Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Visit To The Casey Anthony Murder Trial On June 8, 2011- Part 1

Will this trial  be the final chapter in the Quest for Justice for Caylee Marie Anthony?

 Mr. Katfish and I are here in Florida to visit family in Tampa for a couple weeks. We have been having a nice visit, but for me, the trip wouldn't be complete without a stop at one of the hottest Summer attractions (obsession?) in FL.....no....not Disney World or Universal  Amusement Parks, Busch Gardens or even the Kennedy space Center....my "hotspot" is the Casey Anthony capital murder trial taking place in Orlando. Most people reading here at Katfish....Ponders already know that I'm a trial junkie and this blog is devoted to cases of true crime and missing people, most of which eventually end up working their way through the American criminal justice system, my true "passion".

I intend for this post to be an in-depth account of my visit to the Casey Anthony murder trial in Orlando, FL on Wednesday, June, 8, 2011. I don't plan on giving an "entire account" of the testimony given today because there has already been so much reported (by people more qualified than I ); however, if you have any questions just ask, I took copious notes. The entire day was also streamed online, by various outlets as well as televised by HLN and TruTv's " InSession" and at least one local station, all live.  I'll be sure to include links to the coverage at the end of the post. What I really want to share with you is my personal experience...so here we go......

My husband and I are staying at The DoubleTree Hotel (very nice) on Ivanhoe and Orange Avenue, approximately a mile north of the Orange County Courthouse....My Mr. has little interest in trials so he plans on doing some "sightseeing" around downtown Orlando and hanging out at the hotel while I attend court. I hope to be able to get into the trial on Wednesday for the whole day and Thursday for a half day so our reservations are for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. We decided to stay over in Orlando because the court is allowing people to start lining up at 5:30 am to get the coveted 50 seats available to the public. Tickets are handed out between 8 and 8:30. I'm not even going to drive 1.5 hours to get in line at 5 am. LOL

Our plan is for Mr. Katfish to drop me off in front of the courthouse a little after 5, maybe come back and meet me for lunch, and then come and pick me up when court was over for the day. We planned it this way so that he would have a vehicle if he decided to get out in Orlando. After seeing there was plenty to do right at the hotel and realizing that DoubleTree by Hilton has some of the most comfortable beds we've ever encountered at a hotel, at about 4 am on Wed, Mr. Katfish decided he really didn't need the truck (LOL), so I drove myself that .8 mile South on Orange Avenue to the Orange County Courthouse ;)

Casey Town
As I enter the block in front of the courthouse, I can see "Casey Town" on my right, a mass of tents and awnings (I learned there were over 700 requests for media credentials and about 600 were issued). Across the street from Casey Town and directly in front of the courthouse building is a large media truck marked with COURT TV on the side. There doesn't seem to be a lot of activity yet in the media areas so I turn my attention to finding a spot to park and notice all of the parking meters on the block are covered to prevent parking.

L-R  parking garage, administrative building, 23 floor Orange County Courthouse, and another administrative building with a courtyard in front of the OCC and in between the 2 administrative buildings .
  Immediately on my left is the parking garage that I used when I attended a pretrial hearing on December 20, 2010 (We were in FL for Christmas with family). I see some lights are on in the parking garage and there are a few cars already parked....there is also a car at the entrance that I assume is stopped to grab his parking ticket ( I think it's $15 max for the day) just as I pull in I notice a line of about 20 people are standing on the Orange St. sidewalk in front of the administrative building (between the parking garage and the courthouse).
Orange Ave sidewalk where the early birds gather
I'd heard the court had allowed the lineup to move from across the street to this spot on the sidewalk that passes the courthouse complex at the street. (I assume to eliminate some of the stampede at 5:30) I'm starting to feel pretty excited about being here.....that and the caffeine is starting to kick in. WooHoo!

I pulled right behind the car entering the garage and notice out of the corner of my eye some more people are being dropped off to join the line. I'm regretting not having Mr. Katfish drop me off and the car ahead of me isn't moving....WTH? I honk my horn and immediately I regret my impatience...not my normal MO....so I get out and approach the car. I smiled at the man in the car to soften the sting of my horn and ask if he plans on parking. I notice the man has on a uniform and realize he is some type of courthouse employee, thankfully, he smiles back at me before pointing out the cone blocking his entry....he tells me the garage opens at 5:30 (it's about 5:15 now) and then asks if I'm here to get a ticket for the trial. When I tell him yes, he suggests I go ahead and park on the street behind the courthouse so I can get in line, adding the meter maids don't start patrolling until 9am. I thank him for his kindness and get back in my truck and back out to go around the block. I find a parking spot with no problem, feed the meter for the maximum allowed, 2 hours (I don't want to chance our only transportation being towed off. LOL) and cut through the back of the courthouse entry/courtyard.

