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' ?
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  1. Katfish~~you really meant it when you said you were busy writing. What a great write up and very informative. Kudos!

  2. Thank you snoopy and thanks also for stopping by. I'm making up for lost time :)I wrote a fairly lengthy piece about the Stacy Barker case tooo :)

  3. Katfish

    Hi there! Thanks for the article!

    It seems that somebody had their heinie kicked yesterday!

    JB, don't you just miss JS? LOL

    The deadline for the non scientific Motions to be heard is December 31.

  4. Thank you FRG....I looked all over. I know I have a copy of that order around here but couldn't find it. The defense told the judge they would make a decision if they were going to withdraw that motion but I haven't heard their decision. have you? IMO, Kronk has been a red herring anyway. IF there were any scandal connecting him to this case it would likely be if someone told him where to find the body....nothing more.

  5. Katfish,

    No I haven't heard anything and you know, JB was at loss of words in the end of the hearing...LOL!
    I remember JB at the Nov 29 hearing that it was premature... IIRC, so you know JB will either file a Motion on Dec 31 at 4:50 pm or he hasn't succeeded with Brandon Sparks and Mr. Kronk's ex bitter wives depositions.
    I am really sorry for all that Mr. Kronk is going through, it is really sad that this guy should be thanked by the Anthony's to bring Caylee for a proper burial, but oh well, the Anthony's are in another category... I, on the contrary Katfish don't feel any sympathy for them and I am not sorry for that.
    I am really looking forward to the next hearing where AF's Motion will be heard, I find it unbelievable that she has 50 witnesses in her list, do you? 50 people wanting to try to help KC? Hmmmm. Maybe? *insert rolling eyes here*.

  6. I'm really looking forward to the next hearing too. I will be in Tampa that week and thought I'd try to check out the hearing....tourist katfish style :)

    I had the following Florida rule 3.202 in the article above because I think we can expect to see Ms. Finnell file this notice 20 days before trial. I removed it because the post was so long. I had no idea I had so many opinions until I starting writing. LOL

    (a) snipped*
    (b) Notice of Intent to Present Expert Testimony of Mental Mitigation. When in any capital case, in which the state has given notice of intent to seek the death penalty under subdivision (a) of this rule, it shall be the intention of the defendant to present, during the penalty phase of the trial, expert testimony of a mental health professional, who has tested, evaluated, or examined the defendant, in order to establish statutory or non-statutory mental mitigating circumstances, the defendant shall give written notice of intent to present such testimony.

    I found section (c)very interesting. Particularly the description of the particulars required in the notice.

    (c) Time for Filing Notice; Contents. The defendant shall give notice of intent to present expert testimony of mental mitigation not less than 20 days before trial. The notice shall contain a statement of particulars listing the statutory and non-statutory mental mitigating circumstances the defendant expects to establish through expert testimony and the names and addresses of the mental health experts by whom the defendant expects to establish mental mitigation, insofar as is possible.

    50 people? There may be that many who are on the list, the question many truly want to be there.

  7. Katfish,

    Thanks a lot, you spent a lot of time researching.

    Yes, section (c) is very interesting, to say the least. 20 days before trial? Wow, it will be hard for the Prosecutors but I guess that they are prepared for that right?

    I have many questions about the mitigation... so it is presented at the penalty phase right?

    So, will defense try explain her bizarre behavior during the 30 days, you know the partying, the tattoo, the stealing? I am not sure that Prosecutors will be able to present to the jurors the money KC stole from Amy, do you know it?

    I am not sure what mental health means but I guess that KC is not insane.

    If defense goes down this path to prove her behavior, does it necessarily have to be admitting KC killed her child?

    From my understanding, if defense will be submitting subpoena to their witnesses they have no choice but to be testify right? On the other hand, isn't it a gamble? Let me explain that... one good example is Dominic Casey, he just didn't want to spill the beans to the Prosecution, he fought and Prosecutors gave up on him (well, he was not a reliable witness anyway). Unless the defense will be deposing all of their mitigation witnesses and they got what they need to help KC. On other words, the witnesses have to be there but not necessarily will be helpful as you said, not with their hearts. I quite do not understand penalty phase.

    Is there cross examination in the penalty phase? I am assuming not.

    Sorry for the long posts Katfish. It can be confusing to me sometimes.

  8. Hi FRG,
    Don't worry about the long comments....I like to discuss this stuff. Be may get a long response. :)

    The following is my understanding of the penalty phase, if I have something wrong someone chime in and correct me. I have laws from 3 states floating around between my ears right now. LOL

    I think the reason the defense is required to be so explicit in their notice of intent is because of the short time allotted to the state before trial. I read that the trial is expected to last 7 weeks so the state can also work during that time, if needed.

    If Ann Finnell is playing along with Casey's boy's that notice won't be served until 5 pm on the 20th day before trial. Come to think of it, this issue may be a reason to argue to seal the witness list. Not sure, just thinking???

    If there is a penalty phase Casey will already be convicted of 1st degree murder and the aggravating circumstances proven....anything penalty phase. The purpose of the pp is for the defense to present mitigating factors to counter the aggravating factors already proven by the state. The state can also use this phase to present more aggravation such as criminal history and witnesses to counter the mitigation put forth by the defense. Yes, there is cross examination. This phase is all about life or death.....and excuses (some might say explanations).

    You are sure right, this is confusing.I just reread section (b)of RULE 3.202 in my comment above and it says in a capital case the defendant "shall" be the intention of the defendant to present, during the penalty phase of the trial, expert testimony of a mental health professional...." If this testimony is incumbent on the defendant why notice the state of the intent? I suppose the rule is spelled out to avoid hearings like was held the other evening in this case. ~rolling eyes~

  9. correction to last paragraph....where
    it says: a capital case the defendant "shall" be the intention of the defendant to present, during the penalty phase of the trial, expert testimony of a mental health professional....

    it should say: says in a capital case it "shall" be the intention of the defendant to present, during the penalty phase of the trial, expert testimony of a mental health professional...

  10. I think Cindys' "Caylee is still alive" act is an attempt to make Cindy herself appear a little "off". Perhaps driven a little around-the-bend by this whole awful experience.

    We're talking about someone (Cindy) who has outright lied to the Police, actively tried to frame other people for the crime her daughter committed, and is just in general one of the more unpleasant people to come across the public spectrum in a long while. Each of these factors is going to come up at trial. Having the jury think she's a just a nutbag might actually help her. I can totally see Baez thinking that.

  11. hi skatt,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

    My first instinct was the "Caylee is still alive" act was an intentional attempt to affect the jury pool. Her testimony, if she tells the truth, is very damaging to Casey. If she gets caught up in her lies on the stand she may think coming across as "being a little off" will help her out as well, with the jury and potential perjury charges.

    You make a good point that Baez is totally capable of thinking up some "kookie" strategy to help his case. All of the Anthonys have damaged their own credibility. Remember Lee saying, "I believe everything my sister tells me" (while under oath).
    After "pondering this for a bit, as someone who has drawn LTD through my employer, it occurred to LTD insurance carrier is going to want to pay indefinitely on a claim of stress because her granddaughter was killed. They have been paying her for over 2 years already, after a while they do start to draw a line in the sand and require you to jump through some hoops. I think Cindy is out for Cindy first and foremost, if she helped out Casey as well, all the better.

  12. Hey Katfish,

    Great article! Love your spunk! Hope you do go and tell us everything!!!!!!!!

    Kudo's on these articles...


  13. Merry Christmas katfish and everyone!