Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Argument for Judgement of Acquittal

Jose Baez submitted memorandum to Judge Perry. He is familiar with most of the cases cited.
Cheney Mason is arguing for a Judgement on Acquittal based on the supposition that the prosecution did not make its case.  He is citing a Supreme Court case a in which "A judgement for acquittal should be granted when all evidence is circumstantial. It is the states responsibility" A direct acquittal is a very common move by a defense after prosecutors rest. (for appellate reasons as well). 
He is citing Dr. G stating that it is a homicide by undetermined means based on the duct tape.Mason states this is contrary to rules.  He cites CAs' lying is directly correlated to the death of Caylee Anthony. He states that it has not been shown who, why, when , where  and how Caylee died.

Count 1>  Premeditated Murder. Mason> excludes hypothesis for pre determination. Prosecution has not shown premeditation. Mason> There has been a stacking of evidence but no evidence of premeditation.
He cites a case of  a beauty queen named Donna Louise Smith who was found floating wrapped in  c. hains and a blanket. The husband did not report the death. Mason: Court in that case reversed 1st degree murder to 2nd bec. they couldn't prove manner of homicide  Mason states that the prosecution has not even shown how Caylee died. Mason also says state failed poorly to rebut the theory of drowning. Mason says CA was a loving, doting, caring mother.

Count 2>  Aggravated Child Abuse  State has not shown any evidence that Caylee was tortured or neglected. They have not show any intent to harm Caylee.  Mason says everyone who took stand was asked if Caylee was mistreated or tortured and the answer was no.
Count 3>  Aggravated Manslaughter   No evidence. The duct tape on or near Caylees remain has not been shown to be intentional but has been speculated. 

Count 4, 5, 6,>  He is not going to go into at this time . Judge Perry  asks if his argument over count 4,5,6 is a "late in the day." Mason said he already ruled on it. Apparently, he is arguing that Casey was not "mirandized." and her statements must be disregarded. Mason> Mason is again talking about the night deputies were called to Anthony home and CA was put in patrol car. (Miranda right issue). Casey was drivien around and surrounded (at Universal) by law enforcement and should have been mirandized. Mason is citing case law. Judge Perry leans back in his chair, covers his mouth and appears to be yawning. ME TOO. Casey  has a blank stare.
Mason: Argues that heart-shaped outline disappearing from duct tape akin to magical act. It went "Poof! Mason: No record of accidental death. He said "poof!" Also raised his hands.Judge asks what evidence is there of an accidental death? Mason says right now there isn't... Yet.Mason says there's nothing to exclude an accidental death either.Mason asks was she killed at all? Or was it an accident ? He also says it's the states burden to prove guilt.   When Mason mentioned grand father -George Anthony took a deep breath.  Mason comments on judge's experience and his own and says there is no evidence to say it was murder. Mason says counts 1,2,and 3 should be dismissed.

Linda Drane Burdick (LDB) steps up. Burdick points out that the defense has pointed out a cause of death.Burdick: State is not req. to rebut every scenario, but prove the facts.   Dr. G has refuted it. Burdick points Jackson v State, 2010, Alutein County, Florida. Page 532 of the opinion. LDB also says even George Anthony, accused of the cover up, denies this accidental death theory. LDB says a reasonable jury can conclude CA  died from 3 pieces of duct tape, by chloroform. Both she says.

Burdick: Reasonable jury can conclude Caylee died of duct tape on mouth and chloroform poisoning.
LDB says the application of duct tape (3 pieces) is premeditation. She says CA could have taken them off. LDB also says a jury can conclude CA started plotting this as early as March when she searched "chloroform" on computer. LDB days the motive would have been rift between mother/ daughter. 
 Burdick: Reas. jury can conclude CA  prepared for elimination of child thru computer searches. Burdick: "Intentional act by the defendant to cause the child's death" LDB says it's their stand is that the jury can decide- Judge Perry doesn't have to.LDB says CA could have died from single act of abuse. (debuting the no torture or abuse defense talked about) . LDB says jury can decide victim was poisoned (chloroform) and that CA placed 3 pieces of duct tape over the mouth of her daughter. 

Mason: State has "dearth of errors."  Mason: No evidence whatsoever of poisoning by chloroform. Mason: Traces of chloroform from decomposition.  Mason: No chloroform related to death of child. Mason: "The duct tape had not been wound around this child's head at all." Mason: Only evidence of duct tape is George Anthony putting it on the gas can.  Mason says state is forcing guessing with speculation. 

Judge is about to call a recess but before we go he says he has read most of these cases. Says he spent most of wknd reviewing this case.
Recess until 11:15

Judge Perry back on bench. Both Defense and Prosecution have cited Serrano vs State..
The state must decide whether Judgement for Acquittal is appropriate. Judge Perry is discussing the cases cited in arguments.   Premeditation is a statement of fact. (not circumstantial evidence) Nature of weapon, manner of weapon used.   JP reviews rules of circumstantial evidence. Judge says it's not states job to rebut every theory of death.  Judge is reviewing and discussing the cases submitted. Judge says from previous case it was up to a jury to decide whether premeditation exists. 
Judge now talking about a case where last known person to be seen with victim was atheist defendant. Onto another case (this is at least 3) judge received in making this decision. Remember before break Judge Perry says he has spent a lot of time reading case law as it relates to this case - especially over the wknd.
CA  whispers something to Jose Baez during Perry's reading of case law on acquittal.Judge is talking a lot about cases where there is only circumstantial evidence.  Judge states their is enough reason for the charges of Aggravated child abuse (there does not need to be prior history of child abuse) and how it relates to the charge of Felony Murder.  Therefore, he rejects the motion by defense for Judgement of Acquittal.  Judge Perry says in this case there are more than 1 single act:: duct tape, chloroform, statements made by CA.
This is not big news. It was expected. This motion for Judgement of Acquittal is protocal for a death penalty case after the prosecution rests. So tomorrow we move to the defense presenting their case. 
Should be interesting. Court recessed until tomorrow at 9am.
Jose Baez is on his phone, CA is looking at him. Cheney Mason isn't showing any facial expression.George and Cindy Anthony left court immediately.

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