~Time to get in line ~

When I get to the front of the courthouse there is a OCSO deputy/bailiff standing in the courtyard near the corner of the administration building, I smile and tell him I'm here to get a ticket for a seat, the officer points to a roped off area under the awning on the administrative building and I see the people from the line are being allowed to come on the courthouse property now (Basically just turning the corner of the building and the line begins at the opposite end up near where the bailif was standing.). To my relief there is no running or inappropriate behavior that I can see so I take my place in line. It looks like 30-40 people in front of me...drats...I hope I get a seat!

One thing I notice right off is the number of young people around me in line. Directly behind me is a group of 3 girls who appear to be early to mid twenties. In line in front of me are 2 guys in their early twenties, and in front of them are 3 more girls in their very early twenties. The first  30 or so people in line ahead of us look to be in their 40's and 50's for the most part, and there he is....right at the front of the line, neck brace guy. LOL! Most of the people who show up in the next 15 minutes or so are older women, hopefully they will get in. By about 6 am it's obvious there are way more people here than will be able to get in, regardless, everyone stays in line and remains pretty civil, some young adults at the end are getting a little loud but really they are just acting goofy, not belligerent.

The guys in front of me (since we end up sitting with each other all day, at the risk of sounding like Casey Anthony, I'll call them "my boys" from here on out.) have attended the trial another day so they are "sharing their knowledge" about the workings of this ticket system with the pretty young girls ahead of us and behind me. Of course, I'm all ears and learn after a while, that when everyone is pretty well established in line, people can step out and use the restroom (located in the building we are lined in front of) or move their cars. I'm relieved to hear this...I was just thinking about calling Mr Katfish and ask him to either ride his electric wheelchair here or get a ride from the hotel shuttle to pick up the truck. I wait until some around me have ran their "errands" and then go move my truck into the parking garage at about 7 am. Good! Now I don't have to worry about that.

All morning there have been camera crews taking still shots and video up and down the line. A few of them are taking head counts too, after several tell me I'm number 40-42 I feel comfortable I'll get a seat. My boys tell me the first 20 are seated on the main floor in the courtroom and the rest are seated in the balcony with the media.

Jim Lichtenstein, a producer for the Today show is trying to find who in line has traveled the farthest to be here. Everyone near me was from FL. I'm not sure who Lichtenstein came up with...perhaps he should have checked among his colleagues....there was a reporter from Japan trying to interview people in line. A reporter I spoke with from the Miami Herald told me the Japanese reporter doesn't speak English but his camera girl does, so she is pulling double duty. Can you believe with everything going on in Japan, they would send someone here to report this case? I suppose it's a diversion.

I found the reporter from the Miami Herald, Audra D.S.Burch, to be a very interesting person. After I told her I have a true crime blog and have occasionally written about this case she asked me to leave the line for a few minutes and sit down on a nearby bench to talk. (A welcome break after standing for hours, many have sat on the sidewalk but I was afraid if I got down there I would have trouble getting up with these knees ~ o ~ mine. LOL) Here is a link to the story Audra wrote about the trial and those attending for the Miami Herald. It's very interesting, she was here all week and interviewed a lot of people...I also did a search on Ms. Burch and linked (with her name above) the results, she has written some very interesting pieces and won some prestigious rewards. I'm glad I had the chance to meet her.

At about 8 am , staff from the court comes and hands out laminated sheets with rules of conduct for the courtroom. The energy is increasing in the line now, those who didn't receive a sheet will not get in this morning, but most stay anyway. My boys tell me there are usually a few people who get kicked out for sleeping or some other infraction and some people don't come back for the afternoon session so it's possible these people could get those seats. At 8:15 the court personnel take back the laminated rules sheets and at 8:30 return to hand out the actual seat tickets. Here is my ticket:


Once the tickets are handed out people disperse from the line. I head straight over to the main entrance of the courthouse and get in line again. This line is for everyone coming to the courthouse (for whatever reason) to go through a security checkpoint.Surprisingly, this only takes a few minutes so I make a "pit stop" up on 23 before I go into the courtroom. In the ladies room I speak with a woman who also has her husband stashed at their hotel....they are from Tennessee and came specifically for her to attend the trial. She said her husband had retired recently and hadn't been able to pry her from the TV watching the trial so he finally told her, "Let's just go to Orlando!" I thought that was a hoot!

