The Long and Winded Road

     The fair and impartial jury, as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Section 11 of the Florida Constitution, is crucial to the administration of justice under our legal system. The fundamental necessity of a fair and impartial jury was heralded by early Court decisions as judges initiated an effort to secure and safeguard the integrity of the jury trial. Jurors should, if possible, be not only impartial, but beyond even the suspicion of partiality. - O’Connor v. State, 9 Fla. 215,222 (Fla. 1860)

    I remember my late grandfather. He was always on time. He was such a stickler for time, he usually arrived about a half-hour earlier than we expected him, but we grew accustomed to it. Growing up, he used to take us to Ocean Grove, NJ, a beach town where driving on the streets was banned on Sunday. He was, after all, a man of the cloth, and Ocean Grove was founded as a religious resort.
    "COME ON, COME ON, COME ON! LET'S GO, LET'S GO, LET'S GO!" I can still hear him say that. In this regard, Judge Perry closely resembles my Grandfather. "You'd better get going or I'll leave without you."
    How many times has the judge told the defense that the show will go on whether they're ready or not? Of course, he wouldn't really do such a thing any more than my grandfather would have left us behind.
    Now going into the ninth day, jury selection in the Casey Anthony trial has been an excruciatingly slow experience for us. The predominant reason why, more than anything else, is because of the repetitive questioning; something the court, the state, and the defense are guilty of, but are they? Not really, considering that each juror must be fed the same rules individually.
    Those of us who are used to the way Judge Perry runs his courtroom have found that he is a consummate professional; one who has the precision of a brain surgeon. Because he is such a perfectionist, we have grown accustomed to his inner clock. By that, I mean when he says court will begin at 8:30 in the morning, you can bet your bottom dollar he will be there at that time unless the defendant is running late. This means that when he expected to seat a jury in six days, it's precisely what we expected him to do, although a lot of us may have thought otherwise. Despite his admonitions, plucking twelve jurors and eight alternates from Pinellas County is not going exactly as planned. Why? Because the rules are different in death penalty cases and he knows it. He also understands that the state has its own definition of a perfect juror, and so does the defense. Seldom do they see eye-to-eye. Meanwhile, the judge grows a little more impatient.
    Unfortunately, the wheels of justice do turn slowly at times, and in jury selection, the judge is more of a referee than anything else. If he inserts himself too directly into the examination of prospective jurors, he enters into a gray area that may open doors for an appeal later on - if the defendant is convicted, of course.
    What we have been witnessing the past few days is something called voir dire. According to, voir dire (vwahr deer) is "the opportunity to examine the jurors before their appointment as regards to their integrity and balanced approach. Voir dire means to see the person and talk to him personally with a purpose to evaluate him. Jurors are interviewed by judges and attorneys before assigning the case to them." Voir dire is a French term, meaning “to speak truth.”
    When the judge placed a half-hour time limit on each juror's questioning, he had to take to task that this could also raise a flag or two later on. As I cited in my previous post, Carver v. Niedermayer, 920 So2d 123 (Fla 4th DCA 2006), the Fourth District Court of Appeal concluded from the record in that case that the trial judge abused his discretion in limiting voir dire examination as he did, and his ruling was reversed. I don't feel this will be the issue with this case. Judge Perry is quite aware of the law, and he gave both sides plenty of time and many opportunities to ask appropriate questions. If the defense does try to use this as a cause for appeal later on, the Fifth District Court of Appeal will take note that the defense was given ample time to address every issue with each juror. There is no redundancy.
    Peremptory strikes and challenges for cause (or reason) have preoccupied a great amount of time in the courtroom, and the judge has had to deal with both forms from the defense and the state. With regard to challenges (or strikes) for cause, there is no limit, but that doesn't mean the court won't deny them. The key word here is cause. There must be a valid reason to ask for one. In the matter of peremptory strikes or challenges, according to the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, the total amount of strikes for each side is ten. Rule 3.340 (a)(1) states: "Ten, if the offense charged is punishable by death or imprisonment for life." The court has the power to increase the amount, if necessary.
    The U.S. Supreme Court holds that the purpose of the peremptory challenge is "to assure the parties that the jurors before whom they try the case will decide on the basis of the evidence placed before them, and not otherwise." Despite the existence of the peremptory challenge since the U.S. was formed, the Supreme Court has limited their use based on the equal protection rights of those involved in the judicial process and of qualified jurors. Specifically, those peremptory challenge limitations are based on race, gender, and on other group identities. This would include religions, national origin or occupations. As was exercised in court on Wednesday, it will one day be argued "that all group-based peremptory challenges should, and eventually, will be eliminated as well." (See: Improving the Jury System: Peremptory Challenges by Patricia Henley)
    Yes, jury duty is taking longer than Judge Perry expected, but by golly, we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to move a few more rocks out of the way until we get there, but in the end, there will be justice for Caylee. My best guess now is that the actual trial will begin on Monday, May 23.
    By the way, we can't say justice for Caylee any longer. George and Cindy have finally gotten around to trademarking their granddaughter's name and likeness, and that includes the phrase. So much for all those companies that are making tons of money off the deceased toddler. That, in itself, has been an injustice, but why wait until now, so close to the end? After all, justice is less than three months away, right?






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May 17, 2011 09:32 pm
 Posted by  Carole

Watching this long drawn out procedure of choosing a jury has given me a new respect for our justice system. Most of us, or at least a lot of us would like to see quick justice with Casey safely enscounced in her cell for at least parole.

