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    Entries in Casey Anthony (16)

    Wednesday
    Oct272010

    The truth about relativity

    During 1960s, one of the mantras of the counterculture was to “never trust anyone over 30.” Civil rights and Berkeley free speech activist Jack Weinberger is widely credited with making that statement. To those of us old enough to remember the days of free love, we also recall turning on, tuning in and dropping out spoken by one of the day’s best known gurus, Timothy Leary. Oh my. To many, our 30s rapidly passed us by with no noticeable trepidation. In many instances, we have not only become our parents, we are rapidly turning into our grandparents.

    Today is my father’s 80th birthday. I will be spending the rest of the day with family and only take an occasional look at my computer, if I take it with me.

    Early last night, I spoke to my 91-year-old Uncle David, and to put things in a relative perspective, he said, “Gosh… your father’s going to be 80 tomorrow? Oh, I long for he day I could be 80 again.”

    You see, my uncle’s mind is as sharp as it was a half-century ago, but his body is catching up with him. To each and every one of us we understand our own relativity, how it impacts our own lives each day and how much it changes with passing time. We are what we make of ourselves.

    Friday
    Sep102010

    Rick Rescorla - A True American Hero

    This is not about the Anthonys. This is about someone who should never be forgotten.

    RickRescorlaCOLArmyPhoto

     

    Originally published in 2006, this is my account of but one man. I plan on posting this every September 11, in honor of Rick and all who perished that day. I will do this until I can do it no more.

    Rick Rescorla was born in England. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1963 and retired as a colonel in 1990. Rick was a bonafide hero of the Vietnam war. In 1965, at the la Drang Valley battles, Lt. Gen. Hal Moore described him as “the best platoon leader I ever saw.” Rescorla’s men nicknamed him “Hard Core” for his bravery in battle. His heroism was documented and highlighted in the 2002 movie “We Were Soldiers” from the book “We Were Soldiers Once… and Young” co-written by Gen. Moore.

    Since 1985, he worked in corporate security, subsequently becoming Vice President of Security for Morgan-Stanley/Dean-Witter, the largest tenant in the World Trade Center. After the 1993 attack, he trained all employees to evacuate the building. He maintained a structured, quarterly drill carried out by all staff to orderly get out. He is the man who predicted 9/11. Please see The Richard C. Rescorla Memorial Foundation.

    On that fateful day, he safely evacuated all 2,800 Morgan-Stanley/Dean-Witter employees but himself and a few of his security staff. After doing his job, he returned to rescue others still inside. These were not even his people. They were all his people. He was last seen heading up the stairs of the tenth floor of the collapsing WTC 2. His remains have not been recovered. He left a wife and two children. This man is widely recognized as being solely responsible for saving over 3,000 lives. Is it of any importance that he became an American citizen after Vietnam?

    Rick Rescorla is but one hero who perished that fateful day, but what a man he was and what a soul he has that will and should live forever in the hearts and minds of all who cherish freedom. All over the world.

    See also: Calegion Post 149

     

    MICHAEL NAGLE / NEW YORK TIMES / REDUX

    MICHAEL NAGLE / NEW YORK TIMES / REDUX

     The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which holds approximately 2,000 pieces from the original WTC site in a hangar at JFK airport, has recently stepped up its efforts to find permanent homes for the artifacts. Any town or city, anywhere in the world, can apply for permission to take away a piece from the collection and build their own memorial around it. In this photo, a piece destined to become part of a memorial in York, Pennsylvania is secured to the bed of a trailer.

    Sunday
    Aug222010

    Tune In

    Tune in to Simon Barrett's blogtalkradio show

    every Sunday at 4:00 PM eastern time

    CLICK HERE

    Thursday
    Aug052010

    Let's give 'em something to talk about

    There are tons of letters and e-mails to leaf through in the latest discovery released this afternoon. There's Dominic Casey with psychics and Cindy writing to a daughter who never answers back.

    Not only that... I got an honorable mention, too! This particular one appears in the 'Letters to Casey' section, written May 11, soon after Judge Stan Strickland stepped down and the whole fiasco still weighed heavily on my mind. Needless to say, I wasn't very forgiving of Casey's defense back then. I have since mellowed a little over that gross error in judgement, but, for sure, I'll never completely figure out why the defense did it to begin with. Oh, I have a very good idea, alright, but I'll save that story for another day.

    This appears on page 20383:

    more letters

    Mom letter after courthouse fall

    mail fraud

    betrayed

    e-mails

    Tuesday
    Aug032010

    Ignorance is no excuse

    This is especially true if you are a lawyer. In the case of the clandestine chat between Jose Baez, Esquire, and Robin Lunceford, an inmate at Lowell Correctional Institution, Judge Belvin Perry rendered a decision yesterday regarding the privacy of what Baez described as "work product."

    First, let's take a quick look at what transpired to bring about the judge's ruling. It seems that Jose received a collect call from a jail house snitch on May 31 where she ratted out another jail house snitch, Maya Derkovic. There were two phone calls, actually, but the first one was to set up the second one with Jose.The first call was received at 6:34 PM and answered by Baez Law Firm legal assistant Michelle Negron. This is what she heard:

    "Hello, this is a prepaid collect call from Kathleen, an inmate at Florida Corectional Institution. This call is subject to recording and monitoring. To accept charges, press one. To refuse charges, press two. To prevent calls from this facility, press... Thank you for using T-Netix. You may start your conversation now."

    According to the initial recording, it seems apparent from the content of the call that Casey's defense was waiting for a call from an inmate. Ms. Negron tells the person on the other end that, "Hallie told me that you were going to call." After listening, she tells the caller that she needs to speak to Mr. Baez. Arrangements were then made to forward calls to Jose's cell phone in anticipation of another call at 7:00 PM. At 7:01, a call is placed by inmate Robin Lunceford that is answered by Jose. The key words here are answered by Jose. This means that the warning about possibly being recorded and monitored was heard loud and clear by the attorney. As the call progressed, Ms. Lunceford also advised him that she was not telling him everything she knew because "these phones are recorded."

    When the state said it would release the contents of the calls as part of discovery, Jose sprung into action. On July 15, he filed a MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING A TELEPHONE RECORDING OF ROBIN LUNCEFORD. In it, he wrote that the Baez Law Firm received a call from an individual who advised the firm "that she was an ex-inmate at Lowell. The caller stated that she had a friend who had conspired with Maya Derkovic to create a lie to possibly benefit from her knowing Casey Anthony at the Orange County Jail. The caller informed the [Baez Law Firm] that she would be calling later that evening."

    In his motion, Jose made some very concise statements regarding his knowledge of the phone calls possibly being recorded. He began it with a reference to F.S. 3.220(l)(1), which states:

    Motion to Restrict Disclosure of Matters. On a showing of good cause, the court shall at any time order that specified disclosures be restricted, deferred, or exempted from discovery, that certain matters not be inquired into, that the scope of the deposition be limited to certain matters, that a deposition be sealed and after being sealed be opened only by order of the court, or make such other order as is appropriate to protect a witness from harassment, unnecessary inconvenience, or invasion of privacy, including prohibiting the taking of a deposition. All material and information to which a party is entitled, however, must be disclosed in time to permit the party to make beneficial use of it.

    I don't know about that section of the statute, because, at no time was anyone informed that this was a deposition. As the motion progressed, it took on the issue of the recording made by the prison.

    "Shortly thereafter, the undersigned counsel was advised by his secretary, after hours, that Robin Lunceford was attempting to reach him. The call was transferred to the undersigned counsel's cell phone, upon which a conversation with the prosepective witness occurred.

    "While it became known that Robin Lunceford was calling from a correctional institution, the undersigned counsel was never made aware that the call was being recorded by either Robin Lunceford or the standard recording that is usually played when receiving a call from a correctional institution."

    The motion went on to make several key points. According to the Book of Jose, not all calls are recorded when coming from a correctional institution. He was made aware that Lunceford, along with Derkovic, conspired with Robyn Adams to "... possibly benefit by lying to the state about Casey." Derkovic's motivation could have been for a transfer to another prison. She was, in fact, transferred.

