The Casey Anthony murder trial wrapped up its evidentiary phase today and will stand in recess until Sunday morning at 9 AM. The main order of business today was the prosecution’s rebuttal, which was delayed by some shenanigans by the defense, as I mentioned in my previous post. However, once it got going, which had to wait for the afternoon hours while the lawyers farted around making Baez happy, the testimony was swift and directly to the point.
The major point was Cindy Anthony’s testimony. It was cut to shreds by the terrible, swift sword of the prosecution. Rebuttal witnesses reviewed time records for the hospice company with which Cindy was employed during the time she claimed to conduct internet searches for “chloroform” and other incriminating terms from her home computer. The company, being a public company and in the health care business is subject to daunting Federal regulation with respect to retention and upkeep of financial records (per Sarbanes-Oxley) and health care records (HIPAA). The records produced by an officer of the company show that Cindy Anthony was at work while the internet searches were being done on the home computer. Clearly, someone else did the searching.
Having been soundly impeached in this fashion, could Cindy be charged with perjury? Many legal pundits believe that she could but she will probably not be charged. Any number of reasons have been cited for why she will not be charged, the sympathy factor being the strongest, and at the same time, the weakest. Others have suggested that a perjury trial for Cindy would cloud the appeal of the Casey Anthony trial, should Casey be convicted. Finally, Ninth District State Attorney Lawson Lamar would like to keep his job, so he’ll think about this matter very carefully before he makes an arrest.
The other issue the prosecution rebutted was the testimony of the defense’s expert forensic pathologist in which he stated that Orange-Osceola County medical examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia did a “shoddy” job with the initial autopsy of Caylee Anthony, and that the top of the child skull should have been sawn off to enable inspection of brain matter. The prosecution’s expert rebuttal witness knew of no such dictum in the conduct of autopsies. Another defense witness nullified.
After the final rebuttal witness, Judge Perry sent the jury back to their hotel. Cheney Mason then piped up about some mistrial motions. Perry denied all of them but one, on which he reserved judgment, that one being the one filed by death penalty expert Ann Finnell over the phone relating to a case in South Florida in which a Federal appeals judge found the Florida death penalty law unconstitutional. I don’t know for how long or until what particular event Perry is reserving judgment on this. There seems to be a great debate about having a “death qualified” jury versus one that is not “death qualified.” If this motion is upheld, the case will have to be retried with a “non-death qualified” jury. However, what if Ms. Anthony is found guilty but not given the death penalty by the jury? Will Perry be obliged to act on this motion and will he possibly grant the mistrial? Or would this sway him to vacate the jury’s decision to impose the death penalty? This could be a very interesting issue as the trial nears its conclusion.
The trial will resume on Sunday at 9:00 AM with the closing arguments from both sides (unless the attorneys create another kerfuffle). Perry gave them the day off tomorrow in order to prepare their summations. Perry has been mindful throughout of the plight of the sequestered jury. For that reason he is unwilling to drag out the trial to accommodate a Sunday and the Monday holiday. Perry expects that the closing arguments will be completed by mid-day and that he can then give about 45 minutes of instructions to the jury before turning over the case to them.
So, this will be it. A verdict could come as early as Sunday evening, although that is unlikely. It’s anyone’s guess as to how long the jury will deliberate and with what sort of verdict (or non-verdict) they will return. Ms. Anthony could be found guilty of first-degree murder, felony murder, aggravated manslaughter, or aggravated child abuse. She could also be acquitted. Or possibly the jury will not be able to arrive at a unanimous opinion — a hung jury. There are too many variables to even speckalate on the outcome.
All eyes will be on the jury room, even those eyes that have eschewed involvement with the trial heretofore.
Those of us who have been obsessed with this trial, your Turkey included, will suffer withdrawal symptoms when the damn thing ends. No football, no hockey, no Casey. Damn! Hurry September!