Sunday, March 6, 2011

Casey Anthony Hearing Day 3: Bits and Pieces

We will be having closing arguments at a hearing tomorrow, March 7, at 2 PM.

I'm back but I can't "shwallow" and only saw the hearing "in a backwards-sort of way." I watched the end of the hearing on Friday online, then I watched the beginning of the hearing on InSession and the pieces posted by WFTV online. What I got out of the hearing was no-where near complete. Rather that attempt a full-blown recap, I'll fill you in on things that came out at the hearing and some thoughts on the hearings in general.

While I've been taking it easy during the weekend, I'm sure Judge Perry hasn't been doing the same. I'm sure he's been reading, viewing, and listening to the exhibits proffered by both parties over the past few days.

He's heard from the Anthony family and the detectives involved. Earlier in the proceedings, he had mentioned "changing stories" and I'm sure he was especially referring to those of Cindy and George Anthony. There is also the issue of differing stories from Casey's parents as well. As with the jurors when the trial comes, the judge will have to decide the credibility of the witnesses and decide who is more believable. Will he believe George, Cindy, Melich, and/or Allen? Will he believe Dep. Eberlin as to the reason and amount of time of the handcuffing? Was Casey erroneously handcuffed because Cindy wanted to press charges on theft so that she couldn't run away?

One example of differing testimony that bothered me the most was about the interview Yuri Melich had with Casey Anthony at the home when he arrived. Cindy said it took place in the spare bedroom (Lee's former room) with the door open. She also said that Melich began in normal tone of voice but got intimidating and demanding of Casey. She also said that the interview lasted about an hour.

Over the weekend, I hunted down the interview, which lasted approximately 19 minutes. Listen for yourself. Melich went over Casey's handwritten statement and never raised his voice or attempted to intimidate Casey. Part 1 Part 2 He also advised her that if there was anything untrue in the statement, now was the time to make any corrections.

George Anthony testified that the interview took place in Casey's bedroom with the door closed and later amended that to the door being partially open or closed.

Yuri Melich testified that the interview took place in the spare bedroom. What I found interesting is that, since the spare bedroom was now a computer room, it would have probably had a bed and desk in it. It is more than likely that Casey sat on the bed and Melich sat on the chair. In George's version, they would have both had to sat on the bed. We've seen plenty of pictures of Casey's room and there was no chair there.

I have no idea if any of Casey's statements to law enforcement after her being handcuffed will be admitted into the trial, but there are other bits and pieces that will come into trial. There is Casey's original statement which is replete with the lies Casey told. We will hear Casey's voice on the last 911 call. There will be the phone call Casey made to her mother the night she was arrested.

The first motion to be heard on Friday was the Motion to Strike Kathi Belich From Defense Witness List. Judge Perry quickly denied the motion after a rather convoluted argument from the defense. Roughly summarized, they needed Kathi Belich to testify to impeach Maya Derkovic if she were to testify. The Cheney Mason tried to explain that Robyn Adams was a State witness made known to the State by Maya and Kathi interviewed her and "fed her" information. The State isn't going to call Maya and the defense said it wasn't sure if they were. But if they did, they would also need Kathi Belich. Got that?

Motion to Suppress Statements Made to George, Cindy, Lee Anthony, Robyn Adams and Sylvia Hernandez.

Testimony continued on Friday about the issue. On Thursday, George Anthony had stated that he felt "tricked" by law enforcement into helping them build a case against his daughter. He firmly testified that he was an Agent of the State only in retrospect. Lee Anthony testified that he was not an Agent of the State. He was playing detective to find his niece, Caylee and worked with anyone who could help him do that.

Witness: Yuri Melich

Jose Baez spent time going over how Melich "helped" George Anthony arrange a meeting with Casey. There was a lot of back and forth as the last time he was on the stand. Baez accused Melich wanted the parents to visit Casey as "false friends". Melich stated that was not the reason they were sending George Anthony in. Baez went laboriously through the deposition and brought up the situation that Melich told him about the Duckett case. Melich did say that one of the reasons that Casey was arrested was that they wouldn't get information from Casey to locate Caylee. There was talk of the jail "hierarchy" and the possibility that Casey might commit suicide. Melich didn't want that to happen if someone was holding Caylee. There was discussion of the bad pictures and listening to the 911 calls. (In a sense, I'm glad I watched this while still somewhat woozy from anesthesia!)

