Tag Archives: Casey Anthony

Not the Nancy Grace Show — Bad Attorney

Nancy Grace, Objection, Casey Anthony, Bad LawyerI want to be very clear about this:  This blog does not follow the same rules as the Nancy Grace show.  Opinions are welcome.  (Informed opinions slightly more so, but uninformed opinions can give me inspiration to write more, so ok.)  Telling someone you disagree with them in a strong way: entertaining.

Accusations of crimes, okay IF THEY ARE GUILTY.  If they have a strong likelihood of guilt, its okay as long as its easy to understand that you are not saying they have been found guilty.

If you are saying someone has a criminal record, or someone is on a “troll watch list”, put the link to the credible evidence to your accusation.  I have no idea which “troll watch list” you are talking about.  So link to it.  You know about it, it’s been bothering you for years, then you probably have it bookmarked.

IF YOU ACCUSE someone of slander 1. Understand what that means, because I think it’s hard to commit on a blog site, and 2. say what the slander was, because I don’t see it.

This is not Nancy Grace.  I will not have unfounded accusations floating around my site.  Unless I make them.

What Casey Anthony must do next — Why Mark Geragos is an idiot

Mark Geragos is completely wrong in his assessment of what Casey Anthony needs to do next.  But what is more interesting than how he is wrong, is why he is wrong.  Let’s discuss both.

Mark Geragos isn’t famous for representing the worst of the worst, he’s famous for representing the most famous of the most famous.  Wynona Ryder, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown.  These are the people who he is famous for representing.  Probably the most ordinary of his clients is Scott Peterson, who was found guilty in a similar sort of circumstantial evidence case.

Of those cases above, the only one that was a victory was Michael Jackson, but MJ replaced Geragos as his attorney well before trial.  Geragos didn’t follow the same etiquette Johnnie Cochran followed with Michael Jackson:  Notoriously when OJ Simpson called up Johnnie Cochran, Cochran said, “I’d love to take the case, but you have to understand, Michael always comes first.”  He then called Michael Jackson and then cleared the representation with him.

The thing about Mark Geragos’ clients, is they’re getting phone calls from Barbara Walters anyway.  Chris Brown is going to be on Good Morning America for every album anyway.  Wynona Ryder is going to be profiled on E! for a cameo on Star Trek anyway.

Casey Anthony is going to be vilified forever.

A criminal defendant, like any human being, has two choices for any situation: talk about it, or don’t.  Even saying “no comment” is on comment on something.  The media and the “Nancy Grace machine” have created Casey Anthony into, for lack of a better word, a celebrity.  In the same sense as Heidi Montag or Nicole Ritchie or Kim Kardashian, Casey Anthony has now become a household word.  The question is, what her reputation will be.

Kim Kardashian made a sex tape.  Remember that?  That’s why she’s famous. No question.  Now she’s parlayed that into a minimum of three (four?) TV shows for her extended family, a line of perfume, make-up, clothes, clothes stores, basically everything. She’s given careers to about 11 family members.  She’s on Trapper-Keepers.  I blame Ray J.  Why? Not because she commented on her sex tape, but because she took control of her destiny.  Rather than allow that to be the only thing important about her, she decided to give people who wanted to report on her hundreds of other things to report.

Mark Geragos suggests that Casey Anthony allow the news to recycle the same stock footage they have of her.  Suggests that she allow other people to write her story.

I suggest to her this: Get out in front of it.  But choose your spot.  He’s right as far as: it’s not the time to sign a book deal and do a pictorial in a magazine.  But after a week or more of solid preparation, or staying indoors and ordering delivery, she needs to sit down with Barabara Walters.

Barbara, my lawyers told me I couldn’t tell anyone what happened.  I was locked in there for three years. Three years! Everyone said horrible things about me. And all I did was miss Caylee everyday.  All I wanted to do was scream “I didn’t do it!”

I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there. I don’t want to blame my mom, I don’t want to blame my dad. I love them more than anything.

The problem is Barbara, I know what being falsely accused is like, so I can’t say anything that would sound like I blamed someone else.  I’ll say this: I don’t know anyone who would want to hurt Caylee. She was a joy, my joy.

Of course I drank and partied, my daughter died!!! I would wake up in the morning with this emptiness in my life.  I got a tattoo to remember her. Drinking is the only thing that took that pain away.

Barbara, 28,000 other babies died in 2008 in America alone. I’m the only one on TV for murder.