~ Let's head into the courtroom ~

I make my way into Judge Perry's courtroom on 23 and a bailiff checks my ticket and directs me to a stair well on my left to go into the balcony. When I get up to the balcony another bailiff tells me which row to go to....I'm kind of bummed when I realize my seat is smack dab in the middle of the row. Once everyone is seated I look around and realize my whole row is made up of the same people I was right in line with. The 3 girls behind me and another woman have the 4 seats behind me and my boys are right next to me with the 3 girls ahead of them seated before them at the beginning of the row. There are 5 rows of seats, the first 2.5 rows are media seats. There are monitors across the front row that are showing split shots from various cameras throughout the courtroom being manned by people who aren't familiar.

The first person I recognize in the media section is Dave Knechel aka Marinade Dave. Dave is a blogger from Orlando that has been closely following this case and was hired by the Orlando Magazine to cover the trial for them. He is seated in the row in front of me at the far end. I'm happy for Dave to have received the media credentials so he can attend daily. Once Dave sees me he smiles and indicates we will meet in the hall at the morning break. I have followed Dave's blog for a long time but had the opportunity to meet him in person last December when I attended a hearing in this case.....it's funny how you can meet someone on the internet and become friends but not even know what each other looks like and then when you do meet feel like you have known them forever. It's like that with Dave and me but I have also had the same experience with others. I met another "trial buddy", Karental, for lunch in Tampa and it felt the same...like I had known her forever. Life is good :) I look forward to meeting up with many more of my online friends in the years to come!

~ A Little "Starstruck" ~
 Back to the trial....court will start in a few minutes so I look around to see if I see any "big names". Throughout the day I saw,  Jean Casarez  InSession Correspondent / Attorney sits in the front row keeping an eye on one of the monitors and a producer from InSession named Mike who does some on air reports sits right behind her. Ashleigh Banfield is here, now a reporter for ABC,  formerly of CTV / In session. Judge Jeanine Pirroformer District Attorney and County Court Judge who now hosts a tv "court show" with her name, is here and seated with a couple people. Aphrodite Jones, Author and TV host of "True Crime with Aphrodite Jones" on Investigation Discovery, came in and takes a seat that in a few minutes turns out is Natisha Lance's seat, Nancy Grace Producer. The first witness was on the stand when Natisha entered the balcony so she tells Aphrodite to stay in her seat and takes an empty seat next to Dave; however, Natisha immediately reclaims her seat when Aphrodite leaves later in the day. I thought Aphrodite looked a little tired when she came in this morning but much more so now as she leaves, hope she's not sick that's all everyone squished in this balcony needs◔_◔ . Another woman takes the seat that Natisha just left next to Dave and stays there for the remainder of the day. (I assumed she was a reporter, but later learn her name is Susan Constantine, after seeing her make a couple appearances on HLN to speak as a body language specialist.) I should note that the bailiff is very strict about people remaining in their seats assigned by the court seat ticket for media and public....I'll talk about this more in a bit. I didn't note when Beth came in; however, Beth Karas, InSession Correspondent / Attorney comes in later in the afternoon and replaces Jean Casarez in the front row.



Here are a few  pictures I grabbed off the internet of Baez and the Anthonys. I can't really say I'm starstruck by any of the Anthony family but without a doubt they are the "stars" of this case. I barely caught a glimpse of George and Cindy when coming into the entry of the courtroom to reach the balcony. The lower gallery is dismissed before the balcony is allowed to disperse when court breaks so the Anthonys and other people in the gallery are gone before I reach the hallway or the elevator. Casey and her defense team are in full view from the balcony 
and her "mug" is plastered all over the media's monitors in front of us.


 ~ Order is the rule of the day ~

The bailiff get's everyone's attention in the balcony and reminds everyone of court decorum. He says anyone caught sleeping or being disruptive (chewing gum, talking, etc) will be asked to leave and not allowed back in the courtroom for the day. He reminds everyone to silence their cellphones and says that nobody can have out their cellphone, IPad, etc unless they are wearing media credentials. I already turned my phone off before I came up the elevator....I do not want to risk the ire of Judge Perry. The bailiff also reminds the accredited media they are restricted to texting on their devices. This is definitely Judge Parry's court nothing is left to chance.

All day the bailiff on the balcony kept a very close eye on everyone in the balcony and the gallery downstairs. I noticed that a bailiff downstairs also monitored the balcony and the gallery, it seemed like a very structured procedure. I'll talk about this more in a bit, but the Honorable Judge Belvin Perry has entered the courtroom and things get underway for day 13 of the trial.