    Jose Baez concluded his motion with a plea from the court:

     "The defense contends that this conversation is not only protected by the work product doctrine, it further argues that it would be a third degree felony pursuant to 934.06.

    "The undersigned requests that the state not listen to the illegally recorded statement as the use and disclosure of the unlawfully intercepted conversation would be a third degree felony pursuant to F.S. 934.03. Additionally, F.S. 934.06 specifically states, 'Whenever any wire or oral communication has been intercepted, no part of the contents of such communication and no evidence derived therefrom may be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in or before the court, grand jury, department, officer, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the state, or a political subdivision thereof, if the disclosure of that information would be in violation of this chapter.'"

    Yada, yada. In her July 26 motion, STATE OF FLORIDA'S RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING TELEPHONE RECORDING OF ROBIN LUNCEFORD, Linda Drane Burdick basically said PHOOEY! You're full of it! She wrote that, "The assertion in the defendant's motion that Mr. Baez was 'never made aware that the call was being recorded' is simply not true."

    LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE! 

    Burdick continued by adding that a warning did occur at the beginning of the call, no matter what Baez said about having "absolutely no recollection of hearing any recording by the correctional facility," it was clear "that the call was not an unlawfully intercepted communication under Florida Statute 934."While he may think so, the Florida Security of Communications Act "was intended to flesh out the constitutional protections afforded private communications, while at the same time giving guidance to law enforcement as to the legitimate circumstances under which they may use the interception of communications as an investigative tool."

    Burdick filed another salvo at the defense motion by boldly stating that, in opposition to Baez's claim, a review of the call contained no work product information, which would could include names of potential additional witnesses. As a matter of fact, she states that both phone calls were dominated by the rantings of Lunceford against Derkovic as a result of an argument between the two. She asserts that neither Baez, nor his assistant, contributed much content to the calls. As for F.S. 3.220(l)(1), this is what she had to say:

    "Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220(g)1) provides: 'Work Product. Disclosure shall not be required of legal research or of records, correspondence, reports, or memoranda to the extent that they contain the opinions, theories, or conclusions of the prosecuting or defense attorney or members of their legal staffs,'" and she cited case law to explain the differing types of work product. Fact work product usually protects information which relates to the case and is gathered in anticipation of litigation. Opinion work product consists primarily of the attorney's mental impressions, conclusions, opinions and theories. Not to confuse you further, but the state maintained that"there is little case law on what constitutes a pretrial waiver of the work product privilege in the criminal context other than those cases dealing with disclosure to experts, it is clear that other, normally privileged communications lose their privileged status when the communication is overheard by a third party." Both Jose and his assistant knew or should have known that their communications with the inmate were not confidential and could be overheard by prison officials resulting in a waiver of any possible work product claim. She concluded her motion by saying that since the State of Florida "is not the party of interest regarding the release of public records," it had no position one way or the other.

    This left the field wide open for Judge Perry to decide. Initially, I thought he would conclude that it was not work product for any number of reasons. One being the fact that Lunceford was not his client. When the judge released his order yesterday, something became apparent to me, although it is merely my opinion. Baez lied. In his RESPONSE TO STATE OF FLORIDA'S RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING TELEPHONE RECORDING OF ROBIN LUNCEFORD, Baez said that it was clear that "both the State and the Court have copies of the tape, and the undersigned does not. Without having the benefit of the tape the undersigned must rely solely on his memory of a call that occurred two months ago." True, but that did not preclude him from taking notes.

    In closing, Baez's response asked the court to "issue a protective order barring the state from using the recorded conversation of Robin Lunceford. If the Court finds that the state has reached its burden of necessity, the defense requests a copy of said tape to make proper objections or requests for redactions. Or in the alternative require the State to take Ms. Lunceford's deposition prior to arguing necessity or delay the disclosure to allow both parties to fully investigate the matter as previously requested."

    OK, I'll give him token credit over the work product argument and the defense's "almost" foregone conclusion that the motion was probably futile. I'll even give him credit for the request for the state to depose Lunceford before disclosing the phone calls, but here's where I would have drawn the line if I were the judge, and I wholly believe this was the clincher. It's something the state, the court, the defense and the public have been aware of for two years, and it is the reason why I think Jose lied about not knowing the calls were recorded. When was the last time Casey had visitors outside of her defense? Any family? No. When was the last time she made or took any phone calls? Who advised her not to? If you guessed Jose Baez, you are probably a big winner! He knew fully well that any external communication was subject to recording, and as an attorney, it should be indoctrinated into his very fiber that ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. If he wasn't lying, what was he thinking?

    Yesterday, Judge Perry banged his gavel down and he came relatively close to calling Baez a liar. In his ORDER DENYING PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING TELEPHONE RECORDING OF ROBIN LUNCEFORD, the judge said that the recordings made by prison officials do not constitute counsel's work product. Moreover, the work product privilege/doctrine protects documents and papers of an attorney or a party prepared in anticipation of litigation. In other words, when defense PI Jeremy Lyons came to my house to ask questions, that's work product because it was generated by the defense. In the case of Lunceford, she sought the defense out, and in my case, the defense came looking for me. Also, the private investigator recorded the conversation. Contrary to what Baez thinks, it was not the defense that recorded the prison conversation. It was the prison, and that makes it, not only legal, but owned by the state, and not work product of any kind.

    Since the recordings were made by the prison in accordance with its procedures, they constitute public record. The judge reminded the defense that it should have been familiar with the ORDER DENYING MOTION TO SEAL JAIL VISITATION LOGS filed June 7, 2010. That made clear Florida's Public Records Act and the issue over separation of powers; that the Judicial branch of government has no jurisdiction over prisons that are run by the Executive branch.

    The defense brought up Florida Statute 934.03, which deals with the interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications. The judge explained that for a conversation to be protected under that section, the speaker must have an actual expectation of privacy, along with a societal recognition that the expectation is reasonable. State v. Inciarrano, 473 So.2d 1272 (Fla. 1985). There was no expectation of privacy from a jail and Baez knew that.

    Where Baez really goofed was in his statement that he never heard the prison disclaimer about it being subject to recording. I reiterate that ignorance is no excuse, but I will further lay claim that it cannot be used in conjunction with a fabrication. How could he quickly forget the warning, but conveniently remember the content of the call he took? How could he claim that he was unaware that all calls are monitored or recorded when he advises his clients of the same thing?

    Judge Perry admonished Jose. He reviewed the contents of the calls in camera. At the beginning of the call that Baez took, he was warned by an automated message that the call was being placed from a correctional institution and was subject to monitoring and recording. It was followed by a prompt to press "1" to accept or "2" to decline the call. Almost immediately, the call was accepted and Baez could be heard in the recording. The judge then repeated the fact that Lunceford reminded Baez that the call was subject to recording. Most importantly, she told him this crucial information before he made any statements in response to what she was telling him.

    Ultimately, the judge denied the motion. The court found that there was simply no reasonable expectation of privacy where there were two warnings, one from the automated messaging system, and the other from the witness. Therefore, Florida Statute 943 does not prohibit the interception of the conversations, the court concluded. (Pssst... Don't tell the defense that the judge should have cited Florida Statute 934, not 943. Could this be brought up at the appellate level if Casey is convicted?)

    In my opinion, this was a poorly conceived effort to pull the wool over a judge's eyes. Not only did this plan explode in Jose Baez's face, it alerted the judge to exactly what trickery this defense team will utilize in order to spring their client from jail, not that this is the first-time a lawyer has tried, but in any event, judges don't take too kindly to lies, especially when the truth is right there on a state sanctioned recording. Perhaps, Jose forgot the facts, which would be a very bad thing, because it might mean truths beneficial to Casey could slip through the cracks. If his client is truly innocent, the facts will come out at trial, just as Jose has said over and over again, but if he's willing to lie over a simple matter like this, how far would he go? I'm not an attorney, nor am I paid to play one on TV, but even I am aware that phone calls to and from a jail or prison are subject to recording. Heck, doesn't Jose ever watch Law & Order? It might be an eye opener.

    "There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts."

