Jury Sees Through Orange County Florida Prosecutors Bullshit Case Against Casey Anthony

July 5, 2011

ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA – In a case that became a national sensation on TV, Casey Anthony was acquitted Tuesday of murdering her 2-year-old daughter in what prosecutors portrayed as a cold-blooded attempt to free herself to party and be with her boyfriend.

Officials said Casey is back in the Orange County jail and remains in protective custody.

“As to the charge, first-degree murder, we the jury find the defendant not guilty,” read the court clerk.

After a trial of a month and a half, the jury took less than 11 hours to find Casey not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. She was convicted of four counts of lying to investigators who were looking into the June 2008 disappearance of her daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony.

Tears welled in Casey’s eyes, her face reddened, her lips trembled, and she began breathing heavily as she listened to the verdict. Casey, 25, could have gotten the death penalty if she had been convicted of murder.

After the verdict was read, Casey hugged her attorney Jose Baez and later mouthed the words “thank you” to him. Prosecutor Jeff Ashton, meanwhile, shook his head in disbelief.

Casey’s parents, Cindy and George Anthony left the courtroom without speaking to her as the judge thanked the jury.

Juror number seven, one of the seven women on the panel, appeared to cry as she left court.

Once the jury left, Casey hugged her attorneys and squealed out loud. The lawyers high-fived one another, and minutes later Casey laughed as she was fingerprinted on the convictions for lying to detectives.

Many in the crowd of about 500 people outside the courthouse reacted with anger after the verdict was read, chanting, “Justice for Caylee!” One man yelled, “Baby killer!”

Given the relative speed with which the jury came back with a verdict, many court-watchers were expecting Casey to be convicted in the killing, and they were stunned by the outcome.

Sentencing was set for Thursday. Casey could get up to one year behind bars on each count of lying to investigators. But since she has been in jail for nearly three years already, she could walk free.

The case played out on national television almost from the moment Caylee was reported missing three years ago, and it became a macabre sensation as testimony turned to tape marks on the child’s face and the alleged smell of decayed flesh inside the trunk of Casey’s car.

After the verdict, Casey’s attorney, Jose Baez, took the criminal justice system and the media to task, saying the outcome should make people realize “you cannot convict someone until they’ve had their day in court.”

“We have the greatest constitution in the world, and if the media and other members of the public do not respect it, it will become meaningless,” he said.

State’s Attorney Lawson Lamar said: “We’re disappointed in the verdict today because we know the facts and we’ve put in absolutely every piece of evidence that existed.” The prosecutor lamented the lack of hard evidence, saying: “This is a dry-bones case. Very, very difficult to prove. The delay in recovering little Caylee’s remains worked to our considerable disadvantage.”

The jurors would not talk to the media.

Caylee’s disappearance went unreported by Casey for a month. The child’s decomposed body was eventually found in the woods near her grandparents’ home six months after she was last seen. A medical examiner was never able to establish how she died.

Prosecutors contended that Casey, a single mother living with her parents, suffocated Caylee with duct tape because she wanted to be free to hit the nightclubs and spend time with her boyfriend.

Defense attorneys argued that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool, and that Casey panicked and hid the body because of the traumatic effects of being sexually abused by her father.

The case became a macabre tourist attraction in Orlando. People camped outside for seats in the courtroom, and scuffles broke out among those desperate to watch the drama unfold.

Because the case got so much media attention in Orlando, jurors were brought in from the Tampa Bay area and sequestered for the entire trial, during which they listened to more than 33 days of testimony and looked at 400 pieces of evidence. Casey did not take the stand.

“While we’re happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case,” Baez said after the verdict. “Caylee has passed on far, far too soon and what my driving force has been for the last three years has been always to make sure that there has been justice for Caylee and Casey because Casey did not murder Caylee. It’s that simple. And today our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction.”

In closing arguments, prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick showed the jury two side-by-side images. One showed Casey smiling and partying in a nightclub during the first month Caylee was missing. The other was the tattoo Casey she got a day before law enforcement learned of the child’s disappearance: the Italian words for “beautiful life.”

“At the end of this case, all you have to ask yourself is whose life was better without Caylee?” Burdick asked. “This is your answer.”

Prosecutors also focused heavily on an odor in the trunk of Casey’s car, which forensics experts said was consistent with the smell of human decay.

