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Jun 5, 201108:00 PM

How the Cards Stack

    After two full weeks of trial, so far the state has presented a highly credible chronological account of the events in the life of Casey and what happened to Caylee, starting in June 2008. With all the defense bumbling and missteps throughout pretrial motions and hearings, just how is Jose & Co. handling affairs in the courtroom, now that the trial against Casey Anthony is underway? One of the things we must recognize is that Jose is not only lead attorney by name, he is walking the walk – guiding her defense through thick and thin. Despite error after error, he's not really doing all that poorly, based on how he handled cross examinations and readdresses on Friday and Saturday. Considering that he has a liar and thief for a client, and his tactics have not always been on the side of integrity, he seems to be handling his own in some areas, particularly forensics. One must give credit where credit is due.
    While Casey's family and friends testified that she was a cold, callous and calculating mother who lied about Caylee's whereabouts for a month, Jose managed to get them to concede that she was a wonderful mother who never showed any signs of abusing her daughter. That means their testimony didn't just work to the state's advantage, and anything in favor of Casey is a plus.
    As to the 5 hours of damaging video, clearly, they speak volumes, none of which will help her cause one bit, but let's move on to the testimony of law enforcement. When Yuri Melich took the stand, he became a formidable challenge because he refused to let Jose impeach him on cross examination. Jose sought to introduce blogs as a means to undermine Yuri's credibility. Yuri had commented on Websleuths very early into the investigation, but he said nothing about this case. While the defense was successful in using my blog, Marinade Dave, to remove the presiding judge, Stan Strickland, from the bench last April, it failed miserably this time. Why? Because the defense went from Strickland to stricter. Sure, he didn't have to step down, but this time, court and law enforcement personnel were wise to Jose's trickery and he failed miserably. Besides, technically, Websleuths is not a blog, it's a forum. After this recent attempt, a very wise man, studious in law, told me the hidden ball trick only works once in a game, and the defense already used theirs. This time, Yuri prevailed.
    The trial has now moved into the realm of forensics, and it's an area that's subject to scrutiny because it pits science against science. While facts don't lie, opinions of facts do, and so do otherwise benign discrepancies. Take the contents discovered in the trunk of Casey's car, particularly hair samples. While many of those hairs could be attributed to Caylee, there are two ways to introduce those hairs into the trunk:
  • Caylee was inside the trunk, or;
  • Caylee came close or touched her mother and when Casey opened the car trunk, her daughter's hair fell from her.
    That's called primary and secondary transfer, and science alone cannot determine how any of those hairs got inside the trunk.
    Gerardo Bloise is a CSI Level 2 investigator for OCSO. For many years, he was a police officer in Puerto Rico and his credentials are, seemingly, impeccable. He was the first person to process and document Casey's automobile. He wrote in his report that when he first broke a police seal on her car's door and opened it, the first thing he noticed was the odor of decomposition. That's very compelling, and it sounds incriminating, but Jose, on cross-examination, asked about decomposition in general; garbage, animal and human, plus the many different stages of decomposition. Sure, he agreed, they all vary. Why then, Jose asked, did you describe the decomposition as human to the state and just plain decomposition to me? Why did you write decomposition instead of human decomposition on your report? Those are the subtle questions a competent defense attorney asks, and there's nothing wrong with it. It's called strategy.
    Another accepted strategy lays in attacking an opponent's credibility and qualifications – other layers in the field of impeachment. Jose did this with Karen Korsberg-Lowe, an FBI forensic examiner with the Trace Evidence Unit who failed her first proficiency test. Yes, Jose was well within his rights to say that. She testified about the death banding found in one lone hair from the trunk of the car. Jose managed to get her to admit that her science had never been allowed in a courtroom when the identity of a hair – who it came from – was in dispute. She said the science had been in use in the U.S. Since the 1930s, but it's only been permitted when identification was not an issue. In this case, there was no tissue left intact to allow complete DNA testing. Although the lone death band hair points to a deceased person, who it belongs to remains a mystery. All we know from mitochondrial DNA testing is that the hair came from Caylee's maternal side. That includes her and her living relatives; her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Death banding certainly points to Caylee since she is, after all, dead, but it's not 100% foolproof, and that's no small concession by the state.
    Michael Vincent is an assistant supervisor with the OCSO Crime Scene Unit. He's a retired Philadelphia police officer and a military veteran. I knew there was something I liked about him - a Philly cop and an Air Force vet. He is Gerardo Bloise's direct boss. Arpad Vass, of Oak Ridge National Laboratory fame, sent him a portable air pump, along with test tubes and instructions on how to collect air samples from the vehicle's trunk. He also assisted Gerardo by taking hair samples and buccal swabs from George, Cindy and Lee for testing. Jose attempted to show that air samples could vary from day to day, since no air in an open area remains stagnant. So could evidence that's wet or dry vary. Jose managed to get the CSI supervisor to admit that he wasn't trained in the field of air samples since it's such a new science, and it had never been utilized in a courtroom before. While his testimony overall was beneficial to the prosecution, he admitted that the air samples he took were consistent with regular trash and not necessarily with human decomposition. That played well with Jose. It was one small victory amidst a trial that won't cede many for the defense. That may change dramatically after Vass is sworn in.
    Although the cards are very, very much stacked against him and it seems the trial shaping up to be a slam dunk, I must say that Jose Baez remains remarkably confident – testy at times, but he has never given up hope, and for that, I give him credit. History will say he was the lawyer who represented the murderous Tot Mom, and he will be vilified for a number of reasons, but one thing is certain, he will never be remembered as a quitter.