    - Mahatma Gandhi

    Robin Lunceford Defense Motion

    State's Response to Robin Lunceford Motion for Protective Order

    Defense Response to State Robin Lunceford

    Order Denying Protective Order Regarding Telephone Recording of Robin Lunceford

    Order Denying Motion to Seal Jail Visitation Log Records

     

    Sunday
    Aug012010

    Kronk Fretters

    “There’s been some horrible things said about me on blogs. Said I was a child predator, a child molester, all this other stuff. Some people believe it. I have no criminal background. I’ve done no harm to no one.”

    - Roy Kronk, at his post-deposition press conference on Friday

    Soon after Roy Kronk stepped out of the woods on Suburban Drive that fateful December day in 2008, his life changed forever. No longer was he an everyday, ordinary man who read water meters for a living. He became whatever the public wanted him to be, and in some circles, it wasn’t pretty. Soon, rumors began to swell that he was a pervert and a child molester. After all, what was he doing over there by an elementary school, poking around in woods where children played? The sad part of it is the fact that many people will see what they want to see. I was quite surprised by the numbers of people who told me they somehow “knew” that Roy Kronk was directly involved in the death of Caylee Marie Anthony. Call them gut feelings. Just what was he doing in that neighborhood to begin with? Scoping out schoolgirls?

    As an Orange County meter reader for the water utility, his job took him wherever he was assigned. In mid-August of that year, he was due to read meters in the Chickasaw Oaks subdivision and that led him to Hidden Oaks Elementary School, which, remarkably, also had a meter that needed reading. Shocking! From my own visits to the spot where the skull and bones were found, the woods were an inviting place to take a lunch break. The trees offered a natural canopy above his truck and a perfect place for him to escape the hot summer sun, plus, it’s private. When he first went in August, school was out for the summer. No houses face or back into those woods, so it was impossible for neighbors to have poked their heads out of their windows to spy on Roy or anyone else. It was how remote that spot was in the middle of civilization that led him there. From my visits, it is a working class neighborhood and during that time of day, little to no traffic exists. Plus, it’s a dead-end street. There was no way anyone would be able to see, let alone know, what business he was taking care of as he stepped inside the lush cover of trees and kudzu. Over the course of three days, he called authorities and got nowhere. Nowhere, that is, until December 11.

    As soon as Roy Kronk notified OCSO that he had found a skull for certain, Casey’s defense knew it had to discredit him by hook or by crook. Here was a guy - although vilified by a handful of overzealous Caylee-ites who chose to point fingers his way - who was fast becoming legendary to a lot of people. He became a hero; the guy who iced the Casey cake made from a recipe of lies and deceit. It was his determination and drive to seek justice for Caylee that sent him again, but would it have happened that day or any time soon had the county not sent him back to that area to read meters? Whatever, it was still lingering somewhere in his head because the logic of it just made sense. How much more convenient could a burial ground right around the corner of where Casey lived be? For almost six months, the body lay right under everyone’s nose, and no one knew. No children ever played in that dreaded spot. It was known by the locals to be a dumping ground. No buzzards flew overhead and there was no stench of death. Whoever placed the bag there knew it was where no one dare go. Unless it’s a person with a nature call in search of a little privacy.

    Some may say it was little Caylee’s soul reaching out, seeking justice, but is that the way her mother’s defense team sees it? While some may not think so, I believe the defense does want to see justice prevail, just not at their client’s expense. We live under a legal system where the prosecution must prove a crime was committed by the person charged. The defense will sit back and wait until the cards are laid out on a table before countering. Is it the intent of Jose Baez, et al, to implicate Roy Kronk in the murder of Caylee Anthony? No, it is not. Although not beneath smear tactics, this defense will not tell the jury that Roy murdered the toddler. That would be insane and Casey would surely get an appeal based on incompetent counsel.

    The way I see it, the defense may have originally thought about Roy as a viable suspect. Virtually everyone could be a suspect in any number of crimes if they happen to encroach the area of a crime scene, except for one main thing - Casey became the number one suspect from the onset, when her own mother called 9-1-1 in July. Who in their right mind would tell nothing but lie after lie after lie to investigators and not think there was anything wrong with it? Casey was always the only suspect because she kept naming a nonexistent nanny and there was no excuse for it. Note that I did not say reason. Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, the nanny, was a complete fabrication.

    When Cheney Mason came on board, I noticed subtle changes in strategy. Although I will never understand why private investigator Jeremy Lyons came to interview me instead searching for the true killer, the nanny, why did this defense waste money to take down the judge? At no time did Lyons ask if I was hiding any nannies under rocks or in secret closets. At no time has anyone on the defense looked for trouble outside of people who are somehow involved in the case, whether directly or not. To go from Strickland to stricter is something I will never quite grasp, but this is about Roy Kronk. Since Mason came on board, we have heard him announce that no one entered the woods when Texas EquuSearch looked in September. The area was flooded.  This was a complete about face from what former team member Todd Macaluso had said earlier, with Baez’s blessing. I am convinced it’s the same thing with Kronk. Originally, the defense suggested that he may have played a role in Caylee’s disappearance. Because it would be bonkers to really go that route, and Mason has been around long enough to understand that, it will be the defense’s job to point fingers at law enforcement instead. Prove incompetency.

    While investigators focused on Casey, the real culprit got away. Here’s why, according to the defense, not me, and I can hear this coming out of J. Cheney Mason’s mouth as surely as I sit here writing it. Let’s take a look at Roy. He bragged about finding the body months before he actually found it. He told his son he was going to be famous. This was going to be fun! Oh no, that was someone else. “He said he knew where the body was and he was going to get it when the water went down,” his ex-wife Crystal Sparks said.

    She went on to add that good old boy Roy had a kinky side; something about duct tape that turned him on. The role of the defense regarding him is simple. Debunk his credibility. Turn him into a sleazeball. Hey, some people like to use handcuffs in bed. Does that make them cops? What goes on behind closed doors is private, and his ex spoke out of school, whether it’s the truth or not. In my opinion, it is not relevant and the judge will deny the defense her testimony. He was never a suspect, nor will he ever be.

    Recently, WKMG, the CBS affiliate in Orlando, reported that it had obtained a 1997 police report from Kingsport, Tennessee, where Kronk told investigators that they would find stolen guns and other items in woods near a field. When officers searched, they found nothing unusual. Will the defense use this to their advantage in order to raise a reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds? They’d be fools not to, but for one important fact. Although guns may have not been found in Tennessee, a body was in Orlando. The earlier incident does not make him anything close to a little boy who cried wolf. It may make him inquisitive, but nothing more. I have called 9-1-1 in the past. Does that mean I have a credibility problem?

    What I have seen so far, with the addition of Mason, is a defense that is putting most of its chips on destroying state’s evidence and that includes muddying up the reputations of every person it looks at as threats to their client. How else would anyone explain the fact that Casey’s attorneys are taking bruising jabs at both Roy and her own father, George, the two most important witnesses for the state? It was George, after all, who testified before the grand jury that indicted her. What better way than to prove he’s a suicide-prone kook not worth believing? Poor George, but I’ll save him for another day. Until then, just like those people who still may think Roy was somehow involved in the murder of Caylee, all this defense needs to do is convince the jury of doubt. It’s their job to scrutinize everything the prosecution throws at them. Even his attorney, David Evans, understands it. That’s the way the system works. He also understands his client, the guy who said he had no regrets about finding the toddler. The guy who said he would do it all over again. That’s the truth. Roy Kronk stood on solid ground that fateful December day. He did it again on Friday. There’s no need for any of us to fret over him, but Casey’s defense team should.

    Thursday
    Jul292010

    Lis Pendens... Venienti occurrite morbo

    Ab Initio...

    If we have learned anything from this Casey Anthony case, for sure, it is the fact that Latin is not a dead language. Throughout the motions filed and hearings heard, we now know what ex parte means as well as in cameraipso facto. We've sat down and watched in limine in situet cetera, et ceteraToday, I bring you a bona fide new post ex gratia. In other words, it comes gratis dictum.

