Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mark Jensen 2008 Murder Conviction Affirmed !

On December 29, 2010 the Wisconsin Supreme Court of Appeal filed their decision in  Mark Jensen's appeal of his 2008 conviction for the 1998 murder of his wife, Julie Jensen.

In it's decision the court stated, "Mark D. Jensen appeals from a judgment of conviction for the first-degree intentional homicide of his wife Julie Jensen contrary to Wis. Stat.  Jensen presents many arguments on appeal, none of which persuade. We affirm."

I included a link to the court's decision above for those anxious to read the decision for themselves. I do intend to write more about the ruling, after pondering it a few more times. It is lengthy. I just wanted to let you know that Mark Jensen's conviction and life sentence stands!

This case's status is now listed as PR, Pending Remittitur, due by January 28,2011.
(PR is case status indicating that a decision has been issued and the case is waiting for the case record, where one was filed, to be returned to the circuit court, or the file to be closed, if there is no case record.)

Given that the loss of Julie's life so outweighs any victory this ruling provides to Special Prosecutor Robert Jambois and his co-counsel Angelina Gabriele or Julie's loved ones, I don't know if congratulations are appropriate, but I hope that they all will have a long earned respite from the stress of this quest for justice that's been battled for over a decade. You have all done Julie's memory justice!
I will never forget the statement given by the prosecution after Jensen's conviction in 2008 and want to share it with you:

The Associated Press reports that Mark Jensen's attorney, Christopher Rose, says he'll ask the state Supreme Court to take the case.....not a big surprise. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, December 10, 2010

Will It Be a Cookie or a Kookie Defense? Continuing.... The Justice For Caylee Anthony Saga- UPDATED

There has been talk throughout the kingdom in the mainstream media and on the internet about what defense strategy Casey's 'Ever Changing' Defense Dream Team plans to use when / if this case goes to trial in May 2011. I personally don't envision Casey Anthony agreeing to any plea bargain, but for those that do, just for the purposes of this post, let's assume this case is going to trial. :) Because of  FL's Sunshine laws, the media's extensive coverage of the discovery, and Casey's media-shy defense team we've been given more than a few clues as to possible strategies that might be used to defend "Princess Casey" from the state's evil henchmen.

It's so ironic that even though neither Cheney Mason or Jose Baez seem to miss a chance to 'court the press' from the courthouse steps, they don't like the media and public speculating about their case...... screw that.... I haven't ventured into the Anthony kingdom for a while so it's time to check in.....and I have some thoughts I want to share about Casey Anthony's possible defenses based on what we know from all those clues :)

Princess Casey's newest minion er.. advocate, Ann Finnell, filed a motion on November 23 that attempts to seal the names of the defense' mitigation witnesses (those who they would call to testify in the penalty phase if Casey is convicted of capital murder). Judge Perry ruled at the hearing on November 29 that the penalty phase witness list would be temporarily sealed until December 20, when the media could respond as they had not been served a notice of hearing . Ann Finnell noticed the media in her Amended Notice of Hearing, so her motion to seal can be heard on December 20, at 1:30 PM. I personally have no position as to how Judge Perry rules on Miss Finnell's motion, but I do hope to be able to attend that hearing in person :) I hear it's a popular Florida tourist attraction.

This past week, Jose Baez has been dancing around Judge Perry's recent order for them to disclose information to the state about their expert witnesses. Jeff Ashton felt it necessary to file A Motion For Clarification/To Compel Compliance With Order For Additional Discovery   after  Jose Baez e-mailed him a list of their expert witnesses with just their mailing addresses and "field of their anticipated testimony", purporting to Ashton he was in compliance with the court's order. The judge's ruling, in response to the state's original Motion To Compel Additional Discovery, ordered the defendant to provide, as to it's expert witnesses, " the subject matter of what they will be testifying to and their area of expertise."  Ashton's motion includes a stream of e-mails exchanged between him and Baez over the course of an hour from the time he received the first e-mail from Baez until Jose eventually wrote some snarky comments on the original email prompting Ashton to write the new motion to clarify/compel. I recommend reading the motion for yourself but here is an example from the list:
                                     DR HENRY LEE (criminalist: He inspected the car and was at the evidence
          inspection and inspected the scene.ALL OF WHICH YOU ALREADY KNOW)

University of New Haven
    Forensic Science Program
300 Orange Avenue
West Haven, CT 05616