Linda Drane Burdick, in her cross examination, brought out that the Anthony's were constantly calling Melich during the first eight days that he, or someone from the Sheriff's Office should talk to Casey to get answers from her because they were unable to see her at the time. Her cross-examination helped explain the role of the police in dealing with the next of kin of a missing child. He was not there to manipulate them to do his bidding.

Melich denied telling George to tell Casey to write a letter to the Sheriff's Office. Melich agreed that it was Jose Baez who was blocking the family from access to Casey. (At this point, Jose Baez was tutored by Judge Perry that leading questions were permitted on cross examination.) The gist of a lot of his conversations with the family included the fact that he (Melich) couldn't talk to Casey but that there were ways Casey could reach out to them.

In Melich's cross, it was also stated that the family started complaining that the police were not doing enough to find Caylee. He never told anyone in the family to go to the jail to get information from Casey. In fact, neither he nor any member of law enforcement ever encouraged any member of the family to do this.

Baez re-directed and wanted to know how many times he told the family to talk to Casey themselves. (At this point I didn't need the anesthesia to feel dizzy.) One interesting point that Baez did elicit was that the OCSO did not issue a notice that Caylee was missing until after Casey was under arrest.

Witness: Cynthia Anthony

Next, it Cindy Anthony's turn to testify. Cheney Mason spent his opening moments asking Cindy about her communications with the detectives early on in the case. Cindy explained in detail how she was speaking to them regularly in her quest to find her granddaughter. At a point where Cheney Mason used the phrase that the detectives were "exploiting" the the family by using them as Agents of the State. There were accusations that Melich told Cindy that Baez was arranging false tip calls to put the blame on someone else. With that, he sat down.

Did it seem to anyone else that the defense spent a great deal of time getting the family to admit that the detectives were constantly badmouthing Baez to the family? I can't figure out why this would have anything to do with saying that the family members were acting as Agents of the State. It seems as though Allen and Melich were fielding more questions from the family about Baez than vice-versa based on what I've heard and read in the early interviews with family members. If anyone can enlighten me, please do!

Linda Drane Burdick spent a good deal of time going through all the efforts she had made to find Caylee, from the time Amy Huizenga took her to Casey. Cindy testified that even if the police had dropped the case as a domestic matter, she still would have searched for Caylee. In fact, Cindy said that she did not "knowingly and willingly" assist the police in building a case against her daughter.

One thing I noticed was that the defense did not call Robyn Adams or Sylvia Hernandez as witnesses. Did the defense decide to drop these? Not having seen the live stream, I'd love to know if they were mentioned at all.

We got our first glimpse of attorney Dorothy Clay Sims in court. Jeff Ashton argued his motions to strike the Fry portion of two of the science motions (chloroform, root growth). His arguments were brief and to the point. Sims responded. Unfortunately, a portion of her response was cut off by a commercial on InSession. I'm hoping that Judge Perry rules on these Monday.

Some of the other motions were actually settled in court Friday. First, was the State's Motion in Limine which I discussed briefly HERE. Cheney Mason readily agreed with parts 1, 2, 3, and 5 (they are basically good court procedure). It was agreed that parts 4 and 6 could be addressed in side bars in trial.

Finally, the State's Motion To Show Cause was addressed. It was obvious that Judge Perry had sat both parties down and discussed the issue and told them to get it settled without an ugly court fight. Any of you who read Baez Reply know that it would have been very entertaining for us to watch, but very bad for the case. Dorothy Clay Sims wrote a brief response that "satisfied" the State's need and Jose Baez made what I consider to be a very self-promoting apology to Mr. Ashton. Mr. Ashton accepted the apology and the men shook hands.

If you didn't watch the hearing, do watch Baez' apology HERE. As for the handshake, you have to check it out HERE.

I'm sure I've left something out, but I do promise to be with you all in court tomorrow, promptly at 2 PM!

Source for videos:


Anonymous said...

Google CMA Hearing (date)on you-tube. Someone by the name of sOmeRandOmName has posted videos of the complete hearings for all 3 days. Sound is great too! Hopefully they'll do it for every pretrial hearing and the trial as well.

Karen C. said...

