Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Casey Anthony’s Attorney Goes After Volunteers Who Searched for Caylee

Hunt for Justice by Cynthia Hunt

The defense attorney for America’s most notorious jailed mother is targeting volunteers who searched for Caylee Anthony, and it has Tim Miller fuming mad.
Attorney Jose Baez (pictured left with Anthony) is trying to force Texas Equusearch to give him every single record the organization has—more than 20,000 documents. Equusearch searched for Caylee, but it was not them who located her body in the end. Tim Miller leads the well-known nonprofit search organization, and he’s ready for a fight.

“Jose Baez, as far as I'm concerned, is not going to get one single piece of paper from me. Not one piece of paper,”
Tim Miller told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Channel’s Monday Night broadcast.

“These volunteers have been very, very valuable in the past on searches. They're going to be very valuable in the future on searches for missing children. And will they come the next time, when they're afraid that their information is going to be given out? We have not one piece of paper that will be valuable to Jose Baez in any way, shape or form. So I will fight this to the very, very end,” Miller said.
(Picture Above Texas Equusearch had around 150 volunteers searching for Caylee September 1, 2008)

Tim Miller’s Story is One of Grieving Parent Turned Everyday Hero

If you don’t know
Tim Miller’s story, you should. In 1984, Miller’s 16-year-old daughter Laura was abducted. During the next year and a half, Miller says he tried to drink himself to death. He knew in his heart that his daughter was dead, but the fact police never found Laura’s body made every parent’s worst nightmare even darker.

A year and a half after her disappearance, some kids stumbled onto a foul odor in a remote Galveston County field about an hour outside of Houston. The bodies of four girls had been buried and Laura Miller was one of them. A serial killer had used the field as a place to dump his young victims.

Miller never forgave himself for not searching every square foot of Texas for Laura. This father’s pain led to Miller’s founding of Texas Equusearch 15 years later
(Miller left, at his daughter Laura's Grave).

As a reporter, I’ve watched Miller and his heroic army of volunteer searchers time and time again. They brave the worst weather and land conditions to exhaustively help families and police find missing people. They provide invaluable manpower and assistance that police just don’t have. Often Miller and his compassionate army will locate a body that in all likelihood would never have been found without them.

Miller’s single purpose for living is to provide this heroic service. You should see this compassionate man help families. He knows exactly how they feel. It’s been amazing for me to see the sacrifices he and his proficient and professional volunteers make. They take vacation time from work. They often use their own equipment and money to help. The leave their families and travel wherever needed. They suffer harsh weather conditions and the worst terrain just to serve families at their most desperate hour.
(Left,Texas Equusearch volunteers comb the woods looking for Caylee)

Tim Miller has spent his entire life’s savings to fund Texas Equusearch which evolved into a nonprofit. In the group’s first six years, they found more than 500 bodies. They have helped in countless high profile cases, but they are just as quick to respond to any family in need. Many times I have seen Miller’s people searching even when police are barely working the case. Miller is expanding and starting new branches across the United States because the tragic business of missing people is booming.

Should Anthony’s Attorney Get Documents about Volunteer Searchers?

When I first heard Anthony’s defense attorney wanted Miller’s records, I felt conflicted. The pro-information journalist in me reasoned that since the search was done in public, for the public good, perhaps the information of all volunteers involved should be available to anyone who wants it. Journalists believe in free information, and that public light sanitizes events and helps ensure justice.

There is what’s right legally, and there’s what’s right ethically.

The thought of an attorney, who is defending the ultimate monster mother for the murder of her precious daughter, combing Miller’s volunteer records to try to find anything that could cast a shadow of doubt on his searchers, makes me sick.

However, there are legitimate legal questions that need answering. We still don’t know how long Caylee's body was buried in the woods near the Anthony home. Could the body have been placed there while Casey was in jail? Knowing the facts that all of us know—that’s unlikely.

Some questioned how Miller’s volunteers could have missed the remains when they were searching, but Miller explains that the wooded area was under several feet of water until recently; a fact police records substantiate. Miller didn’t want to search an area covered in three feet of water because he was afraid their equipment would damage the toddler’s body and the evidence if she were there.

