July 15, 2008. He began with the retrieval of the car from the Johnson Wrecker Service yard and ended with the making the third 911 call. He asked may questions to try and have Cindy tell him the precise time when her husband told her that the car smelled like a dead body. The best Cindy could do was say it was prior to 3 PM that day. Baez made it a point to have Cindy indicate that, after putting the smelly pants in the laundry she had gone back to work. George, just starting a new job, had left earlier.

When Baez asked Cindy if she mentioned the odor in the car to any of her co-workers, she couldn't remember exactly what she had said. Cindy also stated at this point that she didn't think there was any special reason to not go back to work!

In his further attempts to show that the final call was not an excited utterance, Baez made sure that Cindy testified that they did not call the police from the tow yard or when they got home, to make it seem that they did not think the situation was an emergency. He also elicited from Cindy that after she returned from work, she had been exposed to the smell as she went about walking the dogs, taking items out of the car and the pants from the dryer. (Mind you, she had said she was only in the garage for five minutes putting the pants in the laundry before she went to work! Quick wash cycle!)

When Baez questioned her about the call she made to Amy Huizenga, Baez asked if she mentioned the smell in the car and Cindy said she couldn't remember.

When asked if she had any discussion with Amy in the car on the way to pick up Amy, she said that she didn't quite remember the nature of the discussion.

When it comes trial time, I'm sure Amy will fill in those blanks and many more. Cindy told her many things, most not positive for Casey. (AMY HUIZENGA INTERVIEW) Cindy also made a point of pointing out how easily Amy found Tony's apartment and that she only allowed Casey to take her shoes with her. She also claimed she never stepped into the apartment. Well, that will be dealt with at trial time.

From that point in her testimony, Cindy went on to give a detailed account of her time with Casey up until the third 911 call.

Among other things, Baez brought out that she was smelling the car for the third time, and that she never discussed the car with Casey. He asked about the fact that George told her there had been a bag of garbage which tow yard manager had thrown away. (Wait, didn't George already tell her it smelled like a dead body before 3 PM?)

At that point, Lee had arrived and Cindy decided to let him talk to her before calling 911 for the second time. Baez asked if she'd said she wanted Casey arrested and had also reported Caylee missing. Cindy agreed. (The fact is, in that call, Cindy referred to a "possibly missing child".) Baez then led Cindy to state that she became increasingly frustrated that the police didn't arrive quickly enough and Cindy agreed. (Baez is attempting to make it sound like the third call was an act to get the police to the house more quickly.)

Cindy stated that she paced back and forth from the house to the street, smelling the car each time.

Some time later, when she returned to the house, Cindy said she heard Casey say she hadn't seen Caylee in 31 days. SHE WAS IN SHOCK, SHE COULDN'T BELIEVE WHAT SHE WAS HEARING! She was hysterical at that point. (This doesn't help Baez at all!)

She made the infamous third 911 call.

It is the first time the police learn that Caylee is truly "missing".

CA: (Crying.) I called a little bit ago. The Deputy Sheriff’s not here. I found out my granddaughter has been taken. She has been missing for a month. Her, her mother finally admitted that she’s been missing.

After showing Cindy a transcript of the call, Baez asked if she made the statement:

There’s something wrong. I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.

Cindy answered in the affirmative and then testified that didn't know why she made the statement. When asked if her statement on Good Morning America was true, she answered that it was "essentially" true, that the call wasn't premeditated.

When asked, if it was her husband George who told her the car smelled like a dead body, Cindy stated:

He told me that that was his first thought.

Again, we will have to wait for George to take the stand at trial to explain why he told LE in various interviews and his deposition, that he knew what the smell was and that it was that of decomposition.

As the direct examination came to an end, the discussion of familiarity with the smell of decomposition. Cindy stated that she had never smelled human decomposition in the trunk of a car.

Baez then led her through the facts of her experience with decomposition odor in the morgue during her nursing rotation there. She also mentioned she had smelled "rotting flesh" in the hospital.