But the defense argued that the air analysis could not be duplicated, that no one could prove a stain found in the trunk was caused by Caylee’s remains, and that maggots in the compartment had come from a bag of trash.

Prosecutors hammered away at the lies Casey told when the child was missing: She told her parents that she couldn’t produce Caylee because the girl was with a nanny named Zenaida Gonzalez, (Zanny) a woman who doesn’t exist; that she and her daughter were spending time with a rich boyfriend who doesn’t exist; and that Zanny had been hospitalized after an out-of-town traffic crash and that they were spending time with her.

Baez said during closing arguments that the prosecutors’ case was so weak they tried to portray Casey as “a lying, no-good slut” and that their forensic evidence was based on a “fantasy.” He said Caylee’s death was “an accident that snowballed out of control.”

He contended that the toddler drowned and that when Casey panicked, her father, a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a murder by putting duct tape on the girl’s mouth and dumping the body in the woods a quarter-mile away. Anthony’s father denied both the cover-up and abuse claims.

Among the trial spectators was 51-year-old Robin Wilkie, who said she has spent $3,000 on hotels and food since arriving June 10 from Lake Minnetonka, Minn. She tallied more than 100 hours standing in line to wait for tickets and got into the courtroom 15 times to see Casey.

“True crime has become a unique genre of entertainment,” Wilkie said. “Her stories are so extreme and fantastic, it’s hard to believe they’re true, but that’s what engrosses people. This case has sex, lies and videotapes — just like on reality TV.”

The Anthonys’ attorney Mark Lippman released a statement on behalf of the family on Tuesday reading:

“The family hopes that they will be given the time by the media to reflect on this verdict and decide the best way to move forward privately. While the family may never know what has happened to Caylee Marie Anthony, they now have closure for this chapter of their life. They will now begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.

Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the Jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented and the rules that were given to them by the Honorable Judge Perry to guide them.

The family hopes that they will be given the time by the media to reflect on this verdict and decide the best way to move forward privately.

The family also wanted the public to know that if anyone wanted to honor Caylee by leaving stuffed animals or other toys at any area near their home, that they would prefer those items be donated in Caylee’ s name to families in need, religious centers, or any other entity where the toys would be appreciated.”

Appeared Here

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Burning Taxpayer Dollars The Whole Way, Crazed Cheney Washington Prosecutor Julie McKay Took 99 Cent “Theft” Case To Jury Trial – Jury Took 5 Minutes To Return Not Guilty Verdict

April 27, 2011

CHENEY, WASHINGTON – Call it the great hot dog caper. Or maybe the greatly overblown hot dog caper would be more accurate.

One day last December, Eastern Washington University student John Richardson got himself a German sausage at the self-serve counter at Mitchell’s IGA in Cheney. He ate it as he shopped for peanut butter (crunchy), jelly, bread and other items. When he left, he forgot to pay for the 99-cent dog – though he did pay for more than $28 in groceries.

Store managers approached him once he left the store, refused his efforts to pay for it, and held him for the police to arrive when things got heated. Thirteen weeks later, Richardson was found not guilty by a baffled jury with a minimum of deliberation.

“From all the testimony, you’d have to be an idiot to not realize that the guy simply forgot,” said juror Patrick Reeves. “It took the jury about five minutes to come to a verdict.”

Five minutes would have been about the right time to devote to the case, start to finish. Instead, the taxpayers of Cheney paid for the full legal megillah: The officer who arrived, cuffed the protesting Richardson, and wrote a report in which he described the “stolen” property as a “bronze” German sausage; the prosecuting attorney, who said Richardson’s demeanor and a 12-year-old shoplifting charge on his record persuaded her to pursue the case; the public defender; the judge; the jury pool …

“To me it’s an outrage,” Richardson said. “I just think it was a frivolous thing.”

From the perspective of a store owner, a certain zeal about shoplifting is understandable. In the grocery business, margins are slim, and theft takes a big toll. In a family-owned business like Mitchell’s, the owners can take it even more personally. But it’s hard to understand why this zeal wasn’t tempered somewhere along the way.

Cheney Municipal Prosecutor Julie McKay said she simply doesn’t buy Richardson’s claim that he forgot to pay. She said that it isn’t unusual for someone to steal something while purchasing something else, that a lot of people accused of a crime deny it, and that the fact that Richardson was arguing with the store managers after they confronted him influenced her decision.