After the court officially recognizes both parties. (I count 3 attorneys at the state table adjacent to the jury box and facing the court and 6 attorneys at the defense table directly across and facing the jury box, there is someone sitting at the table the defense would have normally been seated at that I think might be an investigator for the state or possibly another attorney.) Jose Baez is on his feet. The defense wants to renew their previous objections on the record about evidence coming in pertaining to the cadaver dogs. Judge Perry says," As for the video training, the trier of fact can determine the credibility but they must know the training.Objections denied." The videos weren't shown today, maybe yesterday(?), at any rate, the videos are part of the evidence so the jury will have access to them. Being on vacation I've missed a lot of the trial so far....I try and hit some blogs and news outlets to keep up as much as I can but I'm sure I've missed some things.

~ The State's Case in Chief continues Day 13 ~
     First Witness - Sargent Kristin Brewer
Sgt Brewer's mark

Assistant State's Attorney Linda Drane Burdick (LDB) calls the state's first witness for the day, Kristen Brewer of the Osceola County Sheriff Department. Sgt. Brewer reported her own work history and background with search dogs before she testified to the training and history of her cadaver dog, Bones, as well as the logistics and results of Bone's search of the backyard at George and Cindy Anthony's home ,on Hopespring Dr., on July 17, 2008. LDB showed Brewer a photo of Caylee Anthony's playhouse in her grandparents' backyard, Brewer circles the area indicating where her dog was in the yard when he alerted.

Deputy Forgey's mark

Brewer's testimony follows up yesterday's testimony of Deputy Jason Forgey of the Orange County Sheriff's Office about his dog, Gerus, who searched and alerted on both the Anthony's backyard and Casey's Pontiac Sunfire. Brewer told LDB that after Bone's first search and alert, Deputy Forgey told her "Gerus" had alerted "within" 6 - 8 feet of "Bone's" alert in the back yard. Here is the picture Forgey circled of the same area of the backyard in previous testimony....looks pretty close to me. Hopefully the jury will have access to both pictures.



Jose Baez arrows on Brewer's mark
 During his cross examination of Sgt. Brewer, Jose Baez went to great lengths to get her to admit that 6 - 8' from where she had circled was over by the pool which is out of range in these pictures the red arrows are Baez artwork. (You can see the direct and the cross of Sgt. Brewer in parts 1 and 2 below.) 

 

I finally found a picture of the Anthony's yard.....check out the distance from the playhouse to the pool....wayyy more than 6-8' for sure,
they are on total opposite ends of the house! The arrow in this particular
picture is pointing at the shed but you can see the roof of the playhouse
at the corner of the house.

I've noticed the prosecution team has worked their way through the specific timeline of this case when presenting their case in chief, down to presenting this testimony in the same order as their dog's searched the Anthony home. Hopefully the state presenting their case in this manner will make it easier for the jury to focus on the timeline when they deliberate as well as go through the evidence.


I'm going to break right here because this is the point in the testimony that I had to leave my seat and go to the ladies room and take a pain pill. I have bad knees and while the seats themselves are padded and comfortable I have long legs and there is NO room to move my legs....to even attempt to cross them creates a hazard of kicking someone in the head. I'll be back with part 2.


Links to YouTube Video of day 13 of the testimony
Thanks to Sierra for posting these!

June 8, Day 13 - Part1
                            Part 2
                            Part 3
                            Part 4
                            Part 5
                          Part 6
                           Part 7
                          Part 8
                          Part 9
                          Part 10 
                          Part 11        Sphere: Related Content

27 comments:

  1. Reading your blog is like seeing it in my mind! I feel I know more than I learned when I watched the vids of June 8. Knowing who is there and feeling that excitment with you is awesome! Birds-eye-view through anothers eyes yet I was peeking in a window seeing it just as you did. Looking forward to next part!

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  2. Hi KF! Sounds like a long but interesting day! How's Dave holding up? My DS & DIL were in Orlando last week and when talking to DS about what they were going to do while there, I started to say "You can go to the...oh, never mind!" Had I finished the sentence he prolly would have had me committed. They just don't get it.

    Can't wait to read about the rest of your day! As Bill Shafer keeps saying "History is being made." And you were there! So happy you got in!

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  3. TP and LCM,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. June 8 was a very long day and there is much more to tell, both in the courtroom and out. Attending the trial in person is almost surreal but very interesting at the same time.I have set aside some time tomorrow to write some more.

    Haha about your DS and DIL, LCM. My sis and niece and nephew weren't very interested until they started watching when I had the trial on....then they started watching it in the break room at their work LOL....they will never be trial junkies like us, their lives are too busy I guess, but this case is riveting even to those who wouldn't normally give more than a glimpse in passing.....can't make this stuff up.
    Dave seems to be holding up well. He helped make my experience memorable, you'll hear more about that in the next part.

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  4. Katfish, I really felt like I was there with you. Getting up early to be one of the 50, standing in line, moving your car, and getting your seat in the gallery.

