Judge Belvin Perry has his hands full trying to keep the Casey Anthony murder trial moving along on an even keel. The two lead counsels for the two sides keep flinging spitballs at each other when the teacher has his back turned. Judge Perry is nobody’s fool and, like any good teacher, has eyes in the back of his head and lots and lots of patience. His patience is wearing thin, though.
Too much spitball flinging is bound to get someone detention. It might even get both flinger and flingee detention, just to prove a point, before it escalates to rubber bands and paper clips.
On Friday, Perry warned lead defense counsel Jose Baez that he could not pick and choose court orders he felt like following, and that he would consider contempt proceedings at the conclusion of the Anthony trial. In Perry’s opinion, Baez had violated disclosure rules by not disclosing information that would be presented by Dr. William Rodriguez, an forensic anthropologist who was testifying on Friday when he was interrupted by objections when he gave an opinion that was not covered by his deposition. The prosecution asked for him to be deposed and to receive the deposition timely before Rodriguez would resume testimony on Monday.
Now, on Monday, with the jury waiting in their cramped jury room, Jeff Ashton, lead prosecutor, asked to speak on a procedural matter, that being the late delivery of Rodriguez’s deposition, not him giving sufficient preparation time. He further stated that he came into the knowledge that another expert witness, Richard Eikelenboom, would be testifying for the defense, but Ashton had not yet received any information. Baez argued essentially that he needed to conduct his defense the way he was doing it, which did not go over big with Judge Perry.
“I want you two to turn around and look at that clock on the back wall of the courtroom,” said Perry, preparing to teach the children. “What time is it, Mr. Ashton?”
“Nine twenty-five,” replied Aston.
“And Mr. Baez, what time is it?”
“It looks like it is nine twenty-six to me,” replied Baez.
“You see,” admonished the exasperated judge, “you two can’t even agree on what time it is!”
Perry then launched into a patient but insistent diatribe. He addressed the friction between the two attorneys, which he said was a matter for the Florida Bar to take up. Then, he proceeded to rule on the matters at hand, giving the prosecution the time it needed to read the expert witnesses’ depositions before they would testify. In the process, Perry once again warned Baez that repeated violations of the same court order would make him think strongly of initiating contempt proceedings at the close of the trial. The judge did not want this crap getting in the way of conducting a fair and expeditious trial for Ms. Anthony. Meanwhile, testimony from both Rodriguez and Eikelenboom would be delayed until Tuesday.
The judge was also unhappy about the amount of time spent on procedural matters. Here it was 9:45 and the jury had been sitting in a cramped room waiting for an hour. He told the lawyers that they would be working a full day on Saturday, and that he would consider starting at 8:30 instead of 9:00 every day. He also noted that Wednesday would be a half day, which was his fault.
With that, he brought the jury back in, noted that everyone was present, and ordered the trial to proceed.
He announced that Dr. Rodriguez’s testimony would be delayed.
“Will the defense please call your next witness.”
At the defense table, there was much paper shuffling, head scratching, muttering, and gesturing. Baez spoke.
“Dr. Eikelenboom was to be our next witness.”
With smoke coming out of his ears, Judge Perry recessed the court until 10:25 and told the boys to come to the principal’s office. No one knows what went on in there. ???? ??? People were tweeting about possible plea deals and any other thing they could think of that would gain them the validation they so sorely craved from their anonymous on-line pseudo-buddies. ???? Ten twenty-five came and went. Finally, the judge returned at 10:45.
“This court will be in recess until tomorrow morning, 9:00 AM.”
This whole thing couldn’t have sat well with Perry, who is trying to keep the trial running smoothly and proceeding with dispatch. Counsels’ shenanigans had cost the trial an entire day.
Was anyone other than Perry concerned about the defendant? It seemed that both counsels had gone deep into egocentric territory. This Turkey thinks that Ms. Anthony is getting fed up with Baez and his games. When Cheney Mason entered the courtroom, she nodded and smiled; when Baez came in, she gave him a straight-faced sidelong glance. Ms. Anthony hired Baez after receiving a recommendation from another prisoner. She stuck with him through it all, even though he showed signs of unorthodox behavior very early in the game, enough so that her family tried to convince her to dump Baez.