Under the circumstances, good job! Dang TruTV anyhow, with their annoying commercial breaks always at the worst times! Yes, Jose drew a lot of attention to things that were a real surprise he would want us to be paying attention to, like how others clearly perceive his (in)abilities on this for instance.

donchais said...

Wowser! I wish I had waited for your article instead of suffering through the hearing itself!

As for Baez's mockpology...nuff said!

Feel better!

Anonymous said...

I have the same opinion that Baez's "apology" was self promoting. I commented about a few times since he made his speech and was absolutely disgusted with his insincere apology and his obvious ego boosting. He took the time on live TV to promote himself and that's all he did. He spent most of the questioning it seemed trying to prove himself to be a good lawyer who has been unfairly attacked. It's obvious to me that Baez is aware of his poor reputation and public opinion that he's a lousy attorney. His ego is bruised and his only concern seems to be what was said about him and then trying to convince everyone on television what a great guy he is and how good at his job he is! It was obvious to me that the prosecutors were not pleased with his speech, but Jeff Ashton accepted because it's what he was expected to do by the Judge.I was glad to read your take on it, it sorta validated my own opinions, not that I was doubtful of how I felt, but I was just glad not to be the only one thinking along the lines I was. I think his lack of respect for the police officers and detectives was and is despicable. Baez was condescending and sarcastic towards Detective Melich, and that I think will not go over well at all with a jury. Detective Melich, as well as the other officers who worked this case all seem like fine and honest professionals. Seeing them treated in a degrading way was hard to watch. I think Judge Perry worked things out between the two sides and Baez was told to apologize. I have a feeling Judge Perry may not be happy with Baez's speech. It was supposed to be an apology. You do not apologize by first talking about what a good person you are, how great you are at your job, then justify your actions, followed basically by a, by the way, I'm sorry"! lol Baez looked pleased with himself afterwords. He was able to sell himself on live television. Baez is a joke, and a despicable attorney in my opinion. Unlike Linda Burdick who conducts herself with class and dignity, and Jeff Ashton who acts like a man with integrity and who also has class. Baez comes off like a loser in a nice suit who makes ambulance chasers look like respectable attorneys.
Anyway, I'm sorry for being aggravated and fed up with this defense and their tactics. I'm glad your feeling better and you were able to relax a bit over the weekend. Nice to see you back.

Take care,

ritanita said...

Thanks for the comments, folks. I'm much better today and can even "shwallow"! I'm looking forward to the hearing conclusion today.

Bob, I take it you have a big problem with Mr. Baez! I think we all have as time has passed.

I must say, however, that his questioning in the hearing was spot-on in terms of what he wanted to accomplish. He obviously did his homework.

However, Yuri Melich and John Allen were more than a match for him. They've been down this road before and know the traps.

Let's hope we get some rulings from Judge Perry today.

FRG said...


Thank you so much for the article! Hopefully today you feel better!

Oh boy, where do I start? Why did JB call Lee to the stand? Lee was not an agent of the State, it was clear.

Cindy and George tried to put a spin in the events however I believe they failed miserably, the more they talked the more damage they made to their cradibility. Is it a plan they have to not to testify in trial? I don't know because I am not a lawyer. It was clear that C&G were nasty when cross-examined by Mrs. Burdick as if it was everybody else's fault they are going through this right? Why can't they direct their anget towards their daughter? It seems the family dynamics to put the blame on somebody else. It was clear to me that the Anthony's were not agents of the State.

I felt sick to my stomach JB's line of questioning towards Mr. Melich which was just trying to do his job and find Caylee. I can;t believe the terms JB was using, it was despicable!

What does detective bad outhing JB have to do with anything? I guess JB's ego got shattered! *insert rolling eyes here*

OMG, the apology... what apology? Did JB apologize? I don't even want to start talking about it, what a self serving moron he is!!! Who in their sound mind would promote himself while apologizing? Give me a break!

Ritanita, please hand me one of the pills that made you woozy, will you? LOL

See you at 2 PM in court. Good Lord!

ritanita said...


Cindy and George will be testifying at the trial. So far, George has been the worst, in my most humble opinion. I don't understand how somebody with 10 years of LE experience can say the things he does. He should know how LE works.

I think back to his early chit-chats with them and he seemed to enjoy being "one of the guys". Yet, when it comes time to testify, his feeling were hurt and he feels he was used!