Hello! I've only smelled the odor second-hand. Someone I knew was cleaning possessions out of the home of someone who had died two months before being found. She would come home at night reeking of that most unique odor. It was in her clothing and her hair. She barely noticed it because she had been in an environment reeking of that pungent odor all day. There's a good reason rooms in funeral homes are under-heated and the scent of flowers is overpowering. Even with that, there is the undertone of that very same odor. Slight odor in the morgue, but the same odor as in the trunk of the car.

Linda Drane Burdick then began her cross examination of Cindy. (Sprocket and Kitty Malone were saying, "CROSS! Go get her!" and "Go Linda, GO!" They are big fans of lead prosecution attorney.)

Bill Sheaffer gave an interview for WFTV. In it, he had a wonderful description of the differing approaches. According to him, Baez used a saber and Linda Drane Burdick used a scalpel with finesse. He believed that Jose did a "good job" but Linda Drane Burdick did an "excellent job".

Drane Burdick asked Cindy a series of short-answer questions. She elicited from Cindy that at the time that she retrieved the car, she had not seen her daughter, granddaughter for 32 days, counting back to the 15th of June. On July 15, it was Cindy's impression that Casey and Caylee were together. Cindy agreed that prior to going to the tow yard, she had called Casey to tell her she found her car. When she had spoken with Casey, she had not yet smelled the car. Cindy agreed that George had told her that he had told the tow truck operator he hoped it wasn't daughter or granddaughter in the trunk much later, although she cannot remember when.

The questioning then went to what happened when she got home. Cindy stated that she only spent five minutes in the garage with the car after George went back to work.

Drane Burdick then reminded Cindy of her testimony about her experience with dead bodies at the end of Baez' questioning. Cindy agreed that when she made the third 911 call, the words she used to describe the smell was a "dead body".

There was then an extensive series of questions concerning her experience with the odor of dead bodies. Cindy then stated that it was only in the morgue. Drane Burdick reminded Cindy of discussions that she had had with LE at various times and had told them that she was acquainted with that odor, including from rotting flesh caused by an infection (pseudomonas). Cindy had told LE that it had taken days for the odor to clear from the air vents. In the end, Cindy admits it had a unique smell.

Fortunately, the Assistant State's Attorney has all the pertinent documents at the ready to refresh Mrs. Anthony's memory.

I had been to busy typing to notice this, but Sedonia Sunset mentioned that. "Jose is really working his jaw over LDB having Cindy refresh her memory as to what she said in a deposition." Kitty Malone thought that "Cheney and Baez look very, VERY, perturbed!" Sprocket said, "Look at Baez tapping his fingers nervously!"

There is an interesting back and forth next. Drane Burdick asked Cindy if she had said in her deposition last year that George did not tell her until later that it was his opinion that the trunk smelled like a dead body. Cindy waffled over the context, saying that she knew it wasn't immediately (at the tow yard). Drane Burdick showed Cindy a copy of the 2009 deposition to refresh her memory. Apparently, Cindy had used the word "pungent". She had also been asked if George had told her his opinion of the odor when they were first in the garage, and Cindy answered, "no".

Drane Burdick then gently led Cindy through the time line of the events and the odor in the car. When Cindy first smelled the odor in the tow yard, she did not know that Casey wasn't with Caylee. In addition, since they had not discussed the odor of the car prior to George's leaving for work, she had not heard his opinion until AFTER she had made the third 911 call as she had had no contact with George after he left for work!

BINGO!, that's the scalpel there. It's pure logic. If she and George didn't discuss the nature of the odor, Cindy would have had to make that connection herself!

During this, and other portions of her mother's testimony, Casey was write furiously and passing notes to her attorneys. Never once did she acknowledge her mother with even the smallest of smiles.

Drane Burdick then outlined the time from the the call to Amy Huizenga until the first 911 call. When she found Casey at Tony Lazzaro's apartment, Caylee wasn't with her and Casey explained she was with the nanny, Zanny. At that point, Cindy still did not know what had happened until the third 911 call. Therefore, until then, there was no reason for Cindy to connect the odor in the car with Caylee.