    I love hearing and seeing all that happens behind the camera lens. There's a much different quality about the trial that you get when you are there, inside the courtroom. It's a much different vibe. You can feel the energy of all the players, see the jurors faces and get a feel of all that's going on. You're experiencing the trial verses watching it.

    I'm really looking forward to part 2!

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  5. Thanks Sprocket! I do have a lot more to talk about my experience in the courtroom and out. I'm going to work on it today, hopefully I can get it done in one more part but it may take 2. Stay tuned ;)

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  6. Hey Katfish, Looking forward to reading more about your experiences in and out of Judge Perry's courtroom.

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  7. Thank you so much for posting such a detailed account. I've only had time to skim through this evening, but plan on reading all of your account later. I really appreciate your posting it and am sure I will have more to comment on once I read the entire thing. :-)

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  8. Katfish: I enjoyed reading your post very much. Thanks for sharing the 'sights and sounds' of a day in court.

    That was heart-breaking testimony when they showed the little play house, complete with mailbox.

    I had never realized how close the hits by both Gerus and Bones were.

    I, too, thought that Baez' point about Bones hitting closer to the pool was not one of his finer moments. If he has any. :wink:

    Looking forward to part 2.

    nan11

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  9. This was an interesting account. I used to live in FL, and was there when the case first started. I appreciated your perspective and felt as if I was standing in line with you - good delivery! I will be looking forward to your updates!

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  10. Hi, Katfish!

    I enjoyed your article! I felt as though I was in the dark garage with you, backing out and parking on the street.

    I even felt as though I was in line with you and "your" boys.

    Loved your article and looking forward to Part 2!

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us! ♥

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  11. I started reading your blog when I saw somewhere, maybe here on google that you had blogged about Mark Jensen in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I am from there and living in Georgia and knew Mark's family and for the first time for me watched an entire trial.

    I added you to my google page and have since been reading your blog off and on. Today I realized you are a woman. Just wanted you to know that I am reading you daily now and I am a fan. Keep Blogging, Judy

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  12. Hi Judy!
    I'm glad you're enjoying my blog. I wish I could find more time to write, everyday life keeps interrupting, LOL, but you may have noticed when I do find time it's a marathon.

    The Mark Jensen case had a big impact on me and I don't even know the players so I bet it was very intense for you. Did you know Julie? I recently learned that the WI Supreme Court declined to hear Mark's appeal after the WI Appellate court upheld his conviction. Next destination for his case may be the US Supreme Court. Whether they will hear it or not IDK but it's possible they will because of the case law cited in his appeal...his attorney's were quoted as saying they were surprised the WI Supremes wouldn't here it.
    So, have you been watching any of the Casey Anthony trial? I hope to be able to finish up part 2 today after I do some errands.
    Thanks for commenting Judy!

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  13. Hi Ann in TX!
    Hope to see at Simon's BTR chat today there should be ALOT to talk about....or should I say speculate?

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  14. Hi, katfish! I am so thankful I found this blog by Googling what time the OCC parking garage opens. I owned a home in the historical section of downtown Orlando on Amelia St. (approx. 1.5 miles from the OCC) for 18 years but have lived in Deland for the last 7. Downtown Orlando has exploded in growth during that time so your detailed info re: first parking in a metered spot then moving the car later, in addition to the time the parking garage opens, was invaluable!!!

    As I'm sure you know, the rules for obtaining seating for the trial changed on June 17 after the "melee." Now people wait for seating assignments the day prior to attending court. I arrived at 5 am yesterday, June 25, to gain a seat for Monday (tomorrow). 1 couple (mid-20's) were the only ones there, so I was third in line! At 5:15 am a second couple (early 60's) arrived, followed a bit later by a man in his 30's. It wasn't until about 7 am that the majority of people began arriving. It was also the time that those attending court yesterday began arriving. If one is not present by 8:00 am (bailiffs said to arrive between 7:45-8 am), they will not be able to attend as it appears the bailiffs now usher the group into court through a back door.

    As it happened, yesterday was also when court was unexpectedly recessed at approx. 9:45 am until tomorrow. Two court bailiffs/Orange Co. Sheriffs arrived, checked our ID, then wrote our names on a list in order of our line spot. Yesterday there were apparently some "special guests" who were seated in the first seats designated for the public so yesterday's group were all shifted over 6 seats. Unless something like that occurs, I will be in seat 15 (from the seating chart at http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/2011/may/239906/) which is directly behind where Geraldo Rivera sits when he is in court. At this point I plan on wearing a white blouse.

    Thank you again for this interesting blog. I look forward to reading more.

