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Thread: Legal Questions for Our VERIFIED Lawyers #2

  1. #1301
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    Quote Originally Posted by elfie View Post
    I'm curious, what is the standard for a conviction of 1st degree murder if not: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?

    Thanks AZ & all for all of your help on this case, it is always the go to thread!
    The standard for a conviction of anything is beyond a reasonable doubt.

    "It would seem to me that June 16, 2008 was the last time that the victim was viewed by her grandparents. It became quite evident that from the OS of the Defense that the 16th was a date of great importance and that a so called time line of activities dealing with CA, LA, GA and ICA on the 16th and what, if any, activities took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June on 24 hour cycles would have been, at least, of a minimal requirement of review. I take it at some point you had a computer expert look at that data?" HHJP, 6/21/11
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...139910&page=94


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    Thank you AZlawyer for all you teach us! There are times when the legal jumbo is so beyond my reach...but you are always there to help us understand. I for one have learned so much from you!
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    I found this definition of 'beyond a reasonable doubt'.

    The standard that must be met by the prosecution's evidence in a criminal prosecution: that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

    If the jurors or judge have no doubt as to the defendant's guilt, or if their only doubts are unreasonable doubts, then the prosecutor has proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the defendant should be pronounced guilty.



    What part does motive play in this decision? I know the SA does not have to prove motive, but does it sway the jury a great deal if one is offered?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paintr View Post
    I found this definition of 'beyond a reasonable doubt'.

    The standard that must be met by the prosecution's evidence in a criminal prosecution: that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

    If the jurors or judge have no doubt as to the defendant's guilt, or if their only doubts are unreasonable doubts, then the prosecutor has proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the defendant should be pronounced guilty.



    What part does motive play in this decision? I know the SA does not have to prove motive, but does it sway the jury a great deal if one is offered?
    The SA does not have to prove motive, but most normal people (i.e., jurors) have a tough time believing someone is guilty of murder on circumstantial evidence if they can't figure out a motive.

    "It would seem to me that June 16, 2008 was the last time that the victim was viewed by her grandparents. It became quite evident that from the OS of the Defense that the 16th was a date of great importance and that a so called time line of activities dealing with CA, LA, GA and ICA on the 16th and what, if any, activities took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June on 24 hour cycles would have been, at least, of a minimal requirement of review. I take it at some point you had a computer expert look at that data?" HHJP, 6/21/11
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...139910&page=94


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    There is such relief in knowing that the one who is reponding to legal questions is a verified legal expert. Thank you and your peers for contributions to this important thread. It's the first place that many of us visit because we can rely on your bona fides. Thank you!


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    Another grand jury question

    Can HHJP take into account any knowledge he gained during the grand jury proceedings when making rulings regarding testimony or evidence, particularly during the actual trial? TIA.

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  9. #1307
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdoraBlue View Post
    Can HHJP take into account any knowledge he gained during the grand jury proceedings when making rulings regarding testimony or evidence, particularly during the actual trial? TIA.
    No. He has to clear his mind.

    "It would seem to me that June 16, 2008 was the last time that the victim was viewed by her grandparents. It became quite evident that from the OS of the Defense that the 16th was a date of great importance and that a so called time line of activities dealing with CA, LA, GA and ICA on the 16th and what, if any, activities took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June on 24 hour cycles would have been, at least, of a minimal requirement of review. I take it at some point you had a computer expert look at that data?" HHJP, 6/21/11
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...139910&page=94


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    The Florida Supreme Court just threw out evidence in a drug case citing a lack of state standards for drug-sniffing dogs. Their ruling just seems crazy to me. Could this decision affect the ICA case?

    If for some reason a piece of evidence gets thrown out in ICA case by a controversial ruling by the Supreme Court, would that automatically vacate her guilty verdict and/or sentence?

    http://www.wftv.com/news/27626622/detail.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by watcher9 View Post
    The Florida Supreme Court just threw out evidence in a drug case citing a lack of state standards for drug-sniffing dogs. Their ruling just seems crazy to me. Could this decision affect the ICA case?

    If for some reason a piece of evidence gets thrown out in ICA case by a controversial ruling by the Supreme Court, would that automatically vacate her guilty verdict and/or sentence?

    http://www.wftv.com/news/27626622/detail.html
    The ruling was not crazy; the media coverage is just misleading (raise your hand if you're surprised ). The ruling said that it was not enough to just present a CERTIFICATE that a dog was trained to sniff drugs--the prosecutors needed to present training records for the dog, training records for the handler, etc. Seems reasonable--and it's what the prosecutors did in this case.