    Lis pendens is the Latin term for suit pending. It is a written notice that a lawsuit has been filed. It concerns real estate, plain and simple, and it involves either the title to the property or a claimed ownership interest in it. On May 10 of this year, a suit was filed against Jose and Lorena Baez in the Osceola County Circuit Court by the bank holding the mortgage on the house and property they own. Jose Baez represents Casey in her criminal case. This is a civil matter and she has nothing to do with it.

    To put things in perspective first, let's take a look at NASA on the east coast of Florida. United Space Alliance just reported that 1,000 employees would be laid off soon. By the time the shuttle program ends, up to 8,000 employees will be out of a job. If we look at industry in the Cape Canaveral area, NASA is its heart and soul. It keeps the area alive and thriving. Unfortunately, by the time all those jobs disappear, it will mean that thousands of people will not be able to pay their mortgages. That translates into more and more foreclosures. It means the loss will trickle down and create more loss, and the region will be a shell of what it once was. Such is life these days, and as some have watched in delight as George and Cindy squirmed in their seats over foreclosure on their house, we now see neighbors in our own back yards suffering the same fate. Banks hate to do it, but many well-intentioned Americans are facing the same thing, day-after-day, and are powerless to stop it. And it compounds. As people move away or just go deeper into debt, it's less Happy Meals and Domino's Delivers. It's more layoffs. It's less taxes to pay for education. It means less field trips to the Kennedy Space Center because school budgets go lower and lower. It means everyone is vulnerable, rich and poor alike.

    No one wants to see a family lose their home, and that should include Jose Baez and his wife. This is a sad state our economy is in and I'm sorry, but I can't wish this misfortune on him because of who he represents or what he does while representing her. For one thing, how many people accused Jose and Casey of improprieties in his office while she was out on bond? How many still accuse him of groping her in her jail cell [technically, groping is not the same as hugging], despite the fact that Casey wrote of her crush on Jose Garcia, one of his attorneys? No proof exists of any of it, yet it persists. Now we find out he's married. No one knew that. Does it prove he cheated on her or does it really mean we just didn't know all along and it was plenty easier to make up dirty stuff because that's where our minds led us? In reality, he never discussed his home life because he separated himself from the two. When he was asked about the foreclosure case, he said, "I think it's personal."

    Today, the buzz is all about his house. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Well, I disagree. Sure, he could have quit this case and gone back to taking on DUIs and petty crimes. After all, that was his bread and butter before Casey came along, but you know, in all actuality, he does represent other clients. We just don't hear about them because this is the one that matters most. Odds are, he'd be going through this whether she came along or not, and we'd be none the wiser. Is this a case of karma's a bitch? Don't be absurd. Thousands upon thousands of God-fearing, moral and upstanding people are going through the same thing with each passing day.

    Will this impact his ability to represent Casey? No, he said, "It has nothing to do with my case, my business and anything that has to do with Casey Anthony. I'll probably keep the house, even though it's worth half of what I owe."

    That's part of the problem today. Too many people owe a lot more than their homes are worth. In Baez's case, records indicate the house was bought 3 years ago for $670,000. In October of last year, the taxable value was $347,100.

    If Jose Baez dug himself a hole representing Casey, poke at that one all you want. When it comes to the holes in his personal life, that's a private matter and who are we to talk? He is not alone. No one is perfect. Remember, ab alio spectes alteri quod feceris! Memor tua rei.

    Because his mortgage and foreclosure are a matter of public record, here they are for your inspection:

    Mortgage

    Lis Pendens

    Mortgage Document

    Monday
    Jul262010

    Casey Anthony has some visitors

    Here are 8 pages of names of people who paid Casey a visit or two in jail. Of course, her lawyers are expected to be there, but who are the other people? Take a look and see what you can find.

    This is the entire list from mid-October 2008 to last Saturday.

    Anthony Offical-ATTY visits through July 24

    It can also be viewed HERE.

    This should give us lots to talk about.

    Click to enlarge images


    Sunday
    Jul252010

    I don’t give a dime

    The following images are pages 1 & 2 of Casey Anthony's 21 page Resident Account Summary courtesy of the Orange County Corrections Department, otherwise known as the jail, or if you are so inclined, 33rd Street. Actually, there's one I'm going to show you first:

    Click on images to enlarge

    Although it's a matter of public record, I blurred out most of the name and all of the address of the person who sent Casey $10.00. I see no reason to publicize it. I left her last name because it appears on page 1 of the following:

    She is the last person to send Casey any money, and that was back on the 12th of June. If you look at page 2 below, you'll see two deposits made by George - $100 on June 5 and $50 on June 3. In letters released two months earlier, Casey wrote that her father may have sexually molested her. It probably took that much time for him to get around to read and discern them before he cut out her generous stipend. The last deposit made by Cindy was on May 11 for $115.

    One thing you'll notice is a $1.50 Daily Subsistence Fee. The actual cost to sustain one inmate is $11.00 each day, but that doesn't include all of the overhead. In all, it's $80 - 85.00 per day if all costs are figured into it. The fluctuation is due to the number of inmates housed in the facility at any given time. Right now, the population is lower than normal, but that can change at any moment. Also, out of that $1.50, half goes straight to the county and the other half goes to the jail.

    There are other charges, too. She is billed $5.00 for any and all prescriptions, for instance. All of these fees add up and they are subtracted from her balance. That explains why she is $41.51 in the hole. The jail charges everyone who sits in a cell, and eventually, they have to pay for doing business with Orange County.

    One of the interesting things I learned dealt with all those letters sent to Casey that were recently released in discovery. When letters are mailed to inmates, jail personnel, of course, screen them for contraband and to make sure no one has any escape plans. The same thing is true with most outgoing correspondence. I wondered if mail addressed to Casey goes directly to her or her attorney to decide what gets through. Let's just say Jose isn't the most popular lawyer at the jail. All mail is sent directly to her, but like I said, they are screened. This means some of them go through internal affairs and other investigators for analysis before they are delivered. Whether she opens and reads them or not is solely her decision to make. I am aware of letters that were not released with the others during discovery, and it's most likely due to being part of an open investigation, meaning they weren't passed on to her yet.

    Some county jails are run by the sheriff's office. This one isn't. Its operated by the county. Although authorized to carry weapons, the corrections officers cannot make an arrest like a sheriff's deputy or police officer. Because the jail is on county property, OCSO must be called in when trouble arises. However, just like you and me, personnel can make citizen's arrests.

    Following is a link to the entire 21 page document in PDF form. It can also be found HERE. You can see the names of donors and all other money added and subtracted since October 18, 2008. If more money comes in, part of it will be deducted to pay costs. Take a look at them and see if you recognize any names. Meanwhile, I have one more document from the jail to show you, and that will be coming up next.

    Anthony Account Ledger as of 7-22-2010

    Here is the Supplemental Motion for Protective Order Regarding a Telephone Recording of Robin Lunceford. It should make for an interesting discussion. Will Judge Perry release it or will he honor Jose Baez's request?



    Friday
    Jul232010

    Foot-in-mouth disease

    Motion to Quash The Court's Order on Defendant's Application For Subpoena Duces Tecum For the documents in the Possession of Texas Equusearch Based on Bad Faith

    On June 22, I wrote this:

    304 days ago, Todd Macaluso stood before the Ninth Circuit Court of Florida, in front of Judge Stan Strickland, and made this blanket statement:

    “There is substantial evidence that we’ve found … that the body or remains of Caylee Anthony were placed there after Casey Anthony was locked up. It proves that somebody else placed the remains in the area.”

    For ten months, we were led to believe this would be the tack the defense would take at trial, based on statements made by TES searchers, off-record, who said the land where Caylee was found three months later was not flooded in September when they searched. What made this so senseless was the undisputed fact regarding summer weather in Central Florida. Roy Kronk said under oath that the woods were too flooded to enter in mid-August of 2008. Soon after he reported his sighting, T.S. Fay rolled into town, adding over 12" of rain to an already flooded and low-lying location. Come September, no one could go in there to search, and TES leader Tim Miller instructed his teams to keep away from areas under water; that it may destroy evidence.

    I believe Cheney Mason was smart enough to recognize that, because yesterday, he did an abrupt about-face. Huh? What's this all about? In a post-hearing press conference, Mason said:

    "They did not search the exact areas where the body was found. So everything they said before that is not relevant."