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  15. Czari, Thanks so much for letting me know my post was helpful to you in getting a seat...well....not getting a seat, you're the one there bright and early...but at least helpful information by way of parking,etc... I'm tickled.
    Congratulations on getting a seat
    downstairs ...you definitely have more room to move your legs down there. I have heard the public isn't allowed to take notes down there but for the life of me I don't know why that would be...I'll be looking for you tomorrow :)

    The internet is on fire this weekend with speculation about what happened Sat....Monday may be a great day to attend.Please stop by and let me know what you think of the experience.

    I'm aware the procedure changed for getting a public seat because of all the craziness. This procedure makes more sense too....less people falling asleep in the courtroom. I hope you have a wonderful experience (that's the difference between watching the trial on tv or internet....you experience it)!

    Sorry I didn't have a chance to reply earlier.

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  16. Czari, I followed your link to the seating chart cf13 posted. I can tell you that the seating chart for the balcony isn't accurate. I had seat 82 which is shown on this chart as 74, the seats have permanent number plates on them too. I know work was done on this courtroom in anticipation of this trial so perhaps this is an older chart. I'm nearly certain there were 5 rows of seats in the balcony too...perhaps the first row is on portable or folding chairs, that is where the monitors are for IS production. I'm sorry I can't tell you more about the gallery....other than wear your camera smile :) looks like you're right in camera line of view.

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  17. Hi again, Katfish :) 1:30 am here. Went to bed at 7 pm so I would have plenty of time to dress/prepare for court. I noticed the same thing about the balcony seating after reading your blog entry. One of the women I met in line had printed out the seating chart that she said she got from the OCC website but I haven't been able to find it and don't know if it's different. *If* the Channel 13 seating chart is correct for the balcony, the only thing I can figure is that seat 82 wasn't used for media that day since it appears to be a generic seat that various media participate in a lottery for. I noticed while watching Channel 13 one day last week (a local channel - I like it because they don't have commercial breaks so I don't miss anything) there was a banner going across the bottom of the screen saying 60 seats were available for the next day when 50 has been the "magic number."

    I'm glad to hear the downstairs seating has more leg room since I'm 5'10" with long legs. I wondered about taking notes. I'm almost positive I've seen people taking notes in that area while watching on TV and one of the women who was in the courtroom on Sat. and was downstairs, although in the last row, came out with a notepad that I assume was notes she took inside. I hadn't planned on taking notes but that is an interesting "rule" if note taking isn't permitted downstairs. Along with all the other rules of not chewing gum, drinking water, talking to the person next to you, etc., I can only imagine a uniform public view is desired with no actions that would stand out and detract from the proceedings.

    Off to eat "breakfast" and start getting ready. Will post either tonight or tomorrow with an update!!

    A fellow court junkie,

    Czari

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  18. Czari, I hope you have a great day! I was told that about the note-taking downstairs rule by someone in the gallery, but it wasn't court personnel so I wouldn't swear to it. I suppose you could take a notebook and not use it in the courtroom if that is indeed the rule....oh yeah....no slouching in your seat too. LOL

    You might keep your eyes on the jury when/if Judge Perry explains what "legal matter" came up on Saturday. IMO that is the greatest value of attending...being able to see things the camera misses or isn't allowed to record...such as the jury. I don't imagine the jury is very happy about a wasted weekend, but they were pretty stoic when I was there. It's usually interesting to note if they are taking notes.

    I meant to tell you too, there is an Italian restaraunt just South of the courthouse(left coming out the front doors) called Fratelli's that was good and seems to be a popular spot with peeps at the courthouse. I'm pretty sure there is a cafeteria inside the courthouse too.

    Looking forward to your post about the day =)

    kat

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  19. Hi katfish :) Sorry about the delay in responding. Monday was the "Marathon" court session that ran until after 7 pm EST. I was EXHAUSTED and am just starting to feel my energy returning today.

    While we were waiting outside to go into the courthouse, we saw Ann Finnell arrive and an audible "Ohhhhhh" was heard by those of us outside. We were all buzzing with the thought that if she was here, that Casey had entered a plea deal of guilty and Ann was present to begin testimony in the penalty phase. I'm sure you now know the reason for the early court dismissal on Sat. was due to defense seeking a mistrial on the grounds that Casey is "incompetent" to continue with court proceedings. I think it was 2 psychologists and 1 psychiatrist who examined Casey and all concluded she was indeed competent. The jury was not in the courtroom when this was revealed nor were they told. Also, after we were seated at 8:30 am and waiting for court to begin, Judge Perry came into the court without his robes on and then immediately he and all attorneys went into his chambers, with Casey sitting by herself at the defense table. An audible groan was emitted in the courtroom as the thought crossed our minds that it was possible court would once again be recessed. Judge Perry & all attorneys were in chambers until 9:30 am, so my day in court began by sitting for an hour wondering what was happening.

