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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Casey Anthony's defense fails to win sanctions against state

Photo from last court appearance

Sarah Lundy
Sentinel Staff Writer
March 12, 2009

NOTE: Judge Stan Strickland, however, did grant a motion to keep George Anthony's suicide note private.

5:17 p.m. After today's hearing, Casey Anthony's defense attorneys said they plan on contacting the FBI and asking for various notes from the agency. The defense also said one thing they plan to follow-up with at trial is the fact that Orange County Sheriff's Office crime-scene investigators destroy their notes once they write their reports.

4:58 p.m. Judge Strickland has heard all the motions scheduled for today. He said that if the investigator who reviewed the ex-boyfriend's computer has notes, he or she needs to turn them over.

4:54 p.m. Judge Strickland denied the defense's request for sanctions. They are now discussing the final motion, which is about screen shots from the computer belonging to one of Casey Anthony's ex-boyfriends. Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick said they are asking investigators to turn over all the contents. The defense team already has the computer hard-drive, so the judge is asking why they actually need the screen shots. Defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden said the defense wants to know if there are notes from the computer examiner.

4:47 p.m. Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick told Judge Stan Strickland that Jose Baez is trying to argue something he hasn't proven. She said Baez is trying to insinuate some type of police misconduct.

4:40 p.m. Defense attorney Jose Baez was going to call another witness but changed his mind. He is now addressing Judge Strickland.

4:30 p.m. The crime scene investigator was at the Sheriff's Office when Dr. Henry Lee -- one of Jose Baez's experts -- arrived to inspect evidence. Lee was going to inspect the car and other evidence.

4:12 p.m. Defense attorney Jose Baez is now questioning a crime scene investigator who processed Anthony's car July 16.

4:00 p.m. The judge has called the attorneys to the bench and is talking to them now.

3:55 p.m. Judge Strickland has found the defense's request for DNA and evidence gathering is moot. Strickland wants the defense to request the information from the FBI and private labs.

3:40 p.m. Judge Stan Strickland granted Conway's motion. Conway asked the judge to block prosecutors from releasing a note George Anthony wrote in January when he threatened suicide.

3:35 p.m. A hearing in the case against Casey Anthony, the 22-year-old accused of killing her daughter, is about to start in Orange County courtroom 19D.

Anthony - who is required to attend all hearings - is sitting next to her attorney Jose Baez and co-counsel Linda Kenney Baden. She was seated before the public was allowed in the courtroom. Her hair is pulled back and she appears to be wearing a white cardigan atop a dark shirt and dark pants.The courtroom is packed with reporters and onlookers. Anthony's parents - George Anthony and Cindy Anthony are sitting in the first row, behind their daughter.

Orange County detectives John Allen and Yuri Melich are also in attendance. Orange Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland will hear arguments on four motions, including one filed by lawyer Brad Conway, who is representing George Anthony and Cindy Anthony. Conway wants to stop prosecutors from releasing a note George Anthony wrote in January when he threatened suicide.

The letter may be part of investigative documents that could be released to the public under Florida's open record laws. Distraught over his granddaughter's death and his daughter's arrest, George Anthony threatened suicide in January. He penned the note Jan. 23, before police found him in a Daytona Beach motel. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he stayed several days.

In paperwork filed in court, Conway argued that the note contains personal information that is not relevant to the criminal investigation. Releasing it would be embarrassing for the family, he wrote.

Another topic on the list of motions involve the defense's request for prosecutors and law enforcement to produce all DNA notes and reports and standards used to collect evidence.

Baez also wants the state to turn over computer screen shots or printout from a computer that belonged to Ricardo Morales, one of Anthony's former boyfriends. At one point, he had a picture of a woman on his MySpace page - a social networking Web site - that stated "win her over with chloroform." Investigators examined Morales' computer and found "nothing incriminating."

Baez wrote in his motion that the defense is entitled to know what the state felt was "not incriminating" so the defense can compare it to their own computer analysis. The last issue scheduled today is Baez's request to have prosecutors sanctioned because a defense expert who examined Anthony's car was not informed about all the evidence removed from the vehicle.

Investigators removed trash from the trunk before criminalist Henry Lee inspected the car for the defense. Authorities failed to tell him it was taken out. Now, the defense must request notes and opinions by the state's two experts, according to the motion.

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