    Did Brother Cheney speak out of school? Is he spanking the numero uno defense attorney, Jose Baez, by taking the lead, or is it part of an orchestrated effort because of one simple truth - the area was too flooded to search and the State has the proof to back it up? I think the answer is yes. The area WAS flooded and the statement of Macaluso past must be erased from the memory bank of future defense maneuvers. Of course, we won't discuss plant and insect forensic evidence at the moment. That comes later.

    On July 16 of 2009, Jose Baez and Andrea D. Lyon filed two motions. One was to certify Tim Miller as a material witness and/or to subpoena him for documents in the possession of TES. The motion makes several claims:

    1. "This area [8750 block of Suburban Drive] was searched by several individuals, including Orange County law enforcement and TES volunteers, between July and December 2008."
    2. "Several searchers have made statements to Orange County law enforcement and to the media stating either that they searched the 8750 block of Suburban Drive with TES, or they encountered TES searchers in that area."
    3. "... that Orange County law enforcement provided TES with documents identifying the area in question as an area of interest; that witnesses have made various statements (including in a sworn interview) to the effect that they searched the area in question on behalf of TES or saw TES searchers in that area..."

    In another defense motion filed November 23 of 2009, the defense had this to say:

    "The Defense, through its own independent investigation, has interviewed several TES searchers who not only searched the area where the remains were found, but who were not among the thirty-two (32) identified by TES."

    This was the now famous motion containing the statements of Joseph Jordanand Laura Buchanan, in which the bold claim was made that:

    "The signed statements from Joe Jordan and Laura Buchanan, included with this Memorandum of Law, indicate that there were several people who searched the Suburban Drive neighborhood but were not among the thirty-two (32) names disclosed by TES.

    Why did the defense decide to run diametrically opposed to previous statements and motions? Clearly, this is something Cheney Mason conjured up because Jose Baez and Andrea Lyon filed motions that are contrary to this new revelation. They are also motions this defense did not win, and there lies the crux. Since this didn't work, let's try something else. Gone with the old, in with the new, and most certainly, Mason is not naive to the ins and outs of criminal defense strategies. Here's the brand new slant:

    “What do you have that shows she was not there in June?” WFTV reporter Kathi Belich asked him.

    “That's when Caylee was missing. We don't know when she disappeared,” he replied.

    AHA! The linguistic switch! No one knows when Caylee disappeared. As President Clinton once responded, "It all depends on what your definition of isis," there are discrepancies in the meanings of missing and disappearing. I guess we could establish the fact that my keys may be missing if I lost them, but they certainly didn't disappear because they would have to be where I left them, unless, of course, they were taken by someone else. Then, they would have disappeared and they are missing. Got that? You see, it's all in the semantics. Instead of admitting it can't win the flooding argument, the defense concedes by manipulating the verbiage. What it will attempt to prove in court is that Casey lost Caylee, but she didn't disappear. It was precisely like losing a set of keys, only she wasn't where Casey last left her. Let's see... was that at Sawgrass, or was it at Jay Blanchard Park? Oh. She lost her at Sawgrass, but she disappeared from Blanchard. Today, Casey misses her more than anything else. Gotcha!

    Last night, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Mark NeJame, the attorney representing Texas EquuSearch, argued that the defense team had "earlier opportunities to review Texas EquuSearch records, as directed under court orders, but failed to follow through."

    "The defense is clearly operating under bad faith and looking to harass the volunteers," he stated in a motion filed yesterday to invalidate an earlier court order regarding the issue. In this new motion, NeJame noted that Mason stated publicly last month that the area where Caylee's remains were found "was impassible at the time." This is precisely my argument today as it was a month ago.

    Let me reiterate what Mason declared last month: "They did not search the exact areas where the body was found. So everything they said before that is not relevant." The 'they' in this case is Texas EquuSearch and its teams of volunteer searchers.

    Because of Mason's statement, NeJame threw it back in the defense's face, "It is patently obvious and apparent that the defense knows the conditions of the area, and that they are no longer in need of the names of any searchers to verify this information."

    According to the Sentinel report, NeJame further suggested "the defense 'is filing these motions, requesting irrelevant documents all to create seemingly bogus appellate issues that do not exist.' He calls the pursuit of the records 'a ploy to harass volunteers of TES who donated their free time to search for the remains of the innocent Caylee Anthony.'"

    I couldn't agree with Mark NeJame more. Not to dismiss or make a mockery of Casey's defense team's request, but if TES searchers never stepped into the flooded woods, which Mason acknowledged no one did, what's the point of interviewing any more searchers? Why seek out anyone who wasn't there to begin with?

    Cheney Mason defended astronaut Lisa Nowak. If I told him that John Glenn never set foot on the moon, would he want to interview him anyway? Would he expect Glenn to have knowledge of what gravity feels like on the lunar surface? Would he have learned something incriminating from his fellow astronauts - that the moon is made of Swiss cheese? If none of that made any sense, that's precisely my point.

    Anticipating such a bad faith motion as the one filed by NeJame yesterday, Judge Perry announced in court last Thursday, and wrote in his order, that a new hearing would have to be set to present arguments from both sides. I didn't think a visit to NeJame's office by Casey's defense would be an easy stroll in the park. I get the distinct impression that he and Mason have never been colleagues or friends. No love will be lost as this spills out and into the awaiting hands of a thirsty public. Meanwhile, did someone stick their foot in their mouth or was last month's statement meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek? Either way, this one is full of holes.

    Speaking of holes, on a final note, records from the Orange County Corrections Department show Casey's jail account is $41.51 in the hole as of yesterday. George stopped adding funds after she insinuated that he may have sexually molested her. I don't blame him one tiny bit.

    Monday
    Jul192010

    Debbie Does Defense

    When Cindy Anthony stepped down from the witness stand inside courtroom 23, the room fell silent. While she walked back to her seat in the gallery, the judge asked the defense if it had any more witnesses. This was supposed to be Debbie Polisano's time to take the stand, since she missed the first call, but she was still absent. She was Cindy's supervisor at Gentiva. Judge Perry asked the defense what time the subpoena stated to be available and Jose said 2:00 PM. It was now 3:48. Instead of becoming angered, the judge allowed Lee to take the stand. A deputy went out and called him in.

    As Cindy sat down in her chair, Mallory gave her a very loving kiss on the lips while embracing her and offering much-needed support as she quietly whispered in her ear. Cindy was visibly shaking and in tears. Her face was somewhat red. These were real emotions. This was not something any mother - any grandmother - would want to experience to begin with, let alone relive. Silently, I watched her despair, taking notes on paper and in my head, trying to understand what must have bounced around in her brain like a roller coaster ready to jump the tracks. No matter what, as human beings, we must admit that this is not a ride any of us would wish for; one she will tell again and again in her mind and in the courtroom. Needless to say, I don't envy her or anyone in her family. It is a ride to hell.

    I took note of George's straight ahead gaze, one completely void of emotion. It was one that spoke volumes about a man who didn't want a part of this theater. I can't say why he seemed so distant, but everyone seems to know; the letters his own daughter wrote that implicated him and his son of some strange sort of sexually perverse behavior, the differences of opinions within his family and some of his friends over this entire mess, and God knows what else. The list may be long, but all I realized, as I sat there, was that these people didn't deserve any of this. No, not at all. No one does.

    Lee sat on the stand testifying in his own inimitable style. He has a tendency to laugh when the need arises. I don't know if it's a nervous thing or whether it hits him when he feels like someone is backing him into a corner. It could be his way of remaining uplifted during times when he should be down. Some may think it's quirky, and I would find it most difficult to conjure up if my sister sat in the hot seat, facing a possible penalty of death, but that's me. To him, it's quite possibly a mechanism that helps him cope; helps him get through some, otherwise, very tough times.