 

 


    

 

 

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Comments, page 1 of 3 1 2 3 Next »
Jun 5, 2011 09:09 pm
 Posted by  Waterfall

This is a remarkable report Dave, you have kept your attention focused. No doubt you have your personal conclusions just as most others do yet for you to write in such fairness , I very much appreciate because for three years most discussion by those of us have expressed what we had already concluded one way or the other, and most will hold to their own thoughts and have good reason for doing so. In the end, we will have to yield to what happens during trial and in the minds of 12 men and women and accept the fate of Casey. Re: the hair demonstration, I was shocked to hear that the 9" hair supposedly being that of Caylee Ms Lowe spoke of, was not one of those on the board. Immediately, I wondered why it would not have been important to have as a comparison in the banding. Even though
the state can not be positive it was Caylee's and not of her maternal family, still, if that hair came from the trunk, from a decomposing body, why would it not still impress a jury. I hope your energy keeps
up to continue your observations and giving us these on the premises writings through the remaining weeks.

Jun 5, 2011 09:13 pm
 Posted by  Mary Jo

Dave, great article! Those video tapes were very damaging to the defense. The jury got a chance to see the real Casey Anthony and I can't imagine that they thought too highly of her. I was surprised that Baez did well with the cross examining of the forensic people.I didn't think he would be doing the cross on the forensics and I didn't think he had it in him to do a decent job. I thought Dorothy Sims would be doing the forensic cross and direct questioning. He needs to learn that when JP says "sustained" that he means it. I loved how Yuri was able to not let Baez rattle him while on the stand. I loved when Baez asked him if Casey committed suicide and Yuri said she couldn't have because she is still alive or something to that affect. I like what the very wise man told you about the hidden ball trick. I am looking forward to seeing exactly what the defense's case will be. I don't think they will be able to deliver what they said in their opening statement. They won't be able to tie Kronk into getting the body, the things Casey said in those videos, etc. Thanks again for the great article. It is much appreciated!

Jun 5, 2011 09:35 pm
 Posted by  Mrs Robinson

Baez reminds me of little Johnny. Little Johnny was forever getting failing grades at school. One day, Little Johnny made a D+ and passed a test and everyone stood up and took notice. Baez seems to be improving slightly but thus far, he has not earned a standing ovation.

Little Davey, great article!

Jun 5, 2011 09:52 pm
 Posted by  guardianangel

[When cross examined by Baez, Michael Vincent admitted that the air samples he took were consistent with regular trash and not necessarily with human decomposition. ] Mr Vincent was collecting the samples and shipping them off to Dr Vass. He was not the expert who who be analyzing them so I cannot see why his opinion, differentiating between trash and human decomposition would matter. He just gathered the air sample, he did not test it at the forensics bay in Orlando. I cannot see where Baez scored that one.

Thanks for another great article and for being our eyes and ears.

PS.. here is the question I left on your last post. If you can find the time to answer it, it will be appreciated.