    ETA: To answer your other question, if HHJP allows in an item of evidence, and then the Fla. Supreme Court rules that this was an error (either in the KC case or in another case with similar evidentiary issues), this would not "automatically" vacate her conviction. There would be a follow-up analysis by the Fla. Supreme Court regarding whether the error was "fundamental," whether it was likely to have affected the jury's decision, etc.

    "It would seem to me that June 16, 2008 was the last time that the victim was viewed by her grandparents. It became quite evident that from the OS of the Defense that the 16th was a date of great importance and that a so called time line of activities dealing with CA, LA, GA and ICA on the 16th and what, if any, activities took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June on 24 hour cycles would have been, at least, of a minimal requirement of review. I take it at some point you had a computer expert look at that data?" HHJP, 6/21/11
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...139910&page=94


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    A question on another thread got me thinking....Curious about what it will take for the SA to "lay the foundation" to get the stain evidence admitted. I know something like the hair with the death band or probably the K-9 alerts would do it, but would something as simple as CA's excited utterance "It smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car!" be enough?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 'Beach View Post
    A question on another thread got me thinking....Curious about what it will take for the SA to "lay the foundation" to get the stain evidence admitted. I know something like the hair with the death band or probably the K-9 alerts would do it, but would something as simple as CA's excited utterance "It smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car!" be enough?
    I think what HHJP was thinking of is something more like showing that the chemical makeup of the stain is consistent with a dead body.

    "It would seem to me that June 16, 2008 was the last time that the victim was viewed by her grandparents. It became quite evident that from the OS of the Defense that the 16th was a date of great importance and that a so called time line of activities dealing with CA, LA, GA and ICA on the 16th and what, if any, activities took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June on 24 hour cycles would have been, at least, of a minimal requirement of review. I take it at some point you had a computer expert look at that data?" HHJP, 6/21/11
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...139910&page=94


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    Quote Originally Posted by AZlawyer View Post
    I think what HHJP was thinking of is something more like showing that the chemical makeup of the stain is consistent with a dead body.
    So if that is correct, a lot will depend upon the admission or denial of Dr. Vass's testimony. If that is denied then it will be much harder to lay a foundation for the stain evidence. Correct?
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  18. #1313
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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    So if that is correct, a lot will depend upon the admission or denial of Dr. Vass's testimony. If that is denied then it will be much harder to lay a foundation for the stain evidence. Correct?
    The defense team asked to exclude Dr. Vass's "odor analysis" testimony and the chloroform evidence, but I don't believe they objected to the analysis of the fatty acids in the carpeting.

    "It would seem to me that June 16, 2008 was the last time that the victim was viewed by her grandparents. It became quite evident that from the OS of the Defense that the 16th was a date of great importance and that a so called time line of activities dealing with CA, LA, GA and ICA on the 16th and what, if any, activities took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June on 24 hour cycles would have been, at least, of a minimal requirement of review. I take it at some point you had a computer expert look at that data?" HHJP, 6/21/11
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...139910&page=94


  19. #1314
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'Beach View Post
    A question on another thread got me thinking....Curious about what it will take for the SA to "lay the foundation" to get the stain evidence admitted. I know something like the hair with the death band or probably the K-9 alerts would do it, but would something as simple as CA's excited utterance "It smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car!" be enough?
    Quote Originally Posted by AZlawyer View Post
    I think what HHJP was thinking of is something more like showing that the chemical makeup of the stain is consistent with a dead body.
    I respectfully disagree, in part because the SHAPE of the stain has probative value - not just what it was made of. Kind of like the shadows of the vaporized Hiroshima victims.

    Plus, I recall one of the talking head experts explaining how the most likely source of the stain was micro-organisms nourished by condensation running down the side of the plastic trash bag onto the carpet, after the car had become a grisly solar still evaporating moisture during the hot Florida summer days then cooling off at night. Neither the micro-organisms nor the condensation itself would likely match the chemical makeup of a decomposing body. Nonetheless, the stain in the size and shape of Caylee's body curled up in a fetal position in Casey's trunk would have probative value.