    He spoke of his arrival at the house, after his father called him on the phone and asked to go home because he felt his mother would need his support. That showed me the concern of a parent. Something was wrong, alright, but I don't doubt that no one knew what would be in store. Caylee wasn't considered missing at the time. To George, Caylee AND Casey were nowhere to be found. Did Cindy ever alert him to the fact that their daughter always had excuses for not putting Caylee on the phone? She's napping. She's at Disney. SeaWorld. If anyone thinks the nanny story was weaved during the third 911 call, Richard Grund was told of her "existence" long before. He told OCSO Corporal Yuri Melich in September of 2008 that Casey had brought up Zenaida Gonzalez sometime between March - May of 2006. (See: Richard Grund Interview)

    Lee testified that when he got to the house, no one was to be found. Later, Cindy and Casey came home and the two of them were far from smiling. Cindy was quite frustrated. Where is Caylee? What is wrong with you? She was getting nowhere fast, so she asked him to talk to her. He took over and tried to elicit information, to no avail, so he decided to take a different approach. In a "last-ditch effort" before law enforcement would come to the house to question her, he wanted to know why they couldn't go get Caylee. Plain and simple. End of story. We go get her and call it a night. That's when she blurted out that she hadn't seen her daughter in 31 days, but I seriously doubt she was counting. Up until the moment Cindy found Casey at Tony Lazzaro's apartment, guess who was out partying every night, way too busy to remember days of the week, let alone worry about her daughter's whereabouts? She knew right where she was.

    At 4:20 PM, a half hour after he began, Lee Anthony was excused by Judge Perry. He then asked the defense if their next witness had arrived. It took a minute or two before Debbie Polisano was found and brought in. She seemed to me to be a rather reluctant witness, since it was approaching 4:30, and to be well over two hours late to a court hearing is something most people don't think of doing. After her testimony, it became more of a "what was this defense thinking" by the line of questioning. This was Cheney Mason's witness to collect information that would be positive. When he asked her how it started, she told him Cindy needed to take care of family matters after her husband called. She said she needed to do that, to go home and pick up the car.

    He asked her if she had a conversation with Cindy when she returned. Yes. Do you recall what she told you? Yes. "That they both (George and Cindy) found the car at an impound lot, that it had been there for a while, that she didn't know, she wasn't able to get hold of Casey, and the car seat and the baby's doll and the backpack were in the car."

    "Did she tell you anything else?"

    "She told me there was a terrible, terrible odor in the car."

    "I'm sorry?"

    "She told me there was a terrible odor in the car."

    This is where Cheney Mason should have stopped asking questions. Instead, he continued and the damage went from bad to worse. "Did she say anything that, uh, that her husband George had said to her?"

    "I asked her if she had opened the trunk and she didn't answer, and then................................ she said that, that she felt that it smelled like a dead body."

    "Did she tell you that's what George told her?" And this latest revelation of the defense now investigating George becomes more clear. Is he to blame? Is he someone worth discrediting? Should the defense throw him under the bus with the rest of us?

    "That George told her?"

    "Yes, her husband, George." The latest target.

    "I know................................ She didn't say George told her. She said they both knew that."

    "I'm sorry, she what?"

    "She didn't say George told her that."

    "Yes?"

    "She just said that they both knew that."

    There you have it. The shape of things to come. Damning testimony. Mason later stated in his argument that Cindy had a long time for reflection before she made the 911 calls, because she went back to work and had to be told by her superior and her superior's superior to go home. He said that Cindy still talks like Caylee is alive today. In the end, it mattered not what Mason or Baez had to say. The judge ruled that the tapes were admissible at trial because the defendant will have an opportunity to cross-examine the witness who made the statements during those calls. They were not hearsay. They were excited utterances made by a desperate woman who wanted nothing more at that time than to hold her grandchild again, her grandchild who was now missing. When she handed Casey the phone, it was the first time she spun her web of lies to law enforcement. What she was so good at doing, or so she thought, could not convince detectives that she'd go get her daughter the next morning. Sadly, a part of Cindy is still waiting for the tomorrow that will never come.

    When Debbie Polisano was officially excused, she walked to the gate that separates the court from the gallery. I watched her like a hawk because I wanted to see if there would be any exchange between her and her former employee. I saw none. As she opened the gate to walk through, she turned away from the Anthonys, almost as if it was purposely done that way as some sort of personal affront. As she walked toward the doors, she stared straight forward, and I got the distinct impression that there was some sort of parting of ways somewhere along the pike. Of course, I could be reading more into it than necessary. She might have been nervous, but once again, there was a silence that befell the courtroom, and I looked at this day as an eerie omen of things to come. While both defense attorneys had their moments, they fell well short of convincing the judge that they based their claims on case law. Before the second break, the state proffered an example of case law. Judge Perry was well aware of it. At that moment, I knew how the judge was going to rule. He did his homework.

    During the second break, I had the opportunity to talk to Cheney Mason about that particular case law that Burdick and the judge mentioned, something called Lurch v. State. I suggested, because Judge Perry had familiarized himself with the case, he already made his decision and it wasn't favorable for the defense. I told him he did a good job in there. He just said, "We'll see," and he walked back into the courtroom. My intent was not to irritate him at all and it didn't. It was just a commentary. Seconds later, I ran into Jeff Ashton. I asked him why he was late. Not so much why he was late, I explained, but was it the plan all along to have Linda question Cindy because her tone might sound less intimidating? He said, absolutely not! That was how it panned out. It could have been either of them, or Frank George, I suppose. There was never a plan like that. There never is, he said. It doesn't work that way. I thanked him and returned to the courtroom. There was still a lot of work to be done. The OBJECTION TO RELEASE OF DOCUMENTS RELATED TO INTENDED DEFENSE REVIEW OF EVIDENCE was still on the docket du jour. The defense was granted that one. What those experts were doing in town last week is considered work product. In the end, it wasn't a fiasco for the defense, but those recordings are not going to help at trial. Neither is Debbie Polisano.

    On a final note, Fusian Ultra Lounge, Casey's old stomping grounds, is no more. In it's place is Fifty Brews Bar and Grill. The initial count has them pegged at 74 beers.

    Friday
    Jul162010

    “I still think Caylee’s alive."

    I decided to leave the house early yesterday because this hearing was going to be a real doozie. We had Mark NeJame representing Texas EquuSearch, and testimony from Cindy and Lee. As Bob Kealing from WESH reported days earlier, it was the first time in over a year that the Anthony family would be in the same place at the same time. George was there to lend his support.

    When I arrived at the courthouse, around 1:00 PM, I ran into Bob. We discussed the case and rode up the elevator together, along with his camera operator and several other people. Also accompanying Bob was an intern from UNCW. He finishes his internship soon, so it was good that he got to go to a very important hearing. I pretty much hung around with that crowd and had a good chat with other reporters and Red Huber, the award winning photographer with theOrlando Sentinel. I also had a very good conversation with a certain court administrator who set my mind at ease over false allegations made against me. I'll leave it at that, but needless to say, no one was able to frighten me into staying away from the courthouse, and no one was on the lookout for a fictitious "gun-toting impersonator of the law" with a beautiful bald head.

    It was around 1:30 when a deputy opened the courtroom doors and and called out to all media people. I was invited in with the others. Soon, Jose Baez and Cheney Mason entered and began to settle into their stations. Jose nodded and greeted some of the reporters and then waved to me, saying, "Hello, Dave."

    Of course, I returned the gesture.

    Moments later, Cindy and George entered with Brad Conway. I was in the second row and Cindy called me by name and asked if I would mind moving back a row. Of course, I didn't mind. No matter what, testifying in court is never a fun thing and I certainly wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.

    After about 5 minutes, the door was opened to the public and everyone filed in. I had arrived early because of the crowd I anticipated. The courtroom and gallery soon filled up with spectators, and many went up the stairs to the balcony. I chose to sit behind the defense because I was with a media friend who sat there, and also for another very good reason. I wanted to be up close and personal to the most important people there, aside from Casey and all of the attorneys, meaning prosecution and defense. Besides, I see nothing wrong with sitting wherever I choose, whether anyone likes it or not, and in order to get the feel and mood of people, what better way than being near? I have never been one to believe that the side one sits on in a courtroom is the stand one takes, and as a writer, I need to approach a story from all angles, not just one.