Only Ms. Anthony knows the truth, and she ain’t talking. In this country, she is innocent until proven guilty. Judge Perry is trying his damnedest to give her a fair trial.
As I was watching Twitter, I noted that many of the tweetheads were feeling sorry for the people attending the trial, as they would have had to get up like, really, really early in the morning and then they might not even get a seat, and now they have to go through it all over again, like, fer sure. Well, I’m here to tell you that those who think that way have their heads firmly inserted into their rectums.
Nobody held a gun to those spectators’ heads when they decided to take a chance on getting to see this, the 18th “trial of the century” so far. They called in sick at work, ditched school, or just plain got up off their lazy asses to be entertained by what they felt would be a unique moment in jurisprudence. Too bad, folks. Trials are unpredictable and mostly dull. I don’t feel sorry for you folks in the slightest. Spare me. You don’t have any “rights.”
However, I do feel sorry for the jury. They’re sequestered, meaning no outside contact at all, they’re far away from friends and family, and this trial is getting behind schedule. They have no liberty, no freedom. They cannot even discuss the trial among themselves, and they surely cannot watch or listen to news broadcasts or read newspapers. Wouldn’t you be tearing your hair out in such circumstances?
And, yes, I feel bad for Casey Anthony. If she is properly convicted, I will cease to feel sorry for her.
The circus is back in town on Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM, with Rodriguez and Eikelenboom scheduled to testify as expert witnesses for the defense.
People talk about a mistrial, but this Turkey does not believe that Judge Perry will pull that trigger. Under some circumstances — and I’ll repeat that I am not a lawyer, so this will be vague — a granted mistrial motion will result in acquittal of the defendant, with jeopardy established. In such a case, Ms. Anthony would walk and could not be re-tried. That would suck even more than the other mistrial scenario, in which the whole trial is re-started. In either case, there is every reason why Perry would want to avert a mistrial. So, unless things become lots worse with Baez, don’t be looking for a mistrial.
Those who were blowing wind about a plea deal while the lawyers with locked away with Judge Perry will be disappointed, too. ??? ??? ???? Baez is too naive and inexperienced to admit that he could lose this case. He acts like he’s God’s gift to jurisprudence, as if he is infallible. Why would he want a plea deal? He’s going to win, anyway. That having been said, I’m thinking that a deal might be the best way out of this mess for all concerned. Say aggravated manslaughter, and an appropriate sentence, maybe, perhaps.
Nevertheless, trials like this have a life of their own with lots of little twists and turns. No surprises would be a big surprise for this Turkey!
The Redhead says
I’m enjoying your take on the trial, Ben–excellent reporting. I agree about the possibility of a mistrial. That is not going to happen unless Judge Perry completely loses control of the situation which is unlikely. A plea bargain makes the most sense but I can’t imagine Baez setting aside his ego to make that happen. I’d love to hear Cheney Mason’s opinion on all of this. Maybe we will one day.
The Nittany Turkey says
People are all over the map with their emotions about this trial and the cast of characters.
Yesterday, a tweeter told me that Baez really could care less because he’ll be a rich, rich man when this trial is over. How ridiculous that is! How’s he going to get rich? Selling book rights to the highest bidder? Legal ethics would dictate that he not even go there until after all the appeals are completed, and by then, no one will care about the story. Otherwise, did she think that he was going to get rich on fat legal fees, like an F. Lee Bailey? Hell, no. Who will want to pay a big fee for a guy who lost two murder cases because of his own incompetence which, by the way, is on display before a national TV audience daily? Nope, in my humble opinion, Baez will just fade away to his strip mall law office defending drunk drivers.
The Redhead says
I’ve heard some ludicrous theories as well, the most recent being that Baez is deliberately doing a shoddy job to trigger a mistrial. Similar to the example you’ve given, I find it absurd to think that a lawyer would put his reputation–his career–at risk by acting in such a way. I would hope that Baez isn’t that stupid.