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Pinellas? You be the Judge

    On Saturday's online edition of the St. Petersburg Times, it was announced that "Casey Anthony jury selection could be coming to Pinellas on Monday". I found out about it from one of the local journalists because my hunch that it would be from either Hillsborough or Pinellas was right on the mark. That's what I had been saying for months after carefully studying numerous counties. I never had a thought about Miami because of several things. The population of Miami-Dade County is roughly 2,500,000 people. Orange County is around 1,150,000. That's less than half. Also, the demographics aren't the same if we break down ethnicities and incomes into percentages, not to mention crime. Most importantly, all statistics aside, when Jose Baez made his preference known, it was a sure sign that the judge was going to go to any other county but that one. Baez might as well have said, "Any other county but Pinellas!" and, voila, we would have gotten us a jury location a lot quicker, not that the judge wasn't following a schedule or anything.
    To prove my point of looking over counties with a fine tooth comb, let's take a look at a few. Some people wondered about Leon. Tallahassee is the state capital and county seat, but the population is just 275,000. Ft. Myers is in Lee County, population 620,000. Take a peek at Putnam, home of Haleigh Cummings. Population? 75,000. Every county I looked at didn't come nearly as close as Hillsborough or Pinellas, and the more I studied, I kept returning to those two. The population of Hillsborough is around 1,230,000. That's only 80,000 more. Pinellas is roughly 920,000. That's not too much of a difference considering the disparity between Orange and all other counties.
    One thing about those two is that they are relatively conservative counties, but so is Orange. On the other hand, there are lots of independent voters and that's why the "I-4 (Interstate) Corridor" between Daytona and Tampa is such a coveted territory to presidential candidates. It can make or break an election, and it never had a "hanging chad" problem. If I were to pick a melting pot in the state; one that looks like a place to pick a jury of Casey's peers, the 1-4 Corridor would have my vote, but Volusia County, where Daytona Beach is located, is just under 500,000 people. Head west, my friend, and that's what I did.
    When Judge Perry talked about the TV market, he was telling the truth. He said there "are no major television stations" to speak of. By that, he meant network affiliates in that county. WTOG, for example, is located in Pinellas, but it's branding is CW. Then, there's WCLF, but it's not affiliated with any network. The majors are in Tampa, and even if Hillsborough were chosen, the market is still Tampa. That's the same as Orange County. Do any of the local stations ply their wares from Orange County or are they advertised as Orlando stations? You see, it's all in the semantics. Cocoa Beach and Brevard County are in the Orlando market, but certainly, they are not part of Orlando. Neither is Seminole, where I live.
    Does Pinellas have $50/night hotels? Gee, I'm afraid to ask, let alone find out, but I do know that Clearwater is a nice area. I've been there many times to visit family friends. Oh yes, they are retired. Lots of people over there are. That's one big difference between here and there. They may be more conservative, but I don't think it matters. I'd bet that most people don't follow the story in Pinellas like they do in Orange. I'll even go out on a limb and claim that more people where I live, statistic-wise, would be much more willing to sentence Casey to death. That means the people in St. Pete, Clearwater, and the rest of the county aren't nearly as educated about the case as we are here. In my opinion, Judge Perry made a wise decision.

 

 


    

 

 

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May 8, 2011 11:21 pm
 Posted by  sharonday

Hi Dave, I can't believe we are finally here! I just really feel so bad for Cindy and George (and maybe for the first time too) I just could not imagine what they are going to have to go through through the course of this trial Not sure I could do it! Take care of yourself my friend and I am so glad I and so many others will have you there as our eyes and ears! Finally Precious Caylee may get some justice!!! Talk to you soon Dave...Sharon Day

May 8, 2011 11:23 pm
 Posted by  Nanna Frances

Dave,
I have been reading similiar things things today. WFTV has a reference to this. Humbleopinion and Friends has a link to pictures of the jail in one of the comments.

It seemed to me this day would never come, but I am so happy it is here! And look where your wonderful posts are now! What a wonderful day!

Please take very good care of yourself.

May 8, 2011 11:34 pm
 Posted by  Carole

Well Dave, you broke my bubble......my best friend was summoned for jury duty for the date of May 10, tomorrow....but it is in Marion County! I know she will be happy that she will not be in the Casey circus but I had her worried for a while....now, if I wake up in the morning and it just so happens that the pickin' place is here in Marion County I will be really surprised!!

May 9, 2011 05:15 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Clearwater is a nice area, I agree. As for jury selection we'll see. I don't doubt they'll be able to sit a jury as long as they travel away from Orange County. As unlikely as it seems there in Orange County and in some of the others not everyone follows the case. I'm sure there will be enough there who don't. The question is will they satisfy the defense? I read where they were looking for another jury consultant. Judge Perry thinks Mason can do the job as well as any jury consultant... but .. will he? Time will tell.

I imagine everyone who received a jury duty notice to show up Monday was sweating it til it finally came out where they were going.

May 9, 2011 06:31 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Casey's going on a road trip! Would you know, Dave, if they will be transporting her to Clearwater everyday, or if she will be held in the jail there?

Mouse

May 9, 2011 07:10 am
 Posted by  Rob

Dave, you are right on the money picking Pinellas, for jury selection. As always your posts are brilliant. I look forward to this trial commencing. Let us hope jury selection will progress without any major tribulations.

May 9, 2011 07:17 am
 Posted by  Carole

Dave,
Well, you were right and my friend is no doubt happy that it was not here in little Marion County.

The jury selection will likely be a long slow process as well as being boring after the first few "captives" have been "grilled".......but, then again, maybe not. Will have to wait and see.

Looking forward to your comments about the selection process.

May 9, 2011 07:38 am
 Posted by  Nika

I think Casey was transported to Clearwater last night and will remain there until the end of jury selection. The jail is right next to the courthouse.
Clearwater is a very nice place - Motels are cheaper since the summer tourist season has not started and the winter visitors have gone home. Many very educated people and lots of retirees.

May 9, 2011 09:19 am
 Posted by  Mary Jo

Dave, thanks for this article. You did a great job on it and breaking down the different counties and why they wouldn't have been chosen. It is nice that you do your homework and go in depth for all of us. It is appreciated! I don't think they will have a problem getting a jury from here. I am glad that this was kept quiet until it was so that area didn't get saturated. I am glad to see that Tru TV is covering the jury selection. So are the media stations online.

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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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