“Did I want to try that? Certainly not,” McKay said. “From my perspective, he took something without paying for it. … The jury didn’t feel he was guilty. I disagree with that.”

Everyone seems to agree that Richardson offered to pay for the hot dog when he was confronted by store employees outside the store. The one exception to this is the police report, in which a store manager is quoted saying Richardson refused to pay for the hot dog. According to Reeves, Richardson and public defender Don Richter, that was at odds with testimony at the trial from everyone, including store employees.

“When my client was confronted, he immediately said ‘I’m sorry, I’ll pay for it,’ ” Richter said.

To the store owners, the question of intent was beside the point. Someone who leaves without paying for something has stolen. If you let this slide, where do you draw the line? But that’s simply not the way the law works – a person must intend to steal something for it to be theft.

McKay said the reason this ended up before a jury is that Richardson refused to accept a deal. Here’s an example of a deal he was offered: In exchange for the charges being dropped, he’d pay restitution for the sausage, and pay the store owners a $200 civil penalty.

“So now the $1 hot dog was a $201 hot dog,” Richter said.

The case went to trial Feb. 25. Richardson said that he was committed to proving his innocence, and because he knew that the specter of a shoplifting conviction can hang over you – as his conviction as an 18-year-old had done. But he was adamant that he did not steal the hot dog. After he got it, he walked around the store and ate it in full view of everyone, planning to pay for it with his groceries at the cashier, he said. The managers were watching him closely, and he was aware of them watching – which would make him a pretty poor thief indeed, if it wasn’t an oversight. When he was confronted outside the store, he said the store employees taunted and insulted him, and refused to accept either his explanation or his money.

One of them said, “It’s too late now. We got you,” Richardson said. “It was very humiliating.”

Store officials declined to comment, but it’s clear from court records and interviews that they view this confrontation differently, and say that Richardson was uncooperative and instigated conflict rather than trying to resolve it.

I think it’s safe to say that nobody wanted the case to wind up before a jury, but nobody was willing to budge. Richardson wanted to be cleared, and the prosecutor wanted to send a message – or at least not send the wrong kind of message.

In the end, though, the jury wasn’t on board.

“If you really want to send a message,” Reeves said, “get a good case.”

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Man Who Was Protecting Himself From Bad New York City Police Officers Found NOT Guilty Of Bogus Murder And Attempted Murder Charges

December 18, 2008

NEW YORK, NEW YORK ― A man who claimed he feared for his life in a traffic stop that ended with the shooting death of a police officer and the wounding of another was acquitted Wednesday of aggravated murder and attempted murder.

After 10 hours of deliberations, Brooklyn jurors convicted Robert Ellis only on three counts of weapons possession. He now faces five to fifteen years in prison — far less than the life in prison without parole that he could have received for murder.

Two others were accused in the case but had yet to hear whether they would be convicted. Ellis, Dexter Bostic and Lee Woods were each tried before separate juries because the men made statements implicating each other.

Prosecutors had argued the three acted as a team to shoot the officers because they were caught with a stolen SUV and with illegal weapons in the vehicle. They said Bostic shot and killed Officer Russel Timoshenko while Ellis simultaneously shot now-Detective Herman Yan, and Woods was the driver.

But attorneys for Ellis and Woods each claimed their client was the driver and therefore could not have fired at the officers.

Timoshenko, 23, was hit twice in the face. Yan was shot in the chest as he approached the other side of the SUV. His bullet-resistant vest saved his life.

“I am stunned and disappointed by the verdict,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “My prayers are with the Timoshenko family as they contend with this ordeal.” Prosecutors said they could not comment while the other two cases are ongoing.

“We’re very grateful that the jury carefully reviewed the evidence in this case,” defense lawyer Danielle Eaddy said after the verdict was read. “We’ve said from the beginning that the forensic evidence in this case supported Mr. Ellis’ contention that he was a driver and not a shooter.”

The July 2007 killing after a routine Brooklyn traffic stop sparked a manhunt that spanned several states and didn’t end until two of the men were captured in the Pocono Mountains.

Ellis and Bostic, 34-year-old roommates, were driven to Pennsylvania and planned to hide in the woods and live off peanut butter and crackers, prosecutors said. They were captured after about four days in a patch of trees near Interstate 80. Woods, 29 at the time, did not go with them. Three guns were found in the SUV.