    I wondered where Lee was and, presto, just like that, there he was. He shuffled into the row with his girlfriend, Mallory, in the lead. After they both hugged George and Cindy he took a seat next to his mother, with Mallory to his right, directly in front of me. No matter what people may think, I found her to be a fresh-face in the courtroom. By that, I mean she had a clean and wholesome All-American look.

    At 1:53, Casey entered the room. Seven minutes later, like clockwork, Chief Judge Belvin Perry walked in and took his seat behind the bench. The first issue of the day dealt with the reconsideration of a prior ruling made by Judge Strickland pertaining to Texas EquuSearch records. Judge Perry announced that both sides would have 5 minutes to address the issue. Within seconds, Baez asked for and was granted a sidebar with the judge, NeJame, Mason and Linda Drane Burdick. Jeff Ashton was not present at this time. 12 minutes later, the sidebar broke up, the attorneys walked back to their respective stations and the judge announced that Mr. Baez had withdrawn the TES motion. He said that the defense could inspect the documents again, they could take notes, and a special magistrate, Jim Glatt, would oversee the task. There would be no deadline, but he expected it to be done by some time next week, and a hearing would be set thereafter. With that, NeJame was excused and the court moved to the next motion, the 911 calls made by Cindy precisely two years earlier.

    On May 10 of this year, the court asked for a response to an order regarding the theory of admissibility of those 911 calls. Yesterday, Linda Drane Burdick opened the issue by saying it should be treated like a motion in limine or else go to trial and file an objection of admissibility at that time, which would delay the trial. To give you an idea of the complexity, we must first understand this motion in limine. It's a motion used by attorneys in civil or criminal cases to preclude prejudicial or objectionable evidence before it is seen or heard by a jury. The primary advantage of the in limine motion is to avoid the futile attempt of trying to undo harm done where jurors have been exposed to damaging evidence, even where later stricken by the court.¹

    There were three people set to testify, Cindy, Lee and Debbie Polisano, who was Cindy's supervisor at Gentiva, where she was a nurse. Lee had come with his erstwhile attorney, Tom LukaCindy was called to the stand first. Debbie Polisano was no where in sight. While sitting close to Cindy, I could plainly see she was very nervous. As she walked toward the witness box, Lee was asked to leave the courtroom and not discuss the case with anyone. This is a standard procedure and it eliminates the possibility of contriving the same or similar testimony given by the first witness.

    Jose Baez asked the first questions. Mostly, the conversation centered on what transpired the day that led to the calls, from learning of the car at the tow yard to calling Casey with no response to finally finding her to frantically calling police. It was a nerve wracking day. She said that she took her lunch hour to pick the car up with George after he called to let her know. They met at the house. She took $500 with her. George never told her about the smell until they returned with Casey's car. He said he had to drive with the windows down because it was like something had died - like a dead body, in the car. George needed to go to work and Cindy took a few things out of the car to air out in the yard. She threw a pair of Casey's slacks in the washer and returned to work. She said that she didn't say anything to anyone at work about the smell of death, but did discuss the problem with her supervisor, Debbie Polisano, who was still nowhere to be found.

    When she returned home around 6:00 PM, she took the slacks out of the washer and placed them in the dryer. She then went back to the car and again noticed the smell while removing dolls belonging to Caylee, and a bag. She put them in the back yard, too. This is when she found copies of Amy Huizenga's resumé. After calling Casey with no reply, she called Amy, who was at the Florida Mall. Meanwhile, George phoned Lee and asked him to go home to help his mother, as she attempted to locate his sister. Without going into all of the details, which we practically know by heart now, let's just go straight to the 911 calls. The first one came at 8:09 PM as Cindy pulled into Orlando PD's Southeast Community Police Office (SECPO) on Pershing Avenue. Unknown to her was that the office closed at 5:00 PM and it was now over three hours later. She told the dispatcher that Casey had stolen money and the car, but the car had been found. Casey sat next to her mother. Since it was not an emergency, she drove home and was instructed to call OCSO because it was out of Orlando's jurisdiction. This is because the Hopespring neighborhood off Chickasaw Trail is in an unincorporated area of the city and falls under county control.

    Lee was waiting inside the house. The three of them conversed and during that time, Lee told his mother that he had smelled the car as he walked in the garage. The second 911 call was made around 8:44 PM, and Cindy testified that the dispatcher was lackadaisical about her claims and found it to be a non-urgent event. At this time, she was not aware that Caylee was missing. Meanwhile, Lee began talking to his sister about the situation. This is the conversation Cindy overheard that brought about the third 911 call at 9:41 PM. Casey hadn't seen her daughter in 31 days, she was abducted by a nanny named Zanny and Cindy was panicking fast.  Lee later testified that his mother pounded Casey's bed and screamed, "What have you done???!!!"

    During this 911 call, Cindy testified yesterday that she did it out of desperation in order to force the police to arrive at the house faster. She said she had never smelled a decomposing body in a car before. Rotting and burned flesh, yes, but not from anyone expiring in a hospital or in the morgue, where bodies are refrigerated. She said she never put two and two together. She never felt that Caylee was the cause of the smell in the car.

    When Linda Drane Burdick cross examined, she cited pages and sections from prior interviews; what she said during depositions with Corporals Eric Edwards and Yuri Melich, and FBI Special Agent Scott Bowen. Some of it didn't seem to line up with what she had just said. Suddenly, there were more instances of "I don't remember" than during the defense's more friendly engagement with her. She reiterated that she didn't connect Caylee with the smell. Burdick handed Cindy copies of the 911 transcripts in an attempt to refresh her memory and force her hand. (Jeff Ashton arrives at 3:13) Cindy knew that Casey had told Lee that they had to wait until the next day to pick up Caylee and this is when the 31 days came into the conversation that shocked Cindy. Burdick maintained that none of the three 911 calls were premeditated, particularly the last one, and that's what made it an excited utterance as opposed to hearsay. To make this clear, an excited utterance is a statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition. (See: Hearsay Exemptions if Witness is Able to Testify)

    We took a 10 minute break at this time. While out in the hall talking to someone, Jose Baez passed by me on his way to the men's room. He patted me on my shoulder and I asked him one quick question. "Are you a baseball fan?"

    "I LOVE IT!" he exclaimed, and continued on. It was just something I knew in my gut, it wasn't really important, but it does show he's got a life outside of this case.

    When court resumed, Jose came back to rebut. Cindy made it clear that she wanted police to continue looking for a live Caylee, and that she made statements to law enforcement to force them to continue searching for her granddaughter. It was at this time she said, "I still think Caylee's alive."

    A minute later, she was excused and Debbie Polisano was called. She was still not at the courthouse. The judge reminded the defense she was subpoenaed to testify and the subpoena stated 2:00 PM. Instead of getting angry, the judge shifted to Lee, who was outside awaiting his call. It was now 3:48 PM.

    Here is where I will end it for the day. There's plenty more, but over the weekend, I want to explain more of the dynamics in the courtroom - family, attorney interactions and some of the people sitting in the gallery. I will also go more into why the 911 calls were allowed. There is something else. I have been saying all along that I felt Cindy was (and remains to this day) in denial. This is something that has been so difficult to absorb, I don't think any of us know how we would react if handed the same set of circumstances. Would any of us come out unscathed? I'm not making any excuses, but sitting where I did, I could see clearer than a TV screen, HD or not.

    Saturday
    Jun192010

    Where did Kyron go?

    

    Kyron Horman has been missing over two weeks now. His stepmother said she last saw him walking to his classroom at 8:45 AM on June 4 after looking at exhibits at Skyline Elementary School's science fair, where he is a student.

    This became a criminal investigation on June 14. Authorities have put out flyers in hopes of generating positive leads.

    Three Page Flyer

    As of now, the focus of the investigation seems to have shifted to his stepmother, Terri Moulton Horman, after her story about what she did on the day of his disappearance didn't match her cell phone records, which placed her at or near Sauvie Island, north of the school. Because of this discrepancy, authorities have been combing bodies of water around the area where he was reported missing.


    Remember that Kyron's stepmother has not been named a suspect or a person of interest, so she's not implicated in his disappearance.

    The following image is a map from Kyron's house to the school, and from the school to Sauvie Island.

