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Casey Anthony: Not Very Appealing, Part 3 - md

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 Casey Anthony: Not Very Appealing, Part 3 - md Empty Casey Anthony: Not Very Appealing, Part 3 - md

Post by mom_in_il Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:36 am

Casey Anthony: Not Very Appealing, Part 3
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 2:14PM


In POINT TWO of the appeal, Casey’s defense wrote that:

II. The Appellant’s constitutional rights were violated when she was convicted of four separate counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer because each count stemmed from the same single offense where there was no break in the temporal aspect of the crime.

In that sense, if I fire a bullet through the brain of someone (who dies, obviously) and, as it passes through my intended victim, kills the person standing immediately behind him; does that constitute two homicides but one murder charge because it was one bullet? After all, it stemmed from the same single offense. That’s the logic of this Appellant’s argument. The defense also argued Fla. Const. Article 1 §9:

”[…] that individuals are given ‘protection from multiple convictions and punishments for the same offense arising out of a single episode.’”

I completely disagree. First, let’s look at the testimony by law enforcement at Casey’s murder trial acknowledged by her defense:


Corporal Rendon Fletcher:

“Corporal Fletcher relayed that the Appellant, after questioning, stated that her daughter was missing, in the custody of a nanny, and that the Apppellant was conducting her own search.” LIE #1.

Lieutenant Reginald Hosey (then Sergeant) and Officer Adriana Acevedo:

”[…] Officer Acevedo escorted the Appellant to the last stated location of the ‘nanny.’” LIE #2.

Hosey: “[…] after being escorted to the Sawgrass Apartments, […] the Appellant was led back into her residence…” LIE #3. There was never a Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez living at Sawgrass, in Apt. #210 or anywhere else. She led Hosey on a wild goose chase.

Detective Yuri Melich:

“The recorded statement by the Appellant stated that she worked at Universal Studios, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzales was Caylee Anthony’s babysitter, and that the Appellant informed Jeffery Hopkins and Juliette Lewis of the disappearance of her child.” LIE #4.

You cannot simply lie to every law enforcement officer that comes down the pike and consider it one big lie. It may have been one in Casey’s mind, but each lie to each officer is a separate offense.

On March 12, 2009, I addressed the fraud charges filed against Casey by her onetime friend, Amy Huizenga, on a post titled Double Jeopardy. Casey stole and cashed her checks while she was out of town. Thirteen third-degree felony charges were filed in all. She was convicted of six and Judge Stan Strickland withheld adjudication on seven.

This applies today because the defense tried to do the same thing then; to count the separate charges as one. They failed. On The Wisdom of Solomon, dated January 10, 2010 - three years ago! - I wrote:

Judge Strickland gave the defense an opportunity to challenge the charges. We can discuss the lack of brevity or the levity of the arguments, but let’s cut to the chase - it came down to the judge. First, it should be noted that Casey had no prior convictions and she did make full restitution and Baez did bring up “equal justice” for his client. He asked for one year of probation and credit for time served, rather than the five years of incarceration the State sought. In the end, His Honor sentenced the 23-year-old Casey to (jail) time served - 412 days - plus $5,517.75 in investigative costs and $348 for court. The amount may be discussed and negotiated at a later motion hearing because the defense found the investigative charge too high and not justifiable. He also adjudicated Casey guilty on six of the fraud counts and withheld adjudication on seven, plus he tacked on a year of supervised probation, which could be problematic and complex later on, given that she still faces a huge mountain of charges ahead. He said that he had given this a lot of thought prior to sentencing.

“There was not an even number of offenses, so I withheld in seven, I adjudicated in six. If that seems Solomon-like, it is.

On each and every count, Casey must submit a DNA sample because she is now a convicted felon. There it is, the words everyone has been waiting for…convicted felon. Time to move on to the next chapter, but first, Casey apologized to Amy Huizenga.

“I’m sorry for what I did. I’d like to sincerely apologize to Amy. I wish I would have been a better friend.”


That same standard for double jeopardy applies today, as surely as the day I wrote it in the 2009 article based on those fraud charges:

In essence, Casey’s defense team points out that under law, she should be charged for one crime by one count. The defense also claims that charging her with multiple counts for the same act prejudices her, therefore the counts should be dismissed.

According to the motion, “Miss Anthony is guaranteed double jeopardy protection by the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Sections 9 and 17 of the Florida Constitution for duplicative charges.” Let’s take a look at what the law says:

I will leave the indentation out for now, but the following paragraphs are from my 2009 article:

Amendment 5 – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment 8

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Florida Constitution – Article 1, Sections 9 and 17

SECTION 9. Due process.

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, or be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense, or be compelled in any criminal matter to be a witness against oneself.

SECTION 17. Excessive punishments.