She then asked if Casey had been "stonewalling" her and that she then decided to get the police involved to help her get Casey to take her to her daughter. Casey heard the first call and could hear what she was saying. The first call was made at 8:09 PM. When asked if she had stated she had a "grand theft" sitting with her in the car, Cindy said that she had asked Casey to bring the car home two weeks prior. (I don't think I've ever read that.) Cindy claimed that that was where she "pulled that reference from". She did say that the theft of money was true. Due to jurisdictional issues, Cindy decided it would be "stupid" to wait on the side of the road. Drane Burdick asked it would have been more comfortable to wait at home in a non-emergency situation and Cindy agreed.

Drane Burdick then went on to the second call. It had been delayed by the arrival of Lee. Cindy gave him time to try and get information out of his sister. When Lee was not able to get Casey to tell the truth, she decided to make another call. Cindy did not remember exactly where she was in the house w hen she made that call.

Cindy then agreed when Drane Burdick said that she had no idea that Caylee was somewhere where Casey couldn't get to her. The only emergency at the time was a dispute with her daughter. Cindy said "a possible missing child". Cindy did not mean missing as in taken or kidnapped, it meant not at the home. Cindy agreed that this was not an emergency, that she needed law enforcement at the house to help find where Caylee was.

(I got goose bumps here as I saw Linda Drane Burdick deftly lead Cindy through not only the events of the evening, but the emotions and motivation behind each call.)

This second call was made at 8:44 PM, 45 minutes after the original call.

Cindy then testified about the last call, which took place at 9:41 PM. She said that she overheard Casey tell Lee that she hadn't seen Caylee in 31 days. Drane Burdick indicated that it came as a shock to her. Cindy agreed and added that, "she was crying". (Cindy seemed to go for some sympathy for her daughter here.) She also got Cindy to agree that she was panicked, couldn't think, and didn't know what to do. She realized that nobody could get Caylee for her that night.

Kitty Malone said, "I just had a brief moment of sympathy for Cindy. Jeez. Linda is getting to the nitty-gritty and it appears that Cindy is about to break down."

Drane Burdick added that Cindy was angry or frustrated because law enforcement was taking their time to get to the house, at that point she was devastated, that the only people who could now help were the police. Cindy again agreed with her. The problem now was not just a family emergency, but a true emergency.

During this time, the defense is passing notes and conferring, this is not following their agenda.

Cindy agreed that she was angry with her daughter and was yelling, trying to get answers from Casey in a "machine-gun" approach asking her questions over and over. Cindy says, however that she doesn't remember what she said, that she was just "upset". Drane Burdick replaced "upset" with "panicked" and Cindy agreed.

Drane Burdick again asked Cindy if the problem wasn't that the police hadn't arrived yet, but that she needed them now! Cindy buffered this by pointing out that it had seemed like over an hour since she had last called. Cindy admitted it was shocking news, her gut instinct.

Casey is writing furiously again.

Drane Burdick passed out copies of the third call and asked that it be added into evidence for the purpose of the hearing. Although she didn't remember where she made the call from, she did remember handing the phone to Casey in her room.

The next line of questioning went to the connection Cindy may have made between the smell in the car and Caylee. Cindy made an unusual statement about this... "if that's where my mind went to, yes..." She further said that she didn't understand how the mind worked when "you're" under stress. She said she couldn't analyze it. She added, "I said whatever I said".

Here, she is trying to waffle about the connection she obviously made in her mind and transmitted to the police by directly saying these two lines in sequence:

There’s something wrong. I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.

She hints here at an UNCONSCIOUS CONNECTION made by her mind without her realizing it.

Miss Kitty, "Holy Cow! Casey's eyes are DARTING all over the place during this line of questioning (the smell of the car and Cindy connecting it to Caylee being missing)."

In order to help Cindy remember what she thought at the time, Drane Burdick reminded Cindy of the interview with Scott Bolin on July 30, 2008. After refreshing her memory, Cindy said that she had said whatever she needed to say (to the 911 dispatcher). In that statement, Cindy made a clear connection between Caylee being missing and the car. Cindy told her that she had read the documents and that there were pieces missing! (Blame it on the FBI!)

Casey is again writing fast and furious, double underlining certain words.

After completing her questioning, there was a ten minute recess. When everyone returned to the courtroom, Baez began his questioning by stating that there were a "couple of things to clear up, there is a little bit of confusion".