Ellis took the stand in his own defense, saying he was scared for his life because he lived near where Sean Bell was shot on his wedding day. Bell was unarmed when the 23-year-old died in a hail of 50 police bullets outside a seedy strip club. At a non-jury trial, a judge acquitted three of the shooters in that case of state charges that included manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment.

Ellis testified he worried he’d be shot by the officers if he said the wrong thing. His defense attorney Danielle Eaddy claimed Woods was the shooter and law enforcers bent on blaming her client refused to take evidence into account.

But prosecutors said Ellis wouldn’t have skipped town had he been the driver. Woods stayed at his girlfriend’s house after the shooting and was taken in for questioning before the other two were found.

Jurors watched surveillance tape from the shooting and heard Yan’s 911 call. Yan testified, showing his scars from surgery to the jury. Timoshenko’s mother also testified briefly in the case. Tatyana Timoshenko told jurors: “I had only just one son.”

The jury hearing Woods’ case was still deliberating Wednesday, while attorneys in the Bostic trial had yet to finish closing arguments. If convicted on all charges, both men could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Man Who Was Protecting Himself From Bad New York City Police Officers Found NOT Guilty Of Bogus Murder And Attempted Murder Charges

December 18, 2008

NEW YORK, NEW YORK ― A man who claimed he feared for his life in a traffic stop that ended with the shooting death of a police officer and the wounding of another was acquitted Wednesday of aggravated murder and attempted murder.

After 10 hours of deliberations, Brooklyn jurors convicted Robert Ellis only on three counts of weapons possession. He now faces five to fifteen years in prison — far less than the life in prison without parole that he could have received for murder.

Two others were accused in the case but had yet to hear whether they would be convicted. Ellis, Dexter Bostic and Lee Woods were each tried before separate juries because the men made statements implicating each other.

Prosecutors had argued the three acted as a team to shoot the officers because they were caught with a stolen SUV and with illegal weapons in the vehicle. They said Bostic shot and killed Officer Russel Timoshenko while Ellis simultaneously shot now-Detective Herman Yan, and Woods was the driver.

But attorneys for Ellis and Woods each claimed their client was the driver and therefore could not have fired at the officers.

Timoshenko, 23, was hit twice in the face. Yan was shot in the chest as he approached the other side of the SUV. His bullet-resistant vest saved his life.

“I am stunned and disappointed by the verdict,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “My prayers are with the Timoshenko family as they contend with this ordeal.” Prosecutors said they could not comment while the other two cases are ongoing.

“We’re very grateful that the jury carefully reviewed the evidence in this case,” defense lawyer Danielle Eaddy said after the verdict was read. “We’ve said from the beginning that the forensic evidence in this case supported Mr. Ellis’ contention that he was a driver and not a shooter.”

The July 2007 killing after a routine Brooklyn traffic stop sparked a manhunt that spanned several states and didn’t end until two of the men were captured in the Pocono Mountains.

Ellis and Bostic, 34-year-old roommates, were driven to Pennsylvania and planned to hide in the woods and live off peanut butter and crackers, prosecutors said. They were captured after about four days in a patch of trees near Interstate 80. Woods, 29 at the time, did not go with them. Three guns were found in the SUV.

Ellis took the stand in his own defense, saying he was scared for his life because he lived near where Sean Bell was shot on his wedding day. Bell was unarmed when the 23-year-old died in a hail of 50 police bullets outside a seedy strip club. At a non-jury trial, a judge acquitted three of the shooters in that case of state charges that included manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment.

Ellis testified he worried he’d be shot by the officers if he said the wrong thing. His defense attorney Danielle Eaddy claimed Woods was the shooter and law enforcers bent on blaming her client refused to take evidence into account.

But prosecutors said Ellis wouldn’t have skipped town had he been the driver. Woods stayed at his girlfriend’s house after the shooting and was taken in for questioning before the other two were found.

Jurors watched surveillance tape from the shooting and heard Yan’s 911 call. Yan testified, showing his scars from surgery to the jury. Timoshenko’s mother also testified briefly in the case. Tatyana Timoshenko told jurors: “I had only just one son.”

The jury hearing Woods’ case was still deliberating Wednesday, while attorneys in the Bostic trial had yet to finish closing arguments. If convicted on all charges, both men could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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