Excessive fines, cruel and unusual punishment, attainder, forfeiture of estate, indefinite imprisonment, and unreasonable detention of witnesses are forbidden. The death penalty is an authorized punishment for capital crimes designated by the legislature. The prohibition against cruel or unusual punishment, and the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, shall be construed in conformity with decisions of the United States Supreme Court which interpret the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment provided in the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Any method of execution shall be allowed, unless prohibited by the United States Constitution. Methods of execution may be designated by the legislature, and a change in any method of execution may be applied retroactively. A sentence of death shall not be reduced on the basis that a method of execution is invalid. In any case in which an execution method is declared invalid, the death sentence shall remain in force until the sentence can be lawfully executed by any valid method. This section shall apply retroactively.

The double jeopardy rule of the Fifth Amendment is intended to limit abuse by the government in repeated prosecution for the same offense as a means of harassment or oppression. It is also in agreement with the common law concept ofres judicata which prevents courts from relitigating issues which have already been the subject of a final judgment. There are three essential protections included in the double jeopardy principle, which are:

being retried for the same crime after an acquittal
retrial after a conviction
being punished multiple times for the same offense

Does the defense motion to dismiss those extra charges, something it sees as ancillary in nature, hold any merit? In Solem v. Helm (1983) 463 U.S. 277, a split court found that a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a seventh nonviolent felony was unconstitutional. In Solem, a bare majority of the court held a court’s proportionality analysis under the Eighth Amendment should be guided by objective criteria, including the gravity of the offense and the harshness of the penalty; the sentences imposed on other criminals in the same jurisdiction; and the sentences imposed for commission of the same crime in other jurisdictions.

In Harmelin v. Michigan (1991) 501 U.S. 957, a life sentence without possibility of parole for possessing 672 grams of cocaine was upheld. The case produced five separate opinions. While seven justices supported a proportionality review under the Eighth Amendment, only four favored application of all three factors cited in Solem. As one court has concluded, disproportionality survives; Solem does not. (McGruder v. Puckett (5th Cir.’92) 954 F.2d 313, 316.) In Harmelin, Justice Scalia, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, determined Solem was wrongly decided and the Eighth Amendment contained no proportionality guarantee. Justice Kennedy, joined by Justices O’Connor and Souter, found the Eighth Amendment encompassed a narrow proportionality principle. In other words, the Eighth Amendment does not require strict proportionality between crime and sentence. Rather, it forbids only extreme sentences that are ‘grossly disproportionate’ to the crime. Moreover, in Solem v. Helm, the court focused on the nonviolent nature of both the defendant’s current offense of uttering a ‘no account’ check (one of the most passive felonies a person could commit) and his prior offenses. The majority acknowledged a life sentence for fourth-time heroin dealers and other violent criminals would pass constitutional muster.

While we ponder the legality of the double jeopardy clause in the appeal, allow me to look at the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing which killed 168 people and was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the 9/11 attacks. I don’t need to go into any detail of what transpired. This is purely about the charges, the trial, and the conviction.

On August 10, 1995, Timothy McVeigh was indicted on 11 federal counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, use of a weapon of mass destruction, destruction by explosives and 8 counts of first-degree murder. On June 2, 1997, McVeigh was found guilty on all 11 counts of the federal indictment. He was executed by lethal injection at 7:14 a.m. on June 11, 2001, at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Despite killing 168 people, McVeigh was only charged with 8 murders. Casey was convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to law enforcement personnel. The convictions should stand. Double jeopardy, in this case, would mean reducing her convictions from four to one. No dice, I say! Why? If Timothy McVeigh’s attorneys used the same logic and prevailed in a similar motion to dismiss the counts by reducing the eight murder charges to one, that means out of 168 deaths he was responsible for, he would have been tried for one single murder and the entire weight of those deaths would have been reduced from 8 to 1. Would he have been sentenced to death for one murder? If so, would it have been appealed? Yes, and it would have carried much less weight. With Casey, it’s the same thing in my book, although the charges are not similar. I am merely making an analogy.

Ultimately, double jeopardy should not be an appeal issue as far as I’m concerned. Casey was convicted, sentenced, and she did her time on all four counts. That cannot be taken away from her. In the end, it will hinge on whether she was in police custody when she was questioned. Was she free to go and was she Mirandized? Should she have been? By her own admission, she spoke freely. Should she have been Mirandized just because she decided to sing like a bird? Not until she was placed in custody, meaning under arrest or when her freedom was greatly deprived; enough to be equal to an arrest. Custody could be interpreted as being handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car. It could also include her interrogation — an attempt to elicit incriminating statements — but to what extent? Who said she was a suspect at the time?

I believe the appellate judges will rule against her. Those misdemeanor convictions will stand by a vote of 2-1. No matter what the outcome is, she’s still — and shall always remain — a convicted felon. Thank you, Amy Huizenga.

Supreme Commander of the Universe With Cape AND Tights AND Fancy Headgear
Supreme Commander of the Universe With Cape AND Tights AND Fancy Headgear

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