First, Baez asked Cindy about the conversations she had with co-workers. He asked if during the conversation she had told co-workers that George told her it smelled like a dead body.
Cindy stated that she couldn't remember when George told her that. Baez then went on to ask her if when she said "later", it wasn't after July 15. Cindy answered, "no".

Next, he tried to soften her testimony on cross concerning her experience with the smell of decomposition. He asked her if, after smelling the car, she still believed Caylee was alive. Baez pointed out that at that time, she made statements to that effect. He also asked her if she believed that law enforcement believed Caylee was dead. He then asked her if she meant that, by telling them that she knew the smell of death, the smell in the car was different. Cindy answered with a firm, "yes, I guess".

Compare that weak statement with, "I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car." Which sounds stronger to you?

Baez then reminded Cindy that she wanted law enforcement to search for a live Caylee. Then, Cindy made this astounding statement:

I, I, I, still think Caylee is alive!

Baez next gets Cindy to say that she never lied to or tried to mislead law enforcement (she added the qualifier, "if I remember..."). He then asks if when she told them that this smell was different to that of her experience, she was being truthful.

The next portion of Cindy's testimony had her now backing off the identity of the smell. She indicated that since then, she had smelled other things in the car that smelled similarly.
(Were I on the jury, that answer would confuse me terribly. What in the world would Cindy, who is a clean-freak, have allowed to something to sit and rot in her car?)

Baez then reminded her of her July 29, 2009 deposition with Ms. Drane Burdick and reminded her of the statement that she had made there that she had made the infamous statement to get the police to her house faster. Baez then showed her a transcript. Cindy agreed that she had been maintaining that all along.

The interesting thing here is that both what she said to Linda Drane Burdick and Jose Baez were both true. She said those lines to get the police out there, but, according to what she said earlier, she could have subconsciously made the connection.

Baez then reminded Cindy of the items that belonged to Caylee that were in the car. He asked if those items of hers being there and Caylee NOT being there was what she meant when she made the call. Cindy said that it was "more so related to the items in the car".

Ok, then why didn't she tell the 911 dispatcher that the child's belonging were in the car and the child wasn't there? Why mention the odor and not the belongings?

I have editorialized quite a bit here. After following the case since July 16, 2008 and reading so many interviews, I do have some strong opinions! One element of Cindy's testimony which gave me a very hard time was the fact that she almost always agreed with both the defense and the prosecution, making it difficult to figure out what was going on. My friends all agreed with me on that.

At that point, Baez completed his cross examination and she left the stand. As Deborah Polisano had not arrived, the State put Lee Anthony on the stand.

Lee Anthony came to the stand and, as Linda Drane Burdick was asking him his name, he mouthed "I love you" to Casey who seemed to cry at the attention from her brother.

As he testified, Lee's demeanor was the same as we have seen in his Morgan&Morgan deposition. He has a tendency to ramble on and laugh at times, perhaps out of nervousness.

Lee testified that he had been asked to go to the house by his father. He met Casey and Cindy in driveway. He said "hi" to Casey and she cried. He said that at that time, he did not smell the car. He was at the house with Cindy and Casey for about two hours before law enforcement arrived.

Cindy and Casey were arguing about Caylee's location. Cindy was frustrated and asked him to talk to his sister, although she did not tell him what the problem was. He tried to reason with his mother and take her to Caylee. He was only aware of the two phone calls at the house at that time. He was not in the room with Casey the entire time. He said he was in the living room when Cindy came out and said she was going to call the police. He said that Cindy went either to the garage or her bedroom and he did not hear the initial call from the home. Casey was still in her room sitting on her bed. He then went back to Casey's room at that point to say that nothing she was saying wasn't making sense.

He engaged in role-playing with Casey as to what she would tell the police when they came to the house. Lee told her if she didn't tell mother where Caylee was, she would have to tell the police. It was during this role-playing that Casey broke down and told him she hadn't seen Caylee in 31 days. Lee said he was "dumbfounded" at the revelation. He said that Cindy then came into the room and said, "What's going on?" and Casey said she hadn't seen Caylee in 31 days. His mother's reaction was "a little different". She got very angry, clenched her fist and hit the bed and said, "What did you do? We could have found her 31 days ago".