    The next image will give you a better idea of the Sauvie Island location.

    Sauvie Island

    See: FBI

    See: FBI

    X

    Friday
    Jun182010

    Those persnickety cell phone pings again

    You would think by now the whole world knows about Casey Anthony. You'd also guess that most people know a thing or two about cell phone pings and how they will be used as evidence against her when her trial gets underway next May. It shouldn't take a brain surgeon to realize that the words "cell phone pings" have become synonymous with Casey, where she was, and how those words trigger thoughts about a missing child, now dead.

    That's why it seems peculiar that the focus of the search for missing 7-year-oldKyron Richard Horman centers on his stepmother's cell phone records. Terri Moulton Horman told authorities she last saw her stepson at school on June 4, when she saw him walking toward his classroom. She said she took him around the school to look at the many science projects. At 8:45 AM, she left. When he didn't get of the school bus later that afternoon, she called the police.

    Now, investigators have determined that Moulton Horman was not where she said she was, or her cell phone wasn't according to pings. Her cell phone records show that the day Kyron was last seen, she was at Sauvie Island, 5 miles from his school. Since June 10, rescuers have been searching all over that island for any evidence that the second-grader may have been there.

    Ironically, it was the same nonchalant attitude that gave police immediate suspicion in the case against Casey, where she was forced to admit she hadn't seen her daughter in a month and didn't seem to care. Moulton Horman raised suspicions in a flash for having claimed to have gone to the gym right after she reported him missing.

    "Hitting the gym," she wrote on her Facebook wall. Eh, so what, she could have added. Poor Kyron.

    Anyone with information is asked to please call the Multnomah County Sheriff TIP-Line at

    503-261-2847

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    Thursday
    May272010

    "I can make them disappear..."

    I began writing this article in June, 2009. Today, I bring it up to date.

    In February of 2009, Chris George’s car was found abandoned near a wooded area in Apopka, Florida. Also known as George Onda, family members and friends didn’t think much of it because he often took off to go on drug-induced binges. Three weeks later, the family called Apopka police and a search ensued. One of the volunteers was a guy by the name of James Hataway. He was one of only two people who last saw George alive. When the case went cold, police closed it out, but last May, something happened, prompting detectives to reopen the case. Today, the Ocoee Police Department has linked a total of 6 victims to James Virgil Hataway.

    Tracy Ocasio was last seen a year ago leaving the Tap Room bar on Raleigh Street in Orlando’s MetroWest neighborhood, at 1:30 AM on May 27. Her car was found abandoned about 15 miles from the bar, not far from Hataway’s home. Yesterday, Ocoee detectives named him as the only suspect in her disappearance. Until then, he was only a person of interest.

    Last June, I went to pick up a few prescriptions from the pharmacy almost across the street from where I live. As she was ringing up my purchase, I asked the always friendly woman behind the counter if she knew anything about Tracy and the guy police have in custody who might also be tied into Jennifer Kesse, missing since January 24, 2006. It’s pretty big news around Orlando and both women are a sad reprieve from the Casey Anthony saga. At first, she didn’t quite know, so I mentioned the bar up the street by Dan’s Restaurant, called McGuinnty’s Irish Pub. I told her he used to go there.

    “Oh, yeah, I remember seeing him on the news. I thought he looked familiar,” she said. I told her McGuinnty’s was one of his hangouts because he lived nearby. “I think I used to see him in here.”

    As a single mother, I just don’t picture my clerk as much of a drinker and, needless to say, neither am I any longer, but I was more of one back then and I knew who this guy was the first time I saw his picture on the local news. McGuinnty’s has been closed for about 3 years years now, but I can remember some of those times like it was yesterday, and I can easily remember the people who oftentimes frequented the place.

    I never befriended James Virgil Hataway at that bar and there were some very good reasons why. The people he hung around with were skinhead types. Hoodlums, plain and simple, and most of the time the regular crowd stayed on one side while they planted themselves on the other. They were young - mid 20s to early 30s - the way I saw it. Today, Hataway is 29. They shaved their heads and had goatees. They all had piercings and tattoos. They were a tough group hanging with rough, but good-looking women. There were a few I knew by name, but not much else. Dallas was a good guy. Today, I don’t remember most of the names but I do remember the faces. To give you an idea, the tall guy in the middle of the picture at this link, Matt, taken at McGuinnty’s, had at one time been a nice young man until he got mixed up with that bunch. His change was overnight. Shaved head, tattoos all over, nasty, punk, degenerate attitude. He went from saying hello to wanting to beat the living crap out of everyone in his way and for no good reason at all. Of course, I never said a word to him again after he snarled one night. These were the guys who had no respect for anyone but their own small clique of friends. They had the ultimate chip on their shoulders. They had no respect for anyone but their own and it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Hataway had no respect for human life from what is emerging.

    He was always the quiet one in the crowd, but it doesn’t surprise me the least that he, or any of the other ones for that matter, is the only suspect in the disappearance of Tracy Ocasio. A surveillance video from the Tap Room showed Hataway and Ocasio leaving together. She had offered to give him a ride home to Ocoee, a couple of miles northwest of the bar. Although not charged with her disappearance, he is in the Seminole County Jail, awaiting trial for an unrelated attempted-murder case from August of 2008, where a woman accused him of choking her, trying to snap her neck and slamming her head repeatedly in the pavement. There were witnesses, too. Real ones, and still alive.

    This is a guy who fancied himself “the worst criminal in the universe” by using the alias Vader McGirth on his now closed MySpace page, named after the Darth Vader character in Star Wars. He’s no stranger to police because he has an extensive criminal record dating back to 1993 which includes kidnapping causing bodily harm, many traffic offenses and drug possession. See Inmate History Report

    One of the former bartenders at McGuinnty’s told me he used to ask her for a ride home once in a while. I asked her if she had ever given him one. “No,” she said, “I always told him I live in the opposite direction.”

    When I asked her if she was glad she didn’t, she responded, “YES,” but she never would have thought that he could do such a thing, other than because of the type of crowd he was always hanging with. I asked her where they all came from. Why did they congregate at McGuinnty’s? She said most of them lived in the trailer park behind the bar. She also told me that most of them have since outgrown that skinhead phase, and some are married. For the record, the trailer park is now a housing development, but I’m sure none of them live there.

    “He wouldn’t care who it was, he would make them disappear, just like he told me. The way he would talk about people … what he would want to do,” said a former roommate who did not wish to be identified, because he said he had received threats from some of Hataway’s friends.

    Before his arrest last year on drug charges, Hataway lived with his father in Ocoee. He also worked with his father dredging ponds.
     

    This Jimmy has a preponderance to do violence, he snaps, he gets angry, it’s always a woman, ride home, end up alone,” said Sgt. Mike Bryant of the Ocoee Police Department, in June 2009. “He’s very familiar with going out into open land at night and not getting caught dumping land debris and waste, that’s a concern…”

    “We believe he did it. He’s always been a suspect,” the detective said yesterday, almost a year after Tracy disappeared. “He is suspected of killing her.”

    Too bad for Tracy because this stunning beauty was a true blue Orlando Magic fan. That’s why she went to the Tap Room bar that fateful Tuesday night on May 26, to watch her team win, and win they did, against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Too bad another James, James Virgil Hataway, was there to watch her lose her life in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. No one ever saw her again. Just like magic, he made her disappear.

    Sunday
    May022010

    NBC Today Show

    The Today Show producer, Jim Lichtenstein, told me I would be on the show Saturday morning as we were leaving the courtroom Friday. It’s only a 2-minute segment and I’m mentioned briefly, but it’s something. Better than nothing. The only thing I take issue with - and that’s very mildly - is Kerry Sanders’ statement that I’m a pro-prosecution blogger. Everyone knows I’m an Anthony lover. Right?

    Interestingly, I met Kerry outside the courthouse at the last hearing I attended, before Friday’s. He’s a very pleasant fellow; friendly and approachable.

    By the way, I would still like to be remembered for my writing ability than as the defense fall guy. The only consolation I got out of this fiasco is a tougher judge. Brilliant, Cheney.

    This one’s for you, New Puppy.