Oh, there is so much more I could say about George and his LE experience.

As for Cindy, she is trying to be more sympathetic when Baez questions her, the grieving mother/grandmother. However, she lets her animosity come to the fore.

The jury will probably sympathize with them to a certain degree. Nobody wants to be put in their position. However, if they continue with their nastiness and outbursts towards the prosecution and the judge, that good will will melt away pretty fast.

I hope somebody takes the videos of their testimony and uses them to educate them on how to behave in court and what will and will not do the most harm to their daughter.

One thing I do know, the prosecution will have every word they have uttered in front of them when they testify at the trial. They may need to have their memories refreshed more that a few dozen times.

Oh, and let's remember that everything they said at this hearing can be used to help them refresh their memories because they were under oath!

Anonymous said...

I just watched that Baez "Apology" again. NO WHERE in that speech was there an apology for Anything! The ONLY thing Baez kinda apologized for was to the prosecution for sometimes attacking them!! Which is ridiculous because that IS part of what they do! That's it! Baez ONLY made it "clear to everyone" what he believes in PERIOD, and the rest was self promoting. It was actually worse than I first thought it was! I'm very disappointed that the Judge allowed Baez to get away with not complying, and then also not apologizing which to me is a slap in the face.


Yes, I do have a problem with Jose Baez. His tactics are despicable. A good defense attorney doesn't find it necessary to treat people the way Baez does. I won't go into it because it would take a lot of writing to explain what I've learned in my research of how a solid defense attorney would handle a case such as this or one like it. Baez, using his questioning of Detective Melich as an example, was very disrespectful towards that officer. Baez suggested Melich was dishonest, and continually tried to twist everything Melich said and did into something it wasn't. I don't expect Jose Baez NOT to do his job at all. I expect an attorney or anyone to be respectful of others, which he is not. Baez just may have something when it comes to the few minutes Casey was in cuffs? It could be she felt as though she was under arrest at the time, If I was honest, I'd think having cuffs on means I was being placed under arrest. So I don't know if that will add up to anything or not? Nothing was said by her during that time so it may not matter? I don't dislike Baez because he represents Casey Anthony who I know is guilty. That's his job. If he can sleep at night knowing he's trying to help someone who murdered a child, that's his business. My problem with him is his unprofessionalism, his sarcasm, the degrading way he treats people, and his smug arrogance. And he's a liar, nothing worse than a liar. A good defense attorney wouldn't purposely try to ruin an innocent person's life just to win a case. It's my opinion that Baez, and a lot of others like him, shouldn't be allowed to practice law. That being said, I also don't think he has done Casey Anthony any favors. I in no way mean for this to sound combative, I wish the written word could somehow express a tone of voice. lol Some of this may seem mean spirited, but I assure you it isn't.

Take care :)

crim 310 said...

Day 4 of the Anthony Hearing. Here are the "poker tells" that I observed during the closing arguments for the Anthony Motions. Miss Anthony gave Mason a shoulder squeeze on arriving. She sat quietly, listened intently and wrote intermittently when Mason addressed the Court.During Ms. Burdick's address, Anthony began pulling at her sweater sweater collar and then wrote frenetically. Then the Defense began to furiously compare notes.
What can we learn from these things? Perhaps Miss Anthony knows that Mason is now her "Big Daddy". She believes the defense position is plausible. She knows that the State has the goods on her and the sweater collar adjustments may tell us that she feels the noose is tightening around her neck. My money is still on JP the consummate poker player in this deadly game.For what it's worth I believe that JP will allow some statements in and keep others out evidenced by his question to Mason, "When were the handcuffs removed."

ritanita said...

Crim 304, you are so right! I have a lot of faith in Judge Perry and I know he will do what is right.

I'm in the middle of writing something up about the closings right now. I'll be (hopefully) posting it sometime later in the day.

Note, I live in the East and the T&T lives on the west coast. Add 3 hours to any time I post and you will have the time I really posted!

crim 310 said...

Ritanita, I have applied to the Court for my Foreign Press Accreditation to cover this trial and I am looking forward to observing these folks through the lens of Criminal/Psychology. It will be interesting to me to see whether or not Casey really does have the "dead eyes of a killer" that I observe surfacing from time to time.

ritanita said...

I do so hope you get your credentials! I will be fascinated to find out your view of things.