    I think the foundation that HHJP is looking for is the basic authentication / chain of custody i.e. the witnesses who observed the stained carpet in Casey's car trunk, removed the stained carpet, examined the carpet under the various lights/filters, took the photographs, etc. The usual dog-and-pony-show to establish that THESE photos accurately depict THIS carpet from THIS car trunk which is in the SAME CONDITION and so on.

    Katprint
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    Edited to add: Decomp fluids could also have contributed to the stain. My point was that regardless what caused the stain, its appearance ought to be admissible.


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    ..my question may have already been answered ( and i'm too dense to get it ) -----if so, please disregard...

    ..judgeP's order (denying the stain..) read:

    "Defendant however, did not present any factual evidence at the hearing in support of the grounds alleged in the Motion and therefore failed to meet her burden of proof.

    Consequently any evidence relating to the stain in the trunk of the automobile may be admissible upon proper presentation and foundation of the evidence".

    ..in the state's response to the 'stain motion' they said-----

    "(No blood, no DNA), but-----the stain was examined instrumentally by the Oakridge Lab which detected the presense of volatile fatty acids, consistant with the byproducts of decomposition. Witnesses will be able to testify as to the size and shape of the stain, and the jury will be able to view photographs of the stain taken with alternative light sources."

    my Question--------does this mean that the Oakridge Lab detection of fatty acids, the FBI witness testimony as to size/shape, and pics ARE IN as well ?

    ( the original defense motion to exclude stain, doesn't mention the 'fatty acids, etc..)

    http://www.wftv.com/pdf/26331535/detail.html

    ..they refer to the stain as imaginary, ramble about the image of the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast, wonder ( on 12-30-2010 ) why judge S ever let it in, in the 1st place--and then go on to complain about the amount of bond that judge S set (from july 2008.)

    ..and cite 90.401, 402, and 403....signed, j.baez.
    my opinion...........and i happen to agree with it.....

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    I just read Amy Huizenga's deposition for the defense and reviewed her original statement to LE. In both recountings, she is clear on the conversation she had with Cindy Anthony in the car (45 min. ride) and the events surrounding Cindy's confrontation with Casey at Tony's apartment and in the car on the way home.

    I'm aware that she can testify to the general mood, but will she be able to go into all the interesting and incriminatory things Cindy and Casey said to each other? Can she testify to what Cindy said to her?

    I'm thinking of hearsay and have to wonder under what exception(s) this testimony would qualify.

    So far, all I can come up with is "not for the truth of the matter, but for state of mind."
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    If the defense is trying to get some sort of abuse angle onto the record in the guilt/innocence phase, they can not use hearsay or so I understand. Can the defense get around the hearsay issue by having someone, Like Tony L., read from his deposition? Can they bring it up that way, or would they not be able to use the depositions during trial because it was still hearsay?
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  26. #1318
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    And adding to Mac's question, could the DT introduce ICA's early medical records to show abuse (if ICA had a broken arm, head injury, ect) I am sure ICA would waive her medical rights for this.

    Could the DT also ask childhood friends like Ryan and Kio or later Jesse and Annie about ICA's bruises, injuries, or about ICA acting fearful of her parents. Would testimony like this legally get around hearsay laws?
    JMO



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  28. #1319
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katprint View Post
    I respectfully disagree, in part because the SHAPE of the stain has probative value - not just what it was made of. Kind of like the shadows of the vaporized Hiroshima victims.

    Plus, I recall one of the talking head experts explaining how the most likely source of the stain was micro-organisms nourished by condensation running down the side of the plastic trash bag onto the carpet, after the car had become a grisly solar still evaporating moisture during the hot Florida summer days then cooling off at night. Neither the micro-organisms nor the condensation itself would likely match the chemical makeup of a decomposing body. Nonetheless, the stain in the size and shape of Caylee's body curled up in a fetal position in Casey's trunk would have probative value.

    I think the foundation that HHJP is looking for is the basic authentication / chain of custody i.e. the witnesses who observed the stained carpet in Casey's car trunk, removed the stained carpet, examined the carpet under the various lights/filters, took the photographs, etc. The usual dog-and-pony-show to establish that THESE photos accurately depict THIS carpet from THIS car trunk which is in the SAME CONDITION and so on.
    Katprint
    Always only my own opinions

    Edited to add: Decomp fluids could also have contributed to the stain. My point was that regardless what caused the stain, its appearance ought to be admissible.
    I hope that's all he meant, too. That's the way I use the word "foundation." However, I have noticed over the last 16 years that lots of attorneys and judges use it more broadly. HHJP in particular used the word "foundation" at the hearings a couple of times in that broader sense--e.g., it seemed like he was saying that the state would have to prove Caylee was missing on X date to provide "foundation" for bringing in a photo taken on X date.