    To relay my experiences would be the size of a blog entry...lol...but the following are a few of the things that stuck in my mind:

    *The way the Deputy Sheriffs kept staring at us kind of freaked me out. A female Deputy stood behind a recess in the wall and every 5 minutes or so slowly moved around to face us. Another Deputy strolled up and down the aisle, stopping to look us all over periodically. I felt guilty even though I wasn't doing anything, lol. I was concentrating so hard on not making any facial expressions that I realized at times I was tensed up and holding my breath.

    *I already knew Casey is 5'1" and slightly built, but in person she looks MUCH tinier than she does on TV. While sitting alone for the first hour, she kept her head down and read some paperwork. If I knew nothing about this case, I would have felt sorry for her because she looked so small and vulnerable. However, I well know the anger she exhibits and while watching her father in agony in court today, she looked on in disgust.

    *The main reason I wanted to be in court was to see the jurors. For some reason they were different looking than I expected. Every morning Jose Baez says "Good morning" to them with a wide smile and nods his head. I've heard them respond "Good morning." I saw in court when they respond, their faces are expressionless.

    *There are pros and cons to sitting on the main floor vs the balcony. As you said there is no leg room in the balcony, which I'm sure would have made me very uncomfortable as I was squirming around even with some leg room. However, people who have been in both areas said that you can see much better in the balcony because the seats are tiered. On the ground floor all the seats are level. My mother said the man sitting diagonally in front of me blocked my face most of the time. The couple I was with who sat in seats 13&14 could be seen from the few clips I saw due to the woman having platinum blond hair and a bright pink blouse. My red hair, pulled back into a clip, and green shirt were very visible, but in the clips I saw my face was obscured. The couple in the 2 seats on the other side of me were wearing black and white and blended into the crowd. The man on the aisle seat of that row is a large man and was wearing a white shirt, so he was always seen when the cameras panned over. Also, I could only see from the top of the nose up for a few of the witnesses, so TV is a much better "up close" view of the witnesses.

    Court is resuming from lunch break...will stop by later and write a bit more. :)

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  20. Czari! I understand very well what a long day in court can take out of you....especially this case. The Bailiffs are ever vigilant in watching the people seated in the gallery and the balcony, whether the general public or the media. The rules apply equally to both groups other than the media being allowed to text or use iPads.

    I enjoyed your account of the day you spent in court and look forward to hearing more. If you're interested in submitting your experience as a guest entry here at my "pond" I would be happy to carry it. I know many would enjoy it who may miss your account posted as a comment in the blog. It's up to you, either way I'm happy to hear from you. If you are interested in a guest entry you can e-mail me through my blog profile page, if not comment away right here, please. I enjoy your writing style. :)

    I'm still working on part 2 of my post, everyday life has taken presidence lately...well...other than watching the trial live everyday. Haha! I tried to write while watching the trial and it didn't work out so well....hard to focus with all of the drama in court of late. I have worked on it though :)


    There is definitely a difference from "experiencing" a trial in person and "watching" on TV but they both have their pluses and minuses....watching from home is definitely the most comfortable of the two and is truely a better view of the person testifying. I'm laying in my adjustable bed with a cup o coffee and my laptop on my lap watching the trial as I write this and if Mr. katfish doesn't like the faces I make he can close the door. LOL

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  22. Czari, It sounds like you had a very interesting day in and out of court....very cool!
    I imagine those 4 little restaurants in the block past the courthouse usually pick up a lot of traffic from the courthouse, but they have no doubt seen quite an increase in business the last 8 weeks :)

    I'm going to drop you an e-mail about a guest entry after I post this comment. Kat

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  23. I accidently deleted this comment made by poster, Czari, on June 29, 2011 at 11:37 AM. I'm very much enjoying Czari's comments about attending the Casey Anthony trial!


    Czari said...
    Back to continue my comments re: my day in court. Ohhh, yes...between standing in line to wait for tickets, then sitting in court all day, it truly can be tiring.

    I would enjoy accepting your offer of being a guest entrant on your blog. Thank you for your comment on my writing style.

