A Velvet Glove on an Iron Fist
What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.
– From the movie Cool Hand Luke
There is no better way to describe the explosive dynamic between Casey Anthony’s defense team and state prosecutors. They are like oil and water; yin pitted against yang and ebb against flow in a dichotomous whirlwind of turmoil and frustration. Sitting amidst this turbulence is Judge Belvin Perry Jr.
I think we all recognize a judge must be just, and Perry is. On Monday morning, he listened to both sides disagree over legal issues before bringing in the jury. Perry put an end to the heated discussion after almost 25 minutes. Enough, he said. He looked at prosecutor Jeff Ashton and asked him to tell him the time on the courtroom clock. 9:25, Ashton replied. Then Perry asked Jose Baez the same question. 9:26, said Baez.
That shows the two of you will never agree on anything said Perry, who I would bet dollars to doughnuts knew that he’d get a different answer from each attorney.
“It is quite evident there is a friction between attorneys,” Perry said in what has to be the biggest understatement of the trial. “That is something I guess the Florida Bar will deal with. And at the conclusion of this trial, this court will deal with violations, which may or may not have occurred. But it is not proper for the court to deal with it now.”
Every single person inside the Ninth Circuit Court recognizes the superior intellect and quick wit of Judge Perry. One need not be a legal eagle to notice his keen grasp of law and his ability to pull statute after statute out of his head in a moment’s notice. There’s not a lawyer who’s ever stood before him who doesn’t understand that it’s downright impossible to pull the wool over his eyes. Yet Baez attempts to get one past him from time to time, and as he has in the past he’s drawn a stern rebuke from Perry. The latest run-in with the judge has left Baez facing a contempt of court sanction again.
It’s not unusual for opposing attorneys to keep information out of the hands of the other side, but Perry has warned Baez and Ashton not to play this game. Baez, however, thinks he can buy time by ignoring Perry’s edicts, but he’s yet to get away with anything. It’s a game he plays but he’ll never win. He’s pitted himself against a jurist with a sharp mind and an appreciation for fair play. Baez is no match for Perry, much less Ashton, who has taken apart the defenses case, one lame expert witness at a time.
What is Baez trying to do, create so many missteps that the trial ends in a mistrial? Mark my words, Judge Perry will not let State of Florida v. Casey Marie Anthony slip through his fingers. He can wield a very strong hand, and there’s no better time for him to take the gloves off than now.
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