    Quote Originally Posted by lauriej View Post
    ..my question may have already been answered ( and i'm too dense to get it ) -----if so, please disregard...

    ..judgeP's order (denying the stain..) read:

    "Defendant however, did not present any factual evidence at the hearing in support of the grounds alleged in the Motion and therefore failed to meet her burden of proof.

    Consequently any evidence relating to the stain in the trunk of the automobile may be admissible upon proper presentation and foundation of the evidence".

    ..in the state's response to the 'stain motion' they said-----

    "(No blood, no DNA), but-----the stain was examined instrumentally by the Oakridge Lab which detected the presense of volatile fatty acids, consistant with the byproducts of decomposition. Witnesses will be able to testify as to the size and shape of the stain, and the jury will be able to view photographs of the stain taken with alternative light sources."

    my Question--------does this mean that the Oakridge Lab detection of fatty acids, the FBI witness testimony as to size/shape, and pics ARE IN as well ?

    ( the original defense motion to exclude stain, doesn't mention the 'fatty acids, etc..)

    http://www.wftv.com/pdf/26331535/detail.html

    ..they refer to the stain as imaginary, ramble about the image of the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast, wonder ( on 12-30-2010 ) why judge S ever let it in, in the 1st place--and then go on to complain about the amount of bond that judge S set (from july 2008.)

    ..and cite 90.401, 402, and 403....signed, j.baez.
    The order doesn't mean anything is "in"--it just overrules the specific objection being made in the defense motion. The defense motion regarding the stain didn't object to the fatty acid analysis, enhanced photography techniques, etc., so I assume the defense is still free to argue any additional objections to such evidence at trial.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarolinaMoon View Post
    I just read Amy Huizenga's deposition for the defense and reviewed her original statement to LE. In both recountings, she is clear on the conversation she had with Cindy Anthony in the car (45 min. ride) and the events surrounding Cindy's confrontation with Casey at Tony's apartment and in the car on the way home.

    I'm aware that she can testify to the general mood, but will she be able to go into all the interesting and incriminatory things Cindy and Casey said to each other? Can she testify to what Cindy said to her?

    I'm thinking of hearsay and have to wonder under what exception(s) this testimony would qualify.

    So far, all I can come up with is "not for the truth of the matter, but for state of mind."
    I think she will be able to testify to the things Casey said, because they are statements of the defendant, and EVEN IF the statements are being introduced for the truth of the matter asserted, there is an exclusion from the hearsay rule for statements of the defendant. As for Cindy, I think her statements will be admissible as impeachment of her testimony at trial (the "prior inconsistent statements of a witness" exception to the hearsay rule). They might also be excited utterances. Cindy's state of mind is not a relevant issue, so her statements would not be admissible to show her state of mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Macushla View Post
    If the defense is trying to get some sort of abuse angle onto the record in the guilt/innocence phase, they can not use hearsay or so I understand. Can the defense get around the hearsay issue by having someone, Like Tony L., read from his deposition? Can they bring it up that way, or would they not be able to use the depositions during trial because it was still hearsay?
    Depositions don't get you around the hearsay rule. And the exclusion from the hearsay rule for statements of the defendant can't be used by the defense, only by the prosecution. The defense will have to get someone with personal knowledge to testify if they want the supposed abuse to get into evidence. If the SA then says, "Casey just made that up to get out of the death penalty," then people like Tony will be able to testify about earlier consistent statements made by Casey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paintr View Post
    And adding to Mac's question, could the DT introduce ICA's early medical records to show abuse (if ICA had a broken arm, head injury, ect) I am sure ICA would waive her medical rights for this.

    Could the DT also ask childhood friends like Ryan and Kio or later Jesse and Annie about ICA's bruises, injuries, or about ICA acting fearful of her parents. Would testimony like this legally get around hearsay laws?
    They haven't disclosed any medical records, and I'm quite sure we would have heard about this from the defense team if there were any. And no one has mentioned any bruises or injuries.

    Assuming hypothetically that any such information exists, it would not be hearsay, but probably also wouldn't convince the jury (1) that there was any abuse (vs. injuries for other reasons), or (2) that Casey should be shown any mercy because of any such abuse.