Despite Jeff Ashton's efforts to remain professional in the e-mails, Baez comes off as making boyish taunts. My interpretation of what Baez is really saying , " nanabooboo......I know something that you don't and I'm going to stretch this out as long as I can because I like to see you squirm." Whatever....not the first time a lawyer acted childish, I do give kudos to Mr. Ashton for staying on task. One more thing....does anyone else find it hysterical that Dr. Lee's address is Orange Avenue? Cracked me up when I saw that, life can throw out  some funny shit! (see update below for how the court resolved this issue)

Of course the defense has no obligation to put on a "defense" of any kind. It's the prosecution's burden to prove the capital murder charges against Casey Marie Anthony, 25, for the 2008 murder of her two year old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony. Some say the "best defense" would be to try to raise doubt about the credibility of as many of the state's witnesses as they can, whether it be the experts, law enforcement or civilians and stay away from too much of the "Casey's innocent" jazz or trying to defend her lies, that's a losing battle.

I see the defense also filed their Amended Defense Expert Witness List  last week. Strangest looks just like the list Baez sent to Jeff Ashton except instead of their area of expertise in parenthesis next to their names, on this list, it just says (EXPERT). Goodness.....they put a lot of effort into complying with the judge's order, didn't they? At any rate, It looks like Casey should have a mighty enough round table to wage this battle without having to blame someone else for killing Caylee......although I won't be the least bit surprised for the defense to go there. Their main goal should be to save Casey's life. But rumors are swirling that Casey Anthony's defense may want a win bad enough to forsake another for their beloved princess. ~ alas we shall see what the future holds ~

From the civilian portion of the state's witnesses, George, Cindy and Lee are most likely to be thrown under the bus. Actually, if damaging the Anthony's credibility is part of the strategy, gauging from the things Casey said about her family to her pen pal Robyn and Cindy Anthony's behavior in the courtroom along with the letters she's written to Casey in jail, "the plan"  has already been implemented. I do have sympathy for the Anthonys, they have suffered great losses, but regardless, I don't believe much they have to say. I just don't buy, even for a second, that Cindy believes Caylee is still alive.

I also don't see any benefit to the defense for Cindy to say that under oath other than to hurt her own credibility.....although the thought crossed my mind that the damage to her credibility may be just a bonus of claiming Caylee is alive. It seemed to me she may have even caught the defense off gaurd with that one. What occurred to me is Cindy was awarded disability payments through her job over 2 years ago because of the emotional trauma she was going through. I want to be clear it's not for me to judge whether Cindy's current mental disposition qualifies her for disability or not, that's for her doctor and whoever pays her the benefits to decide. Private LTD insurance companies  usually evaluate clients at least once a year to determine ongoing eligibility for benefits.....if they don't believe her by golly, she can just direct them to the tape of that hearing....the whole world knows she's crazy. LOL just saying...

Enough catching up, I'd like to talk defense strategy. For your convenience (and mine) I separated these defense strategies into two categories, the Cookie Defense Category and Kookie Defense Category.

 Defenses falling into the Cookie Defense Category are ones that were brought up in Casey's jailhouse letters to 'Cookie' aka Robyn Adams.
They are really excuses more than defenses but they're possibly very helpful to the defense team when preparing mitigation. I know we're supposed to believe this correspondence with Cookie is nothing more than the result of boredom and the need for human contact, but it may also be Casey's way of taking control, writing these contraband letters. I'm not saying these letters were 'intended for release' but she is smart enough to know it's a possibility......besides if they did get least she gets to talk, something Casey complained about during the last jailhouse visit with her parents. "NOBODY IS LETTING ME TALK!" A lot of the stuff Casey wrote did seem to be just bored chatter, but oddly enough, out of the many letters that Casey wrote to 'Cookie' she managed to condense most of the 'good stuff' into one eleven page letter. How convenient :)  From here out I'll just refer to those 11 pages as 'the cookie letter'.

Even though "the nanny did it" defense has been a leading 'contender' for a Casey Anthony defense since the first day Caylee was reported missing, the defense have been kinda stuck with this defense since the princess came up with that fable before she thought she "needed" a lawyer. For some reason the cookie letter seems to let the nanny off the Zany kidnapped Caylee but according to Casey she wasn't responsible.....for something??? : ( On page 10 of the cookie letter, Casey wrote, "You want to know something? I know that Caylee's nanny, the "real" Zenaida, the girl who was my friend for 4 years, I know in my heart that she's not responsible and I don't blame her for not showing her face.