Lee testified that he didn't hear the last 911 call Cindy made until months later.

Drane Burdick then referred to Lee's deposition on July 30, 2009, p. 126, line 23. She quotes Lee as having said that Cindy was in the living room and he heard the call in the background. He indicated he heard it and Casey also could have and that Cindy was very, very frantic.

With this information, Drane Burdick completed her examination.

Cheney Mason then got up and conducted a somewhat bizarre cross examination. He first asked Lee about what George said to him about the situation in the home when he called. Lee responded that George only told him that his mother needed him. Then, Mason asked if it was obvious that his parents had been talking. Lee replied that George had merely told him it was a "long story, but your mom needs you".

He then made mention of had his parents been talking when he got to the house. Lee pointed out that there was nobody home when he arrived.

I got a bit confused here. Did Mason think both Cindy and George were in the home when Lee arrived?

He then asked if there was any "screaming or running around" when he arrived.

Lee again replied that no one was at the house when he arrived.

Mason then asked how long he was there before he heard the first mention of calling the police? Lee responded that it was about an hour. Mason then asked "Who talked about calling the police first?". Lee said it was his mom and that she was the only one focused on that. When asked. The next question was quite complicated and Lee couldn't answer.

Mason apparently wanted Lee to say what combination of people had discussed calling the police.

Lee then said he went to Casey's room to discuss what she would say should the police come. Lee then went back over the discovery that Caylee was missing and how, once Casey said he was missing, he became sort of a bystander.

They then went through the progression of the 911 calls and again, it was a bit confusing. For some reason I don't think Mr. Mason had a complete scenario of the events of the evening clear in his head. I couldn't quite figure out what call was being referred to and became even more confused when Mason discussed if Lee had talked to George about them. Lee again pointed out that George wasn't in the home when the calls were made.

Mason elicits that during his time at the house, he had time for private conversation with his sister. The only "interruption" they had was during the 911 call, which he and his sister did not focus on.

And that was it! Linda Drane Burdick asked no further questions.

The final witness of the hearing was Deborah Polisano, Cindy Anthony's supervisor at Gentiva.

In answering Cheney Mason's questions, Polisano testified that when Cindy got the phone call from her husband, she was in her office, she told Cindy she needed to go home and pick up the car. Cindy came back to work in an hour or so and they had a conversation then. Cindy had told her about the car being in the impound lot and that she couldn't get a hold of Casey. She indicated that Caylee's car seat, backpack, and doll were in the car. She also said there was a terrible odor in the car. When Polisano asked if they had opened the trunk, Cindy didn't answer, but said it smelled like a dead body in the car. Cindy also indicated that she and George were both aware of the odor, but stressed that they both knew that. Polisano told her to go home because she was so upset.

Polisano did not remember what time Cindy left the office. Mason tried to get her to pinpoint the time, but she couldn't remember. She also told Cindy she should call the police.

After a brief pause, Mason asked if she had had to "exercise persuasion" to get Cindy to go home. Polisano then asked him to rephrase the question and he came back with the same question. She said she had to get her supervisor to tell her to go home.

Linda Drane Burdick asked no questions.

Each side made their closing arguments. Mason spoke for the defense. They essentially reiterated the information in their motions and responses. Mason did mention Hutcheson that the tapes were heresay and tapes can't be cross examined. He wanted sections redacted, including the theft and Casey's comments. He also made some very gross references which made me ill.

Linda Drane Burdick brought up the fact that Hutcheson had been overturned. Cindy Anthony will be able to testify at the trial. She also made a strong argument for Cindy Anthony's status as a person who knew the odor of a dead body.

At this point, Judge Perry had another ten minute break and then came back with his decision. Siting extensive case law, Perry allowed all the tapes in. Specifically the third call was admitted as an excited utterance.

Motion to Seal Evidence Lists

When the discussion of this motion began, Judge Perry brought up "work product" and, having no motion filed in opposition, he granted the motion.

With the agenda of the hearing complete, the judge then asked if both parties would be willing to continue on and have the Status Hearing scheduled for July 20. They all agreed and continued on.