I don’t know how the body got there, I don’t know anything about my father’s duct tape. I don’t know about this car smell.  I know I miss my daughter, and I know no one wanted her hurt.  And I know I prayed everyday that I would see her walk in the door and scream “mommy”.

One interview, get out in front of the story, and then go underground.  But as of now, that picture of her grinning through the verdict is the last shot anyone has of her.  Forget that, That’s not allowed. Take your own destiny.  Tell your story to whoever will listen to it, without compromising it’s integrity by doing something negative with it.

And figure out what charity you need to team up with in six months.  My suggestion is Mandatory Pool Cover lobbyists.  Less rehabilitative but more interesting is the Innocence Project, Richard Jewell‘s (remember him?) wrongly accused charities, or maybe creating greater ethical rules for purported “journalists” and/or “pundits” who have been accusing her of murder for three years.  Richard Jewell won settlements in some of his cases.  Casey Anthony needs to follow that road.

But before she gets the money, she needs to serve a “punishment”.  This kind of public “mea culpa” followed by community service bringing knowledge to parents about home dangers is exactly what they need to get her started.  It’s not enough to atone for killing your daughter.  But it’s more rehabilitative than hiding, publishing a sequel to the book “If I Did It“, and then suing people who did you wrong.  And then coming out and saying I told you so.

Mark, I’m sure you’re not an idiot.  And I’m sorry for my harsh words, but this one suggestion is idiotic.  Bob Shapiro would never agree.

Casey Anthony Trial Attorney thoughts — Get mad

Now that the last post is out of my system, let me talk seriously about this case.  And if you are deeply invested in Casey Anthony’s guilt, then know my heart goes out to the whole family in this and Casey will have to live with whatever she did for the rest of her life.  She will never be afforded a normal life, and will be marked as “guilty” no matter what the jury says.

Also, like the movie Final Destination, Justice comes back to get its own: see OJ Simpson.

And please don’t read the rest of this post.


(embedding is disabled but it’s an interesting take, minus the lack of modesty in victory.)

Casey Anthony is not who you should be mad at.

Jose Baez is not who you should be mad at.

You should be mad at the talking heads who are right now congratulating themselves for knowing better than the jury.  The same people who told us she would be found guilty, now tell us she should have been found guilty and anyone else is wrong.  The same people who said  Jose Baez is a horrible attorney and will lose the case, are now saying Jose Baez is a horrible attorney and won by accident.

Jose Baez didn’t make them predict the entire case wrongly last Friday.  This was as much of a “dry bones” case before the verdict was read.  So who is the person who knows less about the legal system now?

So Is Jose Baez as bad an attorney as they say?  Is he the next Johnnie Cochran?

Slow down.  These are two of the questions I’ve received since this case started and the answer is, slow down.  Baez gets his moment of the sun.  No matter how horrible is, he won. And to the victor go the spoils.  He gets to celebrate.  He gets to charge more for his next few cases.  That’s the rule.  But you’re only as good as your last case.

This week, he’s the best in the world.  And he has the perfect rebuttal to anyone who criticizes him.  ”You  go win that case.”

Baez reportedly acts like he doesn’t know basic courtroom rules.    Acting amateur is an old, useful scheme many people use.  One of my most recent cases I purposely misspoke a rule of law during Voir Dire.   I knew the judge would catch it, correct me in front of the jury, and that the rule would mean more coming from him.  This is the one rule I planned to argue in closing.  And I did.  And I told the jury “You remember at the beginning, I said _______, the judge interupted, he said ‘No, __opposite___’, and I said ‘Really?’ and he said ‘yes __opposite__ is the rule.’  It was that important. The judge corrected me and told you TWICE what the rule is.  Now, FOLLOW IT.”  My client walked out the front door because the jury followed the law.

I would also point out Baez completely ignored the chloroform evidence in his closing.  I would have done that too. I think that’s a smart decision even though I think many people would demand he address it.  I can’t be mad at that.

More people to be mad at:

You should be mad at the attention in the case.  Publicity comes with good attorneys who come with investigators who come with jury consultants who come with medical examiners.  All wanting to get one sound bite on camera to make a career.

Be mad at the Medical Examiner for making an absolute rookie mistake and being a completely unbelievable witness.  By testifying to something that was so clearly untrue (that she was able to determine it was a murder) she undermined the whole prosecution’s case.  If you don’t know how someone died, you can’t say it was a murder. Period.