Casey continued rambling to Cookie, would you be wanting to sit here with me for something you didn't do? Considering the circumstances, you technically are and it sucks and I know this goes without saying, but outside of myself and my legal team, not a soul knows this. I was going to take Caylee and move away. Unfortunately, my plans got beyond tangled when Zany wouldn't tell me where she and Cays were. I had asked her to take Cays for a few days so I could put the rest of our stuff together, money I had saved, new clothes, new everything. That's why I waited to report her missing, because she was and she wasn't. 

See...maybe Casey wasn't lying about a Zany (She just wasn't willing to give all of the details to help get her missing daughter back?) and see.....there was a reason for not reporting Caylee missing. Jose said there would be compelling reasons for that. NOT!

Another 'Casey clue' to a cookie defense are the sexual abuse allegations Casey made against her brother Lee and father George on pages 8 and 9 of the cookie letter. Once again, I don't think these allegations are helpful as a defense in the guilt phase, but may come in handy for mitigation. Here are some exerpts from those pages:

Anthony stated in the letters that she's an emotional wreck and said she was sexually abused."I woke up night after night with my sports bra lifted over my chest or if I had a regular bra, it would be unhooked," Anthony wrote. She claimed her brother would walk into her room at night and feel her breasts."This went on for over three years before I finally stood up to Lee and told him if he ever came in my room again, I'd kill him," Anthony said she informed her mother about the incidents, but that Cindy Anthony turned on her."When I told my mom about it two years ago, she made excuses, saying that he was sleepwalking. Not only did she say I was lying, but when I explained everything, her reaction was literally like a knife in my chest: So that's why you're a whore?"  

Anthony also claimed she thought her father, George Anthony, did the same things to her when she was much younger. She wrote," Over the past few months, I've been having really vivid dreams, and it's obvious that they are dreams of things that have already happened. I think my dad used to do the same thing to me. I can see him in my room, exactly the way it was when I was in elementary school and everything gets fuzzy. But I wake up feeling both sore and sick to my stomach, the way I used to feel growing up. Maybe that's part of the reason I have so much anxiety with my parents."

I think the content of these jailhouse letters do reflect some mental illness issues but not to the legal definition of insanity.  While being sexually abused as a child doesn't excuse killing your child, this little tidbit could be compelling evidence if there is a penalty phase. Childhood sexual abuse could go a long way in mitigating Casey's promiscious behavior before and after Caylee's disappearance, an explanation that might 'soften' the defendant a bit.....make her life worth saving. Having said all that, IMO, the abuse allegations Casey made against George and Lee seem contrived to me......but then I can't think of a single instance where Casey Anthony has told the truth. Can you? It's all the world as Casey sees it.

The second category is the Kookie Defense Category.The defenses in a Kookie Defense category are those that are well....kookie!

The most popular Kookie defenses  is the "Somebody Else Did It Defense". Roy Kronk has been a strong contender for blame since he reported finding Caylee's skull and ultimately her remains on Suburban drive. At the last hearing when asked about their pending Motion in Limine, defense counsel advised the court they would make a decision that day whether they would withdraw it and refile it closer to trial. In Judge Perry's order on his rulings from the hearing on November 29,  the court advised the defense to carefully consider before withdrawing  their Motion in Limine to Introduce Prior Bad Acts and Other Circumstantial Evidence pertaining to Roy Kronk, reminding them of the established deadline for hearing motions. It's all malarky anyway. I tried without success to look up the date of deadline for hearing motions. Anyone know off hand?

When asking the court for more investigative hours, Casey's defense was forced to admit they have spent over $8,000 on a investigation (fishing expedition) to find a searcher from TES who will say they searched the exact spot on Suburban that Caylee's remains were found. If they can get someone to say they searched that area when Casey was in jail and Caylee wasn't there ....they would prove Casey couldn't have put her there.....but that doesn't mean she didn't kill her and someone else put her there. This all goes back to the battle of the experts....not some anonymous searcher.

According to WFTV,  On December 6, Casey Anthony's defense received more evidence from prosecutors in her murder case. Among the 119 pages of documents are Texas EquuSearch documents from volunteer Laura Buchanan. Buchanan is under investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Office for allegedly falsifying documents to help Casey. She claims she and others searched the woods, three months before Caylee's remains were found there, and found nothing. Investigators say the area was under water at that time.