The links to the live streams kept dropping left and right. It was hard to follow and I, already totally exhausted from the events, decided to wait for the video to e posted. I will be writing another article about that portion when I am rested and have had a chance to view the entire proceedings. Hang in there!


Raw Hearing

Part 1 TES
Part 2 Cindy Anthony
Part 3 Cindy Anthony
Part 4 Cindy Anthony
Part 5 Cindy Anthony/Lee Anthony
Part 6 Lee Anthony/Deborah Polisano/Mason summation
Part 7 LDB summation/Perry ruling on 911 tapes
Part 8 Perry Ruling on 911 tapes (cont'd)/Motion to Seal Evidence Lists/Status Hearing
Part 9 Status Hearing

The Hinky Meter Searchable Database


donchais said...

Terrific article! Don't know how you devoted so much time to picking out the testimony in such detail.

Can't wait for NeJame to file his bad faith motion!

I'm sorry, but Mason truly hasn't a clue as to what went on in this case. The lame, "I don't know, that was before I joined", is wearing thin. His behavior and rambling in court have done severe damage to his credibility and reputation!

Have a Merlot on me!

shari said...

Mason is very busy right now with a high profile political case that is actually going to earn him some money. I am betting that he is relying on Baez et al. to really know what is going on. You may see him continue to stumble on details as I believe he is otherwise distracted by the other case that may be more important to him.

FRG said...

Thank you so very much, I had not the courage to listen to the hearing once more, you are brave.
I am intrigued by the fact JB was directing Cindy to state that the smell in the car came from George, why was it so important? It's equally damning both to connect the smell of death in the trunk of the car, isn't it? George worked for LE and Cindy is a registered nurse, no way to scape here.
I am really skeptical that KC was crying prior to the third 911 call, her monotonous voice on the phone answering to the dispatcher was chilling. No emotions at all.
I also saw KC writing furiously as you stated, she was really really mad at her mother.
Cindy really had a "selective memory" and easily persuaded in the questioning, no matter how long she has been coached she is not that smart. Linda Drane-Burdick did an excellent job and that's for certain.
As far as Lee goes I can't even start, he comes as the weirdest person I have ever seen, as far as his attire, what can we say? It seems none of the Anthony's have respect for the court and he has a lawyer. Go figure. I am sorry for Mallory.
CM "had no clue" like KC said about her daughter what he was doing and any of us would have a better idea of what happened that night. I believe he should drop the booze? Just kidding!!! Maybe not. LOL
Debbie Polisano was frightened she didn't want to be there and to be quite frank she didn't help at all the defense. What were they trying to accomplish is yet to be known.
It came as a surprise the 3 calls were admitted and a relief. As I have read on the news the State will have strong start when it comes to trial.
Waiting for the next article!!!

Ronni said...

Thanks very much for the analysis! I watched some of the hearing, but my computer kept freezing the video. Of course, my cable company dropped the channel that was discussing it...

You made sense of the proceedings, and I appreciate it.

Sprocket said...

Everyone should know that ritanita put quite a bit of hard work (many, many hours) into writing this entry and getting everything in an easy to understand what happened format.

I hope everyone appreciates it as much as I do! <3 <3 <3

katfish said...

I appreciate all the hard work Ritanita! You even reminded me of a few things that had slipped my mind.
I need to watch the hearing again.
Do you remember Judge Perry saying something to Mason about his hearing towards the end of the hearing? I don't think it was that he didn't hear something, but that he did.Something like, "Oh you heard that ok,Mr.Mason". Seems as though there was a lot of selective memory and hearing going on in that courtroom.

Anonymous said...

This is an OUTSTANDING summary of the hearing (part 1)... thank you so much for the time and effort.

I've been literally coming in to check T&T several times a day since Thursday, just waiting for your take on this because I knew it would be the best out there and was not disappointed.

Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is a lot of work to post all this. I did watch it the following day on on TruTV and could not believe my ears when Cindy said "I believe Caylee is still alive" or words to that effect. Did she intend to put that in past tense? I don't recall any attorney challenging this statement.
Wes J.

Anonymous said...

