|The victim: Caylee Anthony|
Monday, March 28, 2011
As we get closer and closer to the trial of Casey Anthony for the murder of her toddler daughter Caylee, it is looking more likely that the end will be anticlimatic. Instead of terminating in one explosive scene after another on a tense courtroom stage, it appears as if it will end with an abrupt drop of the curtain as Casey whispers "guilty." A last minute plea bargain seems nearly inevitable.
I know a lot of people will disagree with me saying that Casey is too narcissistic to accept any level of responsibility for her actions, and her lead attorney Jose Baez is too arrogant and media-hungry to let this one go. Those arguments have merit. But many stubborn clients have succumbed when they truly accept the real possibility that the curtain call will be a lethal injection.
You see the signs of willingness to deal on both sides. Baez is acting reckless with the judge--burning bridges through neglect and frontal assault. He's missed the judge's deadlines even after being cited for the same offense. Then last week, he topped it all with a motion for a rehearing. He wrote that Judge Perry had inaccurate facts and was biased. He didn't ask the judge to recuse himself. He simply threw a gauntlet.
The defense did have a point--albeit a small one. The judge did incorrectly describe the room where Casey had her initial lengthy discussion with law enforcement but everyone understood his meaning. Did Baez and costar Cheney Mason really think the judge would give them a do-over by allowing a rehearing? If they did, they were wrong. He denied that request, like so many others.
The defense is also sounding desperate. Baez's voice even quavered during arguments about evidence last week. He's acting like a man who knows that if he can't get the evidence thrown out, he doesn't have a chance at trial. I'm surprised he hasn't filed a motion denying the existence of Caylee Anthony.
Before this week is out, they'll all be back in the courtroom where Baez and Mason will argue about the inclusion at trial of the stain in the car trunk, all references to the smell of the car and dismissal of any mentions of the heart sticker placed on the duct tape fastened over little Caylee's mouth.
Judge Perry may give him one or two wins in his mountains of motions but not enough to weaken the state's case appreciably. Baez is not the country's most brilliant legal mind but even he can understand how dire things look for his client.
On the other side of the aisle, the prosecutors are feeling the pressure of budgetary concerns and the ruling that there has been sufficient pre-trial publicity to warrant not selecting jurors from Orlando or Orange County. Rather than make a change of venue, Judge Perry decided to import a jury from elsewhere.
When Ninth Judicial Circuit Court spokesman Karen Levey estimated the cost of supporting that sequestered jury for eight weeks would be $360,000, an outcry arose. Lydia Gardner, the clerk of circuit courts in Orange County said that without more funding from the state senate, the court could not afford a trial for Casey Anthony. Florida, like just about every other state in the Union, is seeking to cut expenses, not to find places to dole out taxpayer dollars.
To me, it seems the stage is set for a plea bargain. And it could come at the very last moment. I sat in the courtroom on the first day of jury selection for the Richard McFarland trial and it happened right before my eyes. I found it hard to believe that an agreement was not reached before that moment in time.
Will the players in the Casey Anthony drama all gather on the stage before a packed courtroom audience and the eager cameras of In Session for a performance that will never begin? Or will the show go on?
May 9 is less than six weeks away.
Diane Fanning is the author of MOMMY'S LITTLE GIRL, the only published book about the tragic fate of little Caylee Anthony. When the Casey Anthony trial begins, you'll find daily updates of the case on Diane Fanning's blog, Writing is a Crime.Tweet