    Back to the trial - the most memorable part of my trial experience was lunch. Josh and Morgan (seats #13&14-they are sitting there again today) and I strolled down Orange Ave. to find a lunch spot. We considered an Italian sub shop and a restaurant called "Comfort Food" next to it. A Szechuan Chinese restaurant third in that row caught Josh's attention. While discussing which of the 3 to choose, we all spotted the next restaurant - Cuban cuisine. All 3 of us said simultaneously, "Let's go there." The restaurant was quite small and a line of people were already ahead of us...including George & Cindy Anthony. We could tell the tables were quickly being taken so Morgan left us in line to go snag a table. While Josh & I were waiting, Josh said, "Look who's behind you." As I turned around I was delighted to see Jeff Ashton and Linda Drane Burdick several people behind us! I had prayed for an opportunity to speak with Jeff Ashton to tell him I had been a juror on a murder case he prosecuted in 1993. I stepped back to speak with him. He was very approachable and friendly. When I told him about the former trial he said, "Ohhh, no kidding?" very animatedly. We chatted briefly about it, he thanked me for telling him, and as I returned to my place in line, I could tell LDB was asking what that was about and heard snippets of Jeff Ashton relaying our conversation. (LDB is as serious looking in public as she is in court. I don't think I have seen her smile once during the trial. Regardless, she is obviously an extremely skilled prosecutor and I admire her as well as Jeff Ashton greatly.)

    Apparently this restaurant is a favorite for the trial "regulars" as I also saw Ryan Smith, correspondent with HLN "In Session," there as well. When we finally got our lunch and headed to the table Morgan was saving, I saw that the table on the opposite side of the doorway, approx. 6' from us was where George, Cindy, and a woman I believe from what courtroom "regulars" told me was Cindy's best friend who is often in court with her. It was surrealistic to be in a very "normal" locale and sitting within speaking distance of the couple I have been watching on TV for the last 3 years.

    So much more to relate. I can't wait for your Part II, Katfish. Thank you for permitting me to take up so much of your comment section. *smiles*

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  24. Not guitly except for lying to police...... dont even know what to say to that. Is that it then? They cant try her again, right? Where is the justice for this little girl?!? Speechless right now

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  25. Kat, that was a wonderful piece, I got that you were proud to be there with all the Press, as you should be as you are kinda press as it is with this blog...
    I think you were so detailed that I felt like I was right there with you. thanks...
    I thought the DA'S put on a great argument for a guilty verdict...WTF...NOT GUILTY..BS
    the Jury did not do their job, they did not even ask for anything to be sent back to them, they just wanted to get back home...I am dissapointed in them, they are going to catch heat for a long time to come for this. I hope the guy going on the Cruise gets seasick the whole trip! well, she will screw up again and then I hope they hand her, her ass!

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  26. Katfish said to Judy: The Mark Jensen case had a big impact on me and I don't even know the players so I bet it was very intense for you. Did you know Julie? I recently learned that the WI Supreme Court declined to hear Mark's appeal after the WI Appellate court upheld his conviction. Next destination for his case may be the US Supreme Court. Whether they will hear it or not IDK but it's possible they will because of the case law cited in his appeal...his attorney's were quoted as saying they were surprised the WI Supremes wouldn't here it.
    So, have you been watching any of the Casey Anthony trial? I hope to be able to finish up part 2 today after I do some errands.
    Thanks for commenting Judy!

    Sorry for taking so long to get back to you Katfish. I too got caught up in life. :) Anyway about Mark, I did not know Julie but I met Mark a few times. I met his parents as they were friends of friends of ours so we met a club we all belong to. If I met Julie, I don't remember her. However Mark's dad scammed some of our friends in the stock market so I never forgot that cuz our friends lost a lot of money.

    They all did know Julie and my doctor also was their doctor and he actually took the stand. I listened to the entire trial and if I was not home I taped it. Lol! After the trial I had a doctors appt and did talk to him about it. He was really interested in what I said about Mark, cuz I had been in an abusive marriage kind of similar and often think It was a good thing I got out. I am a fan of NCIS and so as Gibbs would say, I feel in my gut that Mark was guilty.

    I wonder if you will be making more comments about the Cassie Anthony trial. I am sure many would like your take on the verdict.

    I have no comment at this time. Hugs! Judy

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  27. Judy! Sorry so long to respond! I have been very busy taking my frustration, caused by the Casey Anthony verdict, out on my backyard! There is plenty to do too, after several weeks of being wrapped up in Stacey Barker trial, our 3 week Florida vacation followed by 3 more weeks of Casey Anthony trial when we got home. LOL It's a jungle out there ;)

    I will have something to say about the verdict....I have been jotting down thoughts as they come....I really want to let the shock wear off and see how things unfold in the coming weeks. I can say this....I for one don't give a flying fig where Casey Anthony is now and I wish the media would just stop chasing her.....IMO, they're feeding the beast. LOL

    Sorry to hear your friends were scammed. Mark's Dad's character was also brought in at trial. I can't remember exactly what was said, but IIRC, the State used his prior legal trouble to impeach his testimony.

    Hugs back to you Judy! Kat

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