Cindy wants to believe Caylee is alive simply because she believes strongly in kc, and until kc "looks her in the eyes" and tells Cindy something like "Of course you know what my involvement is" (pertaining to the jail phone call, when cindy said to kc, "I don't know what your involvement is, sweethheart, you're not telling me where she's at". cindy "chooses" not to believe Caylee is dead,... UNTIL kc tells her "otherwise." also want to thank you for the wonderful effort in clarifying and so descriptively putting forth so concisely, the "anthony saga" in a court of law! A job well done, cudos!!

conniefl said...

Wow! I certainly liked your impressions of the hearing in with the reporting. I came in via Dave's page and was interested in your take on it. I thought you nailed it.

I thought I'd give my opinion on your confusion about Mason's questioning of Lee - "Cheney Mason then got up and conducted a somewhat bizarre cross examination. He first asked Lee about what George said to him ....." - that thread in your article. I have been in an accident injury case in which the defense lawyer did that with me.. it's an effort on the part of the defense to confuse the witness. If he said anything at all about George Mason would have jumped on it in order to discredit his testimony by sayind Cindy DID talk to George about the odor before making the call thus making it not an excited utterance. His line of questioning didn't surprise me at all.

I read an article that mentioned that Cindy is either stuck in the denial stage of grieving by saying she believes Caylee is still alive or trying to discredit her own testimony. Interesting.

Good article Katfish!

Anonymous said...

cindy chooses not to believe caylee is dead UNTIL kc tells her that fact. cindy has to look into kc's eyes and hears it from kc's mouth! remember, cindy and kc are "best of friends" and cindy "trusts" the MOTY!

ritanita said...

Thank you everyone for the thoughtful comments. As Sprocket said, it took a long time to write. I only wish that I had written more about Lee and Deborah Polisano, but by the time I got there, I was mush!

FRG, I believe that the defense is trying to erase the car from the equation. They are trying to discredit Cindy's ability to recognize the smell of death (it didn't work). Baez & Co. will also try to discredit the cadaver dogs (although Judge Perry certainly seems to believe they are credible). Finally, they will challenge the Oak Ridge Labs scientific methods at a Frye Hearing.

Wes, I don't think anybody challenged Cindy on her belief that Caylee is still alive because everyone knows Caylee isn't alive. Personally, I don't think Cindy is in denial as much as she thinks this will help her daughter somehow.

conniefl,welcome to T&T! I think you make a great point that Cheney Mason was purpously trying to confuse Lee. I also wonder if his constant comments concerning his hearing is a ruse to help in the confusion!

donchais sent me this link to Cheney Mason's closing argument in the Nelson Serrano trial a few years back. Play it and see if this is the same Cheney Mason we are seeing now. I have to wonder if he has a health problem.

ritanita said...

Oh, and donchais, I am waiting for that NeJame reply. We have to wait until Thursday, I'm thinking.

Thanks for the Merlot! Just the thing!

FRG said...

Ritanita & conniefl
I couldn't help myself when connie said that CM is trying to confuse Lee with his line of questioning, it came to my mind what my hubby told me last week that KC's defense will be the "Chewbacca defense". I hope you won't be mad at me for that Ritanita!! Please don't, after all we need a little of humor sometimes.
I appreciate that you put a lot of effort and time to the articles, you are just great!!! Always a superb job.

ritanita said...

FRG, I am pleased to see you put the link here. I watched it the other day when you posted it on donchais blog. It is hilarious and to the point!

Yes, without a bit of humor, we'd all be having nervious breakdowns!

Anonymous said...

Ritanita, great job! When the case against their client is overwhelming, the defense will try to make things as confusing as possible.

David From TN

conniefl said...

Listened to as much as I could take of Cheney Mason and the Seranno closing arguments. He does sound different and just may be on medication for some reason. His awkwardness, inappropriate humor etc sure don't fit with that closing argument. I wonder if he was that serious throughout the trial.

I just do not like him or Baez. I had to laugh when your article described everyone's actions at the defense table. It was so spot on. Casey looked like she was thinking she would have gotten away with it if her mom had just kept her mouth shut. I imagine she is blaming Cindy for all of it. A parent and their responsibility in raising a child eventually comes up against friends, peers, schoolmates, etc, so while I do think Cindy played a big factor in the way Casey is, I don't blame her completely. At some point a child has to be adult enough to take responsibility for their own actions. You can be raised in an abusive household and turn out ok.. it's as much what you do with it as how you were raised.

