Casey Anthony Trial | Day 23 – Daily Updates (Thoughts & Observations)
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Day 23 – June 20, 2011 – Monday
The Defense’s List of Witnesses for June 20, 2011
The Defense’s Witnesses:
Accusations & Admonitions
The morning began at 9:00 a.m. with Jeff Ashton, the prosecutor, asking the Judge to hear a matter. Judge Perry, seemingly annoyed, told him that he has repeatedly asked the lawyers to notify his clerk by 8:20 a.m. if they have anything that they need to discuss with the court before witnesses begin at 9:00 a.m., however, he asked all the lawyers to approach and they had a sidebar.
The Defense was not allowed to call their first two witnesses due to discovery court order violations and the court was adjourned for the day, but not without a hefty round of accusations and admonitions between the Defense, The Prosecution, and the Judge!
Accusations & Admonitions
After the sidebar, the lawyers returned to their tables and Mr. Ashton advised the court that he needed more time to review the deposition he took of Dr. Rodriguez – Saturday’s first witness who was kicked off the stand due to the Defense’s court order violations of discovery. Mr. Ashton made a point of letting everyone know that he deposed Dr. Rodriguez on Saturday afternoon, between 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. and he wanted to review it again, and needed at least half-a-day. [He did not mention why he did not review it on Sunday.]
Further, Mr. Ashton continued, with regard to the Defense’s other witness, Dr. Aikenbloom, discussed in the sidebar, the Prosecution only received a half-page report from him with no opinions and although Dr. Aikenbloom showed up at his office to be deposed, the prosecutor felt that with a half-page report that offered no opinions or information as to what he would be testifying, he did not see the point of deposing him. However, on Sunday morning they received from the Defense a 45-page PowerPoint report by Dr. Aikenbloom. Mr. Ashton added that he will be preparing and presenting sanctions to the court against the Defense for repeated violations of the discovery court order.
Mr. Baez, lead defense attorney, argued that it is the duty of the prosecutor to depose expert witnesses, not to turn them away. And that these Defense expert witnesses have been known to the Prosecution for 8 months. He accused the prosecutors of trying to limit the testimony of the Defense witnesses by not deposing them, since the discovery court order states that witnesses can testify to the opinions expressed in their reports or depositions.
Mr. Baez assured the court that he immediately asked his witnesses to submit reports under severe time constraints imposed by the court. Mr. Baez felt that the Judge had allowed the prosecutors to get away with violating the court’s discovery order, with respect to Dr. Rickenback and some FBI photos, without sanctions or threats of sanction against them. Baez accused Mr. Ashton of playing games by not taking the depositions.
Further, Mr. Baez argued, Dr. Rodriguez’s opinion is not a difficult one to understand, it is an obvious, common sense opinion with regard to the duct tape. As for Dr. Aikenbloom, they want him to testify about DNA, in particular low copy DNA and the degradation of DNA. And yet, Dr. Aikenbloom showed up Saturday afternoon to be deposed and he was turned away by Mr. Ashton.
Jose Baez then claimed that the Defense was deeply disturbed by the accusations that they were intentionally disobeying the court’s order. Mr. Baez claimed that he was offended that the prosecutor not only did not follow through on his responsibility to depose witnesses, but then wants to file sanctions against him.
Judge Perry asked the lawyers to look at the time on the clock in the back of the courtroom. Mr. Ashton was asked and told the Judge it was 9:25 a.m. and then Mr. Baez was asked and said it was 9:26 a.m., and the Judge said, “This proves you will never agree on anything. They jury has been waiting here for an hour!” He reminded the attorneys again that they were supposed to have asked for this kind of discussion at 8:20 a.m., so, from now on he is requiring all of the attorneys to be in court at 8:30 a.m.
Judge Perry then began to read to the attorneys the transcripts from the two times he reminded the lawyers as to the discovery court order he had put in place to avoid surprises to either side. The reading of the court’s order included specifically what was required as part of the filings for experts: a curriculum vitae; a list of subjects on which they would testify; a statement of what opinions and conclusions they would offer, and the specific details and data on which they would base those opinions and conclusions. However, he noted, on a number of occasions the court has received reports that contained nothing.
The Judge explained that all experts are required to file a detailed report that includes all of the opinions and conclusions they plan to offer, and the deposition is meant to expound on those opinions, which may solicit sub-opinions from the experts.
The Florida Supreme Court, Judge Perry advised the lawyers, does not close the door to the Judge in the trial rendering sanctions if someone repeatedly violates the orders of the court. If someone is allowed to violate the court orders with impunity, then it would leave the court powerless.
Judge Perry stated that it was evident that were was gamesmanship going on in this case and friction between the attorneys, but, he added, that is something the Florida Bar will no doubt address later on. As for the violations of his court orders, that is something he will deal with at the conclusion of this trial.
The Judge reminded the attorneys that there was going to be a short day on Wednesday, and he advised them to go through the reports of their expert witnesses and make sure that their opinions are in their reports. “Enough is enough!” He forewarned both sides that “exclusion, even at the price of doing it all over again, because of repeated violations, exclusion may be the proper remedy if this continues.”
Judge Perry asked who the Defense’s first witness was going to be, and Mr. Baez reminded the judge that it was going to be Dr. Rodriguez, but since he gave the prosecution the delay they requested, their second witness was Dr. Richard Aikenbloom. [But the prosecution had the same objection to Dr. Aikenbloom testifying as they did to Dr. Rodgriguez.]
The Judge then stated that court would proceed at 10:25 a.m., but visually angry, he advised the attorneys that he was close to starting the days a half hour earlier, cutting their lunches shorter, working full days on Saturdays and working longer days during the week. “I have tried to be accommodating with everyone’s work schedules, but I have a sequestered jury living under severe restrictions. But if you don’t want to be professional, I will work you longer hours. All of this is going to stop or you will be working some fierce days!”
The time Judge Perry gave of 10:25 a.m. for the court to resume came and went, and at 11:02 a.m. ET, the court was abruptly adjourned until tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.
Judge Perry’s concerns for the sequestered jury were probably at the heart of his frustration. They had been kept waiting two hours, only to have court adjourned until the next day – a completely wasted day for the jury.
The Judge’s concerns are valid, of course, the longer the jury is sequestered away from their lives and loved ones, the more likely dissension, frustration, and attempts to get kicked off the jury might occur.
Both sides, the Defense and the Prosecution have played games thus far, but this time it seems the Defense is purposely advising their expert witnesses to provide minimalist reports with no opinions, so that they can force the Prosecution to blindly depose the Defense’s expert witnesses. Not knowing what opinions the expert witnesses will render, would make the Prosecution look unprepared or foolish in cross-examining the Defense witnesses. Game playing.
The Prosecution plays games too. They did not advise the court of the problem today at 8:30 a.m., instead they asked for a sidebar at 9:00 a.m., perhaps for maximum impact on the viewing public that watches the trial on television, on the Internet, or in the courtroom at 9:00 a.m. – public opinion is powerful stuff. The prosecutor knows that by not deposing the witnesses, they can highlight the Defense’s violations of the discovery court order and throw a kink in the Defense’s flow, and get the Judge all the more annoyed with the Defense. Game playing.
The games need to stop out of respect for the victim, a three-year-old little girl, and because this is a trial that will ask the jurors to determine if one mother intentionally killed her daughter and if this mother should be put to death.
It hardly seems the stuff of games.
What are your thoughts?
Casey Anthony Trial | Day 24 – Daily Updates (Thoughts & Observations) – Coming Soon
Martie Hevia (c) 2011 – All Rights Reserved