[Dave, I have a question... When you look towards the jury, are the four alternates separated from the other 12? Do the alternate jurors know they are alternates or is that not made known to them? If you do not know the answer, how about asking Mark NeJame the next time you talk to him. I am being curious for a reason. As I watch the trial proceedings, I try to imagine some of the jurors who made it on the panel and how they may be sizing things up. Remember, one of the jurors said she was not able to sit in judgement of anyone. TIA]

Jun 5, 2011 09:55 pm
 Posted by  Amber

Hi Dave

This was another outstanding article. I like the fact that you are very fair to both sides in this case. I think Jose Baez has a very difficult, possibly close to impossible, job if he wants his client to be found not guilty of any charges related to Caylee's tragic and untimely death. I can't see a not guilty verdict no matter what any of the defense lawyers do. However, as guilty as I think Casey may be in her daughter's death, I do not believe in the death penalty. Leonard Padilla on one of the talking head tv shows recently said he thought a fair penalty for Casey might be 8 to 10 years. Do the prosecution attoneys seem to be remaining confident in their case? Do you think they really want the death penalty for Casey or only a death penalty qualified jury to make a conviction more likely?

Jun 5, 2011 10:13 pm
 Posted by  guardianangel

Amber, I think the state has the death penalty on the table as a small guarantee that Casey will get LWOP. I doubt if she will get the death penalty, in fact, I don't think the prosecution wants that. I just hope the charge will not come down to aggrevated manslaugher when the jury goes out to deliberate. Casey also faces about 5 other charges besides Murder One and she is a convicted felon. If Casey is found guilty and it goes to the penalty phase, Judge Perry makes the final decision. He has quite a track record in handing out the DP.

Jun 5, 2011 10:21 pm
 Posted by  Uwho

Appreciate the update as well as your comments on todays Simon Barrett program. You certainly stay focused on the facts no matter where or how you are commenting !

Jun 5, 2011 10:24 pm
 Posted by  Waterfall

Mrs. Robinson, I think Jose Baez is going through a birthing process about now an wishes it was by C -section. He may be a little Johnny but he is trying very hard to earn his long pants. I give him a thumbs up for that. I wonder if he was the prosecutor and Ashton the defense what this case would be, just considering their personalities.

Amber I find your comment about a death penalty "qualified" jury to be very very interesting.

Jun 5, 2011 10:35 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

great article dave!

here is a 33 second video that demonstrates how cold, callous, and crazy casey anthony is. the video is from court, when the jail house tape of her losing her cool with her parents was played. notice in this video, how she giggles and smirks, and tries to disguise the smirk by pretending to wipe away a tear. this video says it all!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS2GZVFCJF8

Jun 6, 2011 02:27 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dave,
In your response to Waterfall’s post you wrote about Mr. Baez:
"Would you rather she have someone with more talent? Someone who might just win the case? I didn't think so.”

At first I agreed then I gave this concept some thought and concluded that I would rather Casey have a more talented lawyer even if it meant winning the case, which would be a travesty. It is highly doubtful that a more skilled attorney would have used the same defense strategy. In my opinion, Mr. Baez’s strategy is cruel and bordering on inhumane. Regardless of how you feel about George and Cindy Anthony, good, bad or ugly, it is clear that their grief over the loss of their beautiful granddaughter is beyond measure. I can’t even get my mind around what their lives have been like for the past three years.

About a month or so before the start of the trial George and Cindy were informed of the defense strategy. What a day that must have been. In one fail swoop, after three years of protesting their daughter’s innocence…they knew she was responsible for Caylee’s death, they knew they had been “played.” They knew that all the searching, sleepless nights, dealing with angry protesters, angry neighbors, angry media and the ever-angry Casey had all been for nothing. The shroud of denial melted away in an instant. But this was a one-two punch because then it was revealed that they would be offered up as Casey’s next victims but in the courtroom. Who is the real abuser here?

You say Mr. Baez “will never be remembered as a quitter.” If he tried to quit in the middle of a death penalty case he would most likely be disbarred and since it's reported to have taken him 8 years to become a member it's not likely he will let that happen. His lack of skill is surpassed only by his lack of humanity in defense strategy.

Dave, you are my “voice of reason” amidst this chaos, but on the topic of Mr. Baez, I will have to agree to disagree.

Kat
from Monroe Co.

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About This Blog

'Marinade Dave' Knechel

Dave Knechel has been blogging about the Casey Anthony case since late 2008, drawing readers from all over the world. Best known as “Marinade Dave,” a nickname he got when he made marinades and also blogged about marinade recipes, Knechel is on assignment to blog about the case exclusively for orlandomagazine.com as Anthony goes to trial for first-degree murder. His posts will appear regularly on this site.

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