Judge Perry has ruled the defense must give the state a list of witnesses, as a result of the EquuSearch document review, by December 31 and any depositions of those witnesses must be completed by March 2011. Casey Anthony's defense team claims to have found 150 new EquuSearch witnesses who searched the exact area months before where Caylee Anthony's remains were found and sent its private investigator, Jeremy Lyons, to talk to them. Yep,that's where that $8,000 went, and get this.....Assistant State's Attorney Linda Drane Brudick told the judge the number of new possible witnesses was greatly exaggerated publicly by the defense."When I asked Mr. Mason about that he told me he believed there would be 6 to10 individuals that may qualify as having relevant information." More malarky!

Another person who is a strong candidate ( and Cindy Anthony's personal favorite)  for scapegoat  is Jessie Grund, Casey's onetime fiance and suspected baby daddy. I think he has been on Cindy and Casey's shit list ever since he had a DNA test done that proved he wasn't Caylee's father.....some think the reason Casey went to the Grund's home, before anyone realized that Caylee was missing, was to try and get some evidence to plant and incriminate Jessie for Caylee's death. In the Cookie letter Casey mentioned that Jose had tried to get some DNA from Jessie.....wisely he didn't comply. There are rumors swirling about other attempts to gather DNA and finger prints from Jessie but I'll leave that subject be for now, until we see what comes of the allegations. If Jessie's DNA or prints are found on the shorts and blanket (?) that the defense sent out for testing recently we will likely hear more,  until then........

The princess is growing her hair....
a back up plan in the making....
lest the jury of her peers doesn't buy....
the kookie defense her dream team is taking.   

update 12/ 10
There was a hearing at 5pm est for the court to clarify it's order of November 29 which directed the defense to share more information with the state about their expert witnesses. The hearing was scheduled to respond to the state's motion to clarify/compel filed by ASA Jeff Ashton yesterday, after an hour of back and forth emailing with Jose Baez. Judge Perry was a few minutes late....made them wait. He's a man of few words, he just asked a few questions and made a new ruling and the hearing was over.. His ruling, as your can see below was short and sweet:

"Since ya'll can't seem to agree and can't seem to understand what I meant the last time. This is what I'm going to do," Judge Perry said less than 15 minutes into the hearing. "Where experts have not prepared reports of examinations or tests, both the state and the defense are required to provide the following … the expert's curriculum vitae, qualifications of experts, the expert's field of expertise or medical specialty, a statement of the specific subjects upon which the expert will testify and offer opinions, the substance of the facts to which the expert is expected to testify, and last but not least, a summary of the expert's opinion and grounds for each opinion … All of this must be completed by 3pm on December 23."

Those questions the judge asked said it all.......he made certain it would be clear who had the most homework to do....and did so without engaging in the tit for tat of the matter. Kudos to the court! Why is it that every step this defense team takes turns out to be just plain 'kookie' ?
Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stacy Barker Wants To Make A Deal......

As I'm writing, snuggled up in a blanket in front of the computer, I can hear the wind howling outside, bringing us our first Midwest snowstorm for the Winter of 2010/11. The forecast isn't for a big storm, but you never "really" know what the wind is going to 'blow in' until after it has blown. For anyone not familiar with Midwest Winter, the wind doesn't have to bring new snow to be devastating, the accumulation of snow drifts caused by the wind are often harder to overcome than fresh fallen snow. Even so, my mind isn't so much on the storm outside, but the "storm" that seems to be brewing  out in Lancaster, CA in the Stacey Barker murder case.

Stacey Barker, 25, is charged (2nd degree) with murdering  her 18 month old daughter Emma on March 18, 2009. She is also charged with one count each of (273ab.) assault on a child causing death and (273a). felony child abuse. Barker has pled not guilty to all of the charges.