BUT, knowing that she got, or gets there, with the help of the courts will make the waiting worth it.

I can see how the stress takes a toll on both the SA and DT, as well as Judge Perry. Casey, however, seems to be enjoying herself. So much attention reaped on her and knowing that her face is on every tv station is like a drug to my opinion.

Keep up the good work on keeping us up to date with this twisting road to justice.

May 17, 2011 10:03 pm
 Posted by  Mary Jo

Great article, Dave! I think that JP had good intentions that he could get a jury picked within a weeks time, but I think having to dismiss those 50 jurors put a crimp into it. He is giving each side ample time to ask their questions and I think he has even been lenient on both sides. He does not want to have to do this over. I don't think he would let any frustration he may be feeling to get in the way of bad rulings and leaving room for an appeal. Do you know when they start picking the alternates if they can use any strikes at all? I have read different things on this so I am not sure. Hopefully tomorrow will be the day that he can get the 12 sworn in and get a good number of alternates. I think if he can get the number that he needs tomorrow that he may start this on Friday. I think he wants to get them sequestered as soon as possible so they aren't exposed to any of the media out there. I don't think he would want to wast any days of just having them sit around when they could be hearing from witnesses. I never realized how much went into picking a jury for a DP case and I have certainly learned a lot by watching and also reading your articles. Thank you for keeping us informed and for helping us to understand all of this. Keep up the good work. It is appreciated!

May 17, 2011 10:15 pm
 Posted by  Mary Jo

I also wanted to say that I don't think it is right for these companies to be making money off of Caylee, especially some of the clothing items, but I also don't think it is right that the Anthony's have waited almost 3 years to trademark "Justice For Caylee", etc. It upsets me to see them trademark that name when they have done nothing to fight for justice for Caylee. They are her grandparents and have done nothing to try to get justice for her and they should. I can foresee them using that name after this trial is done for a book deal or something that they can make more money off of her. When it comes to Caylee it seems that they only use her or her name to make money. The timing just seems a little suspicious also with the trial starting any day.

May 17, 2011 10:25 pm
 Posted by  Debra L

This has been the most frustrating week, with the jury selection. I was so pissed today when JP said "I'm going to swear in the jury", and Jose said, we move to strike a certain juror. What a long, long, drawn out process. Although, I do agree that the two sides need to agree on 12 jurors. I'm thinking that this trial won't start for at least another week, if not longer. Dave, aren't they running out of potential jurors at this point??

May 17, 2011 10:38 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I was kind of surprised that the Judge denied the prosecution to strike the juror who said she could not pass judgement on another person. I pray that is not the one person that hangs this jury.


May 17, 2011 11:06 pm
 Posted by  frankie

Yes Dave, the jury selection is going slowly. I understand why judge Perry tries to keep everything on a schedule otherwise I think that the defense would drag their heels like they have tried to do all along. On the other hand I do think that the jury selection is one of the most important parts of this trial and should not be rushed. It could be a matter of life or death if Casey is found guilty.
I don't mean to sound dense, but who is making money off of this deceased toddler at this time? George and Cindy don't have their child finding business anymore do they? Thanks Dave.

May 17, 2011 11:44 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Mr. Knechel, with all of your presumed legal knowledge, your jargon about the jury selection process,is null & void. Your inclusion in this write up that the Anthony's attorney, Mr. Lippman, sent out a cease and desist order to those who are advertising items and applied for a trademark on the name Justice for Caylee. You, of all people, must be aware of how long it will take Mr. Lippman, to accomplish his goal. Freedom of speech includes "Justice for Caylee", no trademark necessary.

May 17, 2011 11:50 pm
 Posted by  Amber

Hi Dave

Good post as usual! How can the Anthony family trademark a phrase of "Justice for Caylee" when they didn't seem to invent the term and other people have named their children Caylee? Can you trademark a name such as Dave or Sam or Quentin? What about "Justice for Jessica" or "Justice for Haleigh" or "Justice for All"?

What is the diffference between preemptive and peremptive? I seem to have seen both terms today and don't know which is which.


May 17, 2011 11:51 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Life is a long road to Justice, time and patience, but, Justice will prevail.

May 17, 2011 11:53 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Hi Dave & Everyone,

I'm grateful for the Florida Sunshine Laws that have afforded me the opportunity to see this trial unfold from day 31 in all it's components.

Sure this Voir Dire process is taking longer, but compared to what? From what many experts have stated, murder trial juries can take months to seat. Today I read in one of Casey's jailhouse letters that she considers herself a celebrity for heavens sake, bigger than OJ. Most potential jury pools haven't been afflicted with oodles and oodles of pretrial publicity. It is what it is.

Now as for Cindy and George trademarking "Justice for Caylee" and her likeness. They're planning to sue who exactly? Those two vultures have basically lived off Cayleedollars for nearly three years, and have all but abandoned their granddaughter's precious memory. Again the Ants set a sterling example. Personally I find it equally disgusting that they set up a foundation for a missing Caylee when they knew she was anything but. They took money from Equasearch and insisted Tim Miller look for a live Caylee, when those resources could have been utilized to search for children who were really missing. The Caylee cash cow is a private reserve, oh...okay. Gotcha.

Thanks for another great article Dave!

One more thing...



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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 as Anthony goes to trial for first-degree murder. His posts will appear regularly on this site.

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