Be mad at whoever suggested “Beautiful life” is somehow a tribute to Casey’s life after Caylee died.  It just doesn’t ring true and jeopardizes every other argument.  Getting a tattoo as a tribute to your dead daughter’s lost “beautiful life” sounds way more realistic.

Be mad at the American system.  We let some of the guilty go free in order to assure the innocent go free.  We insure the rights of the guiltiest among us so that the innocent among us get that same assurance of procedural fairness.  Decide what number of innocent people are allowed to be in jail, or put to death, in exchange for what number of guilty people are allowed to go free. The traditional standard is 10 guilty must go free to save one innocent person.

Now decide when that innocent person is your brother, your mother, your wife?

Be mad at whoever sold you that a jury trial is about “Justice for Caylee”  If you feel “Justice for Caylee” is more important than assurance of fairness for the defendant, I’m afraid we can’t be friends.  Not because i’m against justice for the victim.  (The first client I signed since going private was actually a victim’s rights client.)  But because you’re a horrible person if you believe convicting someone, anyone is somehow justice if that person isn’t proven guilty under the rules you’ve agreed to in advance.

Be mad at anyone who gave this case coverage.  The largest jury panel I ever had was in excess of 150 people.  The first question the judge asked was “Who has heard of this case”  Over half the room raised their hands.  So everyone who has read the paper, reads the news on the internet, watches television news or updates, or listens to morning radio, all these people were instantly dismissed! Understand, in a high publicity case, anyone swayed by the publicity must be dismissed.  It is an entirely different jury pool if you disqualify anyone passingly interested in daily, local news.

If this case was not championed by the lawyer TV circuit, it would have been a much different case.

The final takeaway for this is simple: What makes a good episode of Nancy Grace, doesn’t make a good murder case.  For some reason prosecutors seem to buckle under media pressure when Defense attorneys thrive on it (see: Marcia Clark/Christopher Darden).  Every time I’ve seen an attorney act as if his case was a slam dunk, he’s lost.  Run every race like you’re ten feet behind.

It’s a tragedy what happened to Caylee.  But that doesn’t mean we should compromise our underlying principles to convict her mother.  One tragedy isn’t fixed by inflicting another. Compromising traditional, long-standing values is always a tragedy.  An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

Insure the process and perfect the means. As soon as the ends are more important that the means, the whole system is lost.

No matter what the system is we’re talking about.

Casey Anthony — An Argument

Common apocryphal advice for artists is “If you want to be a artist, just do art!”  Painters often see things in nature, in other pieces of art, that they just need to sketch out on a page.  First they draw it from one angle, then they draw it from another.  They draw pieces of it, just to get the weight or the color, and they’ll draw the item as a blank, and then just draw the shadow, or reflection, so they have that right.

When it comes time to make they masterpiece, they know the subject so intimately that the two dimensions become real.

I can’t pretend I know a lot about the Casey Anthony case.  I know it has really struck a chord with some people.  And I think I’ll post another post specifically about the case, but I yesterday afternoon I did a sketch.  I had an idea, about any case in general, and it applied well to the Casey Anthony case, so I just wanted to try it.  So, like an artist, I did a sketch.

From time to time I have an idea running through my head.  Generally the only way to get it out is to write it down.  Longhand is best, but I wrote this one on the computer so we could share.  Based on a single phrase, I did a sketch of a potential argument for Casey Anthony.  Just to see where it would go.  I’m not saying it’s better than what was given, and most of it I would never deliver to a jury.

But if, by writing sketches, I can get one line, or one phrase, or one chorus that rings true, I can echo that in every relevant case ever until the end of time.  And I know this is a day late, but here is yesterday’s sketch of a potential Casey Anthony Closing.

(With all due respect to everyone. If you’re very invested in the Casey Anthony case, I can’t suggest you read the post.  My heart goes out to the family and all involved. But this is purely an academic exercise.)


That’s what you need to yell to the prosecution. You heard the judge tell you the most basic law in the beginning:  The complaint is not evidence.  And the Complaint in this case is that Casey Anthony is accused of purposely killing Caylee Anthony.  But what EVIDENCE have you heard? The only only evidence is reiteration of that same complaint over, and over again, with NO facts added.

How did she die? We don’t know.

Why did she die? We don’t know.

Where did she die? We don’t know!


