Monday, June 27, 2011

Does She or Doesn't She Want to Testify?

I, for one, think Casey Anthony wants to testify. But should she?

Casey is the decider, not her defense team. Many people believe that the decision for a client to testify is solely the lawyer's prerogative. Yet, legally, the decision rests with the client, taken under the lawyer's advisement. If the lawyer knows the client will lie willfully on the stand, however, the lawyer must in-camera inform the court and may have to withdraw. In a trial where many viewers might expect Casey Anthony to stand and confess, there are others who anticipate her remaining sullen and silent--as she has consistently been so far. The world is riveted by this case, wondering whether she will, or will not, testify, while legal commentators constantly debate the question, "Should she, or shouldn't she?"

The nearly uniform opinion of the legal analysts is that she should not testify. This is because they believe she is a chronic, habitual liar. It is also because this is a case for the defense to raise reasonable doubt; to call a particularly weak defendant just might upset the applecart. Calling Casey to the stand could do far more than that. Recall the epic cross-examination question in the film Witness For the Prosecution? "Were you lying then, or are you lying now, or are you just a contemptible, habitual liar?"

Or consider the Latin phrase, Falset in unum; Falset in omnibus. False in one. False in everything. In some jurisdictions, and in any event in jurors' minds, if a witness testifies falsely, all the testimony can be disregarded. And if this defendant testifies falsely--which she will be judged to have already done considering evidence of her contemptible history of lying--a death-penalty verdict could become a reality, where, at this time, it is only a distant possibility in her mind.

Many have correctly discussed the fact that the defense bears no burden of proof. True, indeed. Also, that there is no need for the defense to provide evidence about the drowning theory in the Casey Anthony case. False. Falset in unum. Once the defense asserts that certain evidence will be adduced in the trial, the court accedes implicitly that there is good-faith basis for the assertion.

Opening statements can be looked at as tables of content, coming attractions and road maps of what the evidence will show. They are not supposed to be flights of fantasy, conjecture or full of hopefulness with regard to the evidence. Many say Casey need not testify. Falset in omnibus. As a legal commentator, I believe Casey Anthony has to testify. There is no evidence of a drowning accident, nor of sexual abuse, nor will there be, unless Casey Anthony, herself, takes the stand. If she doesn't, the prosecution should ask that the defense's opening remarks be stricken. With that, the defense team could be tainted as well by the inference evoked by the web of lies, leaving it without its primary defenses of accident and abuse.

Does she or doesn't she want to testify? Should she or shouldn't she testify? Will she, or won't she testify? I believe that only Casey knows. But, as we all know, she has been wrong before.


Anonymous said...

The problem with Casey testifying is not the possibility of her lying but that it will give the prosecution the opportunity to grill her on the stand. An opportunity that they will jump at like sharks.

If Casey Anthony had been a sympathetic person the prosecution would be hesitant out of fear that the jury would see them as bullies but she is not. In fact, Casey is a really really bad PR person with absolutely zero ability to improvise and appear believable. A trained lawyer would make mince meat of her. She'd be crucified and probably talk herself right onto death row.

If I was her legal counsel I'd emplore her most strongly to NOT testify.

Anonymous said...

I think that she was evaluated for competency this weekend based on this issue and lesser others.

Anne Bremner

Patrick King said...

Casey should ask for a change of venue to Perugia, Italy. There she could testify to anything she wants and no cross examination would be permitted.

Anonymous said...

She has a proven track record as a liar. Her mother has perjured herself twice lately. It runs in the family and they seemed to be skilled at it. I think she instigated the competency hearing this last weekend and probably has a few more tricks up her sleeve. But I don't think taking the stand is one of them.

FRG said...

Thanks Mrs. Anne Bremner!

I would love to KC to take the stand! It would take at least 2 days to do the cross... It should be quite entertaining! I don't think she will take the stand though.

Anonymous said...

Actually, they aren't skilled at it, they just have greater stamina than everyone else and a need to win in the moment. The rest of the world quitting the Liars' Olympics by default does not make them skilled sprinters.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous - The world is not black and white but blossoms in all shades of gray. If you do not heed this fact in a court of law you can get in serious trouble... and in this case a wrong word from the mouth of Casey's mother could literally cause the death of her daughter. Imagine if it was you holding your child's life in the palm of your hand - wouldn't you say and do whatever it took to save her?

We have an "adversarial court system" where two sides each are supposed to say and do their best within the confines of the law to prove their side of the case. They are not working together to find justice nor is the court even supposed to be fair. But if both sides gives it all they got we'll end up with something close to the truth... mostly. So the the term "lie" is relative in a court room. Do not confuse a court with a church ;-)

Lulu said...

There really isnt evidence she plotted to murder her child as well. What she has shown is she has a HISTORY of being weird and not acting right, such as her graduation and her pregnancy, she does not react like a normal person. There are so many other mothers who should be followed as closely as Casey. Casey is weird, but she is not like that Baby Gabriel mother who probably threw her child away or the Shaniya Davis case. Where is the rage in that case? That mother got out on bail after giving her daughter to thugs for her debts and they raped and killed her, but the world is caught up with this weird case over a more than likely mentally weird girl?

Its like the media just needs her to be this murderer because Nancy Grace messed up again, see her coverage of the Haleigh Cummings case and who she supported.

Rhonda said...

If she is as good a liar as she is being made out to be, I would think the defense would want her to testify to raise more doubt in the jurors' minds. All the defense has done is try to establish doubt since there is no evidence to support their claims of drownings, abuse, etc.

A Voice of Sanity said...

There's no evidence to support claims of chloroform or duct tape either. It's all supposition and assumption.

I have wondered what would happen if she stood up at after the prosecution's final summation and told the judge she wanted to address the jury directly. If he refuses to allow this (which I'm sure he would) she'd still win points from the jury who would know they were being deprived of hearing from her.