 Even though this case is being played out in the CA high desert the storm outside seems relevant, because following a
criminal case reminds me of the uncertainty of watching a winter storm in progress....You can try to "forecast"  what the outcome of a criminal case might be (through the discovery and case law), but you never know for certain what the result will be until it's over. Much like the wind continuing to blow throughout a storm, the criminal investigation can continue until the case is settled either by trial or a plea bargain. The investigation may not uncover new evidence, but like the wind blowing that old snow (and possibly new) to make a drift, the accumulation of evidence that supports each other can be as damaging as a single admission. This scenario may well be what determines the outcome of the Stacey Barker murder seems the defense may have realized they are stuck in a drift and are trying to dig themselves out.

if only.....
The hearing on December 3 was short. Once again, after confirming with both parties that they agree to stay in his court, Superior Court Judge Hayden Zackey allowed for another continuance. Judge Zackey said, " The next hearing will be on December 17..... adding....for what we were to do today ". Sorry, I can't tell you WHAT they were supposed to do today because recently much court business has been conducted in chambers .....kind of makes it hard to forecast anything.  A couple detectives (Nava was one) and a uniformed sheriff' deputy were in court today and were told to return on the 17th. A note of interest... we haven't seen or heard anything more about the defense experts that  required the trial to be delayed in September. What's up with that? Well anyway.....Zackey continued, " It's my understanding the parties are having an ongoing discussion regarding this case....we'll see if those discussions are fruitful on December 17th" adding, "Kelly will make a will make a motion, right?" Cromer agreed. If an agreement can't be reached and this goes to trial, January 7 will be a pre-trial hearing and Zackey said it will start 0 of 59.

The Saturday morning headline of the Antelope Valley Press (AVP) reads,"  Baby Barker's Mom Seeks Plea Deal!" Craig Currier of AVP reports that Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Kelly Cromer declined to comment about the specifics of the deal; however, she said she was approached before the hearing on December 3, by Stacy Barker's Public Defender, Roberto F. Dager, about the possibility of resolving this case without a trial.  Cromer also told the AVP the state has until December 17 to decide whether they will negotiate with the defendant's attorney or take this case to trial. If a plea agreement isn't reached, Cromer said this should go to trial in early February.

The state is under no obligation to accept a deal....word on the street is.....  the state has already turned down the defense offer.....we've also heard, but can't confirm, that Stacy Barker is willing to plead guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter and one of the 273 (we assume that is the felony child abuse charge 273a) in exchange for a twenty year sentence with 2 strikes and time served (subtract 20 months and don't forget good-time) . I only bring up the unconfirmed deal (consider it scuttlebutt) as a jumping off point to start a discussion....Do you think the state should negotiate or take this case to a jury? What type of deal do you think the state could make that would be justice in this case?

According to Wikipedia, "Plea bargains are so common in the Superior Courts of California that the Judicial Council of California has published an optional seven-page form (containing all mandatory advisement required by federal and state law) to help prosecutors and defense attorneys reduce such bargains into written plea agreements. Click here to see a PDF of the form, it's interesting.(Thanks LCM)

 This isn't the first discussion of a plea.Earlier this year, there was mention of an offer to settle and Deputy District Attorney Kelly Cromer was overheard saying in the courtroom, " The only deal I'll accept is 15 to life." Obviously, there wasn't a deal made. I wonder....was Dager just blowing smoke up DDA Cromer's skirt to see how strong of a case the state felt they had or was he just trying to see what color her panties were? LOL jk We will never know that answer for sure, but at the next hearing  DDA Kelly Cormer presented through the discovery process some CD's that consist of taped visits with civilians that went to see Barker in jail and some letters to and from another inmate at the jail....can you hear the whistling wind? I can and it's whistling "Erin Sutton". Whoooweoooo.....the wind can blow from all directions.

Did PD Dager forget to forecast a warning to his client........prisoners have no rights to privacy....or did she just not heed his warning? The content of the communication Barker has engaged in with her visitors or fellow inmates hasn't been made public, but I'd think it can't be good for the defense if the state intends to use it at trial. Is it a coincidence that a week or so after Erin Sutton proffered his testimony in camera Barker's visitor status changed to no visitors? What seems most telling is the defense making a plea offer following an order signed by Judge Zackey on November 17 to allow Dager and Barker a face to face visit with his laptop.
If the state has Barker on video or letters she has written making comments that are consistent with her admissions to law enforcement she may have undermined her own defense.

In my opinion, even though we've been aggravated and sometimes amused by Roberto Dager for things he has said and done in this case, such as, " There is no proof his client 'SUFFERCATED' her daughter " or when he argued his motion for a change of venue,” These dumb, stupid, idiotic, moronic people blog on things they don’t know or things they think they know in an effort to turn people or potential jurors against my client.”........he does seem to be providing Stacey Barker a vigorous defense. If the state decides to take this case to trial I'll write a post about possible defense strategies based on information we have learned during the pre-trial hearings and the motions filed so the meantime I'm going to put another log on the fire and call it a's cold out there. Sphere: Related Content