They have nothing to show you.  Because they have only accusations to tell you.

Let me tell you the single most insulting fact they’ve given you through this whole case: the medical examiner.

She can’t tell you how she died.  She can’t tell you who, what, when, where she died. But she can tell you ONE thing: It’s a murder!!!

Caylee deserves better than that.

Pardon this example, but let’s make it simple.  Just because a car doesn’t run doesn’t mean it broke down.  Maybe there was an accident.  Maybe the battery was stolen.  Maybe she never turned the key?!?

But it’s the Prosecutor’s job to DISprove that. Not our job to prove ANYTHING.  You can disbelieve every. single. word. anyone. said on the stand. And then what? There’s Still no evidence of a crime!

So you have to yell to that table right there: SHOW ME THE MONEY!

But first, let us show you the money. Try this:  Standing behind me surrounding this courtroom are a collection of cameras from around the world.  You heard evidence of the manhunt for young Caylee’s body. You saw video of it! Arranged, not by the prosecutor’s office, but by the so-called news agencies.  And think about the prosecutor’s office, or the police department.  Imagine the massive criticisms in the news they would be subject to if no one was charged in this case.

The police chief wouldn’t have a job.  The Prosecutor wouldn’t be re-elected.  It’s over.  Our heart goes out to them in their positions, but that’s not a reason to break the law and decide this case unfairly. We have a phrase for people with their job on the line due to the outcome of a court case: It’s called “Motive to lie.”

Look at the money dripping from this investigation, and they couldn’t find one shred of evidence?

Look, our hearts go out to young Caylee.  No one is more torn up about the loss of her “beautiful life” than Casey.  If only you could have heard it. They come of here, they call her bad names, they slander her actions. Actions that, no matter how much you despise,  may be evidence of bad judgment. They’re not evidence of murder.

And it’s okay if you dislike her.  She did dislikable things!  But she’s not accused of being a bad mom.  She’s not accused of mourning wrong and she’s not accused of getting a tattoo to remember a daughter whose “beautiful life” was taken much, much too early to return to be with God.  Actually, I take that back, that IS what she’s accused of.  That’s ALL she’s accused of.  Every single one of these points added together and multiplied by a thousand doesn’t equal murder.  None of this evidence does.

They think they “had you at Hello”.   But we all know they need to do more than that.  We know that from the law the judge read.

WE live in an amazing country.  A country that guarantees that we are innocent unless or until we are proven guilty.  It’s not enough to repeat accusations, say them again, and then repeat them a different way.  It’s not okay to think that’s allowed.  Pointed facts, not pointed fingers should create convictions. At least according to the law.

But recently it seems, we’ve decided to move away from our constitution.  To allow ourselves to be ruled, not by the Rule of Law, but by talking heads competing for ratings not facts.  Move towards people who think proof is who yells the loudest over who speaks the truest.

Who think  speaking with conviction replaces proving elements to earn convictions.

Well, on this Independence Day weekend, I’m going back.  I’m going back to the time when facts were important, when convictions had to be earned, not yelled.  I’m going back to the America that is upheld in the laws that the judge read to you earlier today.  Remember when the judge said you can ONLY find her guilty if you can determine the facts meet the elements. Here, you cannot determine the facts meet the elements, because you don’t KNOW the facts.  No one ever told you. And how could you:  the police and the prosecutors don’t even know the facts! (or they would have told you).

A poor innocent, beautiful, amazing girl is no longer with us.  Her mom didn’t know how to react, and did everything exactly wrong.  That doesn’t make a murder.  That doesn’t make her a murderer. That makes a tragedy on multiple, multiple levels.  And we can mourn Caylee, and we can keep her in our memory, and we will, without breaking the law by denying her mother a fair trial.

Well, I’m going to sit down now, and then it’s up to you.  I’m going back to the rules and the law you hold in your hand that the judge read us this morning and the country and the the constitution I swore to stand up for when I decided to go to Law School.

Who’s coming with me?

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Hawaii Criminal Defense: The Legal Blog

Issues in Hawaii Law.

Below is a collection of Articles I've written about Hawaii law.  Most are about criminal defense, Honolulu trial work, or future legal trends. Courtroom experience is probably the most common.  Others are comments on local or national law.  Hopefully there is something for you to find and enjoy.  If nothing else, you'll see the way I feel about certain issues, and the thought processes I put into legal problems we solve.

And some stories are just too funny NOT to tell.......

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