And now George is being thrown under the bus by her defense. I would be all for it if I thought he had anything to do with Caylee's death, but I don't. I think he's just a weak man who has been in the shadow of an opinionated wife for decades. It seems odd that it hasn't been brought up before though. I wonder if this is CM's experience showing. I feel like the further along we get the more ineffective Baez gets. I have a feeling he will eventually look like one of his legal aids. LDB sure did outlawyer him.

ritanita said...


I like Bill Sheaffers's analysis. I think I see Baez getting better as time goes on, but Linda Drane Burdick is outstanding.

I want to see Casey get a solid defense team so there will be no reason for appeal should there be a conviction.

BlessCaylee said...

Tremendous summary of the proceedings. You didnt miss a beat. I think Mason is becoming a liability, his comittment or his ability surely have to be questioned. He seems to think he can wing his way through this case. Potenially at trial there will be scores of State witnesses to cross examine during a pretty relentless schedule. I doubt there are many DP qualified attorneys queuing up to take on(pro-bono)this poison chalice of a case, with only 10 months to go.

As for Cindy, I think she finally realised she was in a Court of Law, not a presser or a tv show where she gets to spin things wildly with impunity. And wasnt it interesting that neither Cindy or Baez said the "pizza" word out loud. LOL

These prosecutors know the value of these tapes on the listener/juror, we hear Cindy threatening Casey with a court order to get Caylee, and Casey asking for one more day, both statements which imo WILL be fully exploited for "the truth of the matter" by the State. Baez was better than usual but he was badly let down by his so called more experienced co-counsel. Mason was embarassing and genuinely befuddled. His jokes could not compensate for his innefectual cross examination and failure to address the State's arguments properly. The contrast between the defense and the polished, seasoned and prepared LDB was stark. And we know Jeffrey Ashton can be equally impressive. Then during the obligatory defense post hearing presser, we hear both Baez and Mason eroneously try to paint the TES motion as a victory. Ok, the were given the concession to take a pen and pad in but under the supervision of a former Judge. This, almost a year after Judge Strickland gave them the green light to inspect these 4000 records. Clearly imo Judge Perry after hearing Baez withdraw his "second bite at the apple" did the appropriate thing and cut off unnecessary courtroom theatrics there. Im sure the last minute nature of this defense team and their antics regarding the TES debacle have not been lost on him but rightly for Nejame to still get his day in Court, he needs to file the proper "bad faith" motions and those pesky records should stop gathering dust in his office some time soon. The defense now HAVE to spend valuable time, they cannot afford to now be seen to go for a looksee.

Nora said...

You guys are awesome for your continued outstanding coverage of this case. I cannot find the info anywhere else. Thank you. I wonder if you could help me answer a question - everyone knows that nobody ever saw or spoke with the fictitious "nanny", but has there been any proof of Casey actually paying a nanny? Any checks, cash receipts? Any deposits in any account from Casey? How could she afford to pay for a nanny? I just can't understand this entire story being bought by Cindy, George, Lee and friends.

ritanita said...

Hey Nora!

It seems that in every LE interview of Casey's "friends" and family members, there has yet to be a person who can say they ever saw Zanny or heard Casey on the phone speaking to her. There are no photographs of her with Caylee.

The Morgan&Morgan firm was trying to find out how Casey could afford to pay a nanny and that's just one place where George and Cindy went ballistic.

I don't understand how George and Cindy could overlook the financial situation with Casey. Deep in their hearts, they had to know this was a farce.

As for her friends, especially the last round of friends, none of them had children and didn't see much of Caylee. They believed what Casey told them, and I'm sure it wasn't a priority for any of them to know the facts!

BTW, for those of you who may have wondered why I haven't done a post lately, I'm on a mini-vacation from the case to clear my head. Our current heat wave has also been sucking the energy out of me. I'm printing and saving the motions and replies. I'm waiting on LDB's reply to he Baez motion re: phone calls. I'll post about that and other motions then... PROMISE!