How do you think the court will rule? Will Miller have to turn over all of his records to Casey’s attorney? What do you think is right?

Can you imagine a technicality that would allow this mother to walk free? I know you are thinking that will never happen. Two letters come to mind-O.J.


Delilah said...

I have to take Tim Miller's side in this issue. If he is forced to give up the private information of the folks who selflessly volunteered to search, it will set a dangerous precedent for the future of all volunteer organizations. If people think there is a chance their privacy is going to be invaded, the numbers of volunteers will likely drop.

Texas Equusearch, Tim Miller, and scores of organizations like his, have worked long and hard over the years to establish credibility with the public and therefore have the ability to have a good turnout of the public when the call goes out.

I think there is overwhelming evidence available to Attorney Baez and the need for these records, in my opinion, is either a stall tactic or a goose hunt.

FleaStiff said...

The defense lawyers job is to create a paper blizzard that harasses everyone in sight even if the chance of finding something is virtually nonexistent. Its no different than causing a plaintiff in a civil suit distress by endless depositions and inquiries into side issues on medical records in injury cases.
The lawyers job is not to be a nice guy who is helpful to the search organization. The lawyers job is to get someone on the jury to believe Red Herring did it!

jigmeister said...

As an retired prosecutor, I can tell you that the State will have to provide any information that it has under Brady. Further, Tom will have to provide the records to the court, in all likelihood, so that the court can determine whether anything might be considered exculpatory of the defendant's guilt. However, he should petition the court to seal those records because of the privacy and future harm concerns. I think he might win that point.

Anonymous said...

If Equisearch has to give up it's information, does that mean that any detective/investigator or other private source will have to give up theirs??

It is too bad that defense attorneys aren't limited to protecting their clients constitutional rights. The way things are going it will be nothing short of a miracle if CA is convicted.

Patty Beeken said...

I feel so bad for Tim Miller this whole case has been conflict after conflict. First he was accused of doing this to promote his organization and make money now this. My thoughts and prayers are with him.
I am really trying to look at both sides of this. I know that the defense attorney's job is to "Make a blizzard of paperwork" however, this may have a terrible effect on on organizations who have volunteers that do this sort of work.
I have to wonder if our team of private investigators would decide to end their affiliation with us if this precedent is set. For myself I don't mind who sees my information but some of our volunteers do so with the idea that their information will remain private.

jigmeister said...


Not much that an old Texas lawyer can do for Tom. We need a good Florida lawyer to come forward and volunteer to help out. It's a good cause guys.

Shreela said...

If it wasn't Texas Equusearch that found Caylee's body, then why are Texas Equusearch's records being asked for?

Are all the records from the group that did find her body's records being asked for too?

Were there any other groups, or private investigators looking for her body? If so, are their records being asked for?

Since I'm not in the law business, it doesn't make sense to me why a group that didn't even find her body is being asked for their records, unless each and every group/individual's records are also being asked for.

andy kahan said...


Great post. As a Board Member of TES I discussed the chilling effects of disclosure as it pertains to volunteers.

What a shame Tim has to spend needless time and energy on what most would consider a 'red herring'.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Can't the court appoint a special master to review all documents? This request seems excessive esp. since so far I see no evidence of a homicide, just a misdemeanor.

Anon said...

That YOU see no evidence of a homicide is irrelevant. There obviously is or Casey wouldn't be charged.

Special masters and Guardian Ad Litems are only used in civil cases.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I agree with jigmeister that they'll be required to turn over the information.

What's more, I don't see anything unethical or wrong with it. If "volunteers" had found exculpatory instead of damning evidence, would you say they should be immune from scrutiny by the prosecution for hidden motives, etc.?

If private citizens of their own volition decide to engage in police work, they open up their actions to scrutiny, and rightly so, when information they generate is used by the prosecution.

cheryl said...

oh please...spare me your "letter of the law" synopsis in "THIS CASE". Of course if you abide by the letter, and not the spirit of the law, then you are a lost cause. In my opinion.

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