    "It would seem to me that June 16, 2008 was the last time that the victim was viewed by her grandparents. It became quite evident that from the OS of the Defense that the 16th was a date of great importance and that a so called time line of activities dealing with CA, LA, GA and ICA on the 16th and what, if any, activities took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June on 24 hour cycles would have been, at least, of a minimal requirement of review. I take it at some point you had a computer expert look at that data?" HHJP, 6/21/11
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...139910&page=94


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    One more question about depositions. HHJP made it very clear there would be no trial by ambush and that if an issue wasn't in the report or the deposition, the experts could not talk about it and neither side could bring it up. Does this rule hold true for non expert witnesses? I know anyone can be impeached with prior testimony to prove they are lying. I am sure JA will do that very thing if Cindy says in court that she put the dryer sheets in the car. But if she is asked a question by the defense and her answer is completely out of left field, has never been mentioned before, and was not in her deposition - I am trying to think of a good example but I can't - would it be allowed or would the state object and the judge sustain the objection? Hope I made this question clear enough.
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  31. #1321
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macushla View Post
    One more question about depositions. HHJP made it very clear there would be no trial by ambush and that if an issue wasn't in the report or the deposition, the experts could not talk about it and neither side could bring it up. Does this rule hold true for non expert witnesses? I know anyone can be impeached with prior testimony to prove they are lying. I am sure JA will do that very thing if Cindy says in court that she put the dryer sheets in the car. But if she is asked a question by the defense and her answer is completely out of left field, has never been mentioned before, and was not in her deposition - I am trying to think of a good example but I can't - would it be allowed or would the state object and the judge sustain the objection? Hope I made this question clear enough.
    Non-expert witnesses can say things at trial that were not said in their depositions.

    "It would seem to me that June 16, 2008 was the last time that the victim was viewed by her grandparents. It became quite evident that from the OS of the Defense that the 16th was a date of great importance and that a so called time line of activities dealing with CA, LA, GA and ICA on the 16th and what, if any, activities took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June on 24 hour cycles would have been, at least, of a minimal requirement of review. I take it at some point you had a computer expert look at that data?" HHJP, 6/21/11
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...139910&page=94

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    I'm curious about things being posted to the docket at the court house. Specifically, I'm wondering why all of HHJP's rulings were not able to be posted on Thursday. I know they were sent late in the day, but is the process to get things on the docket a lengthy one? Was this just laziness on the part of the court official? Or could HHJP tell the court to only post one ruling and wait until Monday for the others? I have no idea of the process to get something on the court docket, which is why I'm asking about this. It is driving me crazy that they were only able to get one ruling out on Thursday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aedrys View Post
    I'm curious about things being posted to the docket at the court house. Specifically, I'm wondering why all of HHJP's rulings were not able to be posted on Thursday. I know they were sent late in the day, but is the process to get things on the docket a lengthy one? Was this just laziness on the part of the court official? Or could HHJP tell the court to only post one ruling and wait until Monday for the others? I have no idea of the process to get something on the court docket, which is why I'm asking about this. It is driving me crazy that they were only able to get one ruling out on Thursday.
    Not a lawyer (sorry), but does anyone have proof that he made a decision on the other matters prior to 5pm yesterday?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RR0004 View Post
    Not a lawyer (sorry), but does anyone have proof that he made a decision on the other matters prior to 5pm yesterday?
    I read one of the news websites that a court official said he had the rulings, but couldn't the post the rest until Monday since the court was closed on Friday. So yes, HHJP has ruled on everything, we just don't get to see it until Monday, and that's why I was asking about it here.

    It was WESH http://www.wesh.com/casey-anthony-ex...08/detail.html and here's the quote:

    Perry was expected to rule on several other evidence matters in the case, but a court official said no other rulings would be issued Thursday.
    Last edited by Aedrys; 04-22-2011 at 03:37 PM.

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  39. #1325
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aedrys View Post
    I'm curious about things being posted to the docket at the court house. Specifically, I'm wondering why all of HHJP's rulings were not able to be posted on Thursday. I know they were sent late in the day, but is the process to get things on the docket a lengthy one? Was this just laziness on the part of the court official? Or could HHJP tell the court to only post one ruling and wait until Monday for the others? I have no idea of the process to get something on the court docket, which is why I'm asking about this. It is driving me crazy that they were only able to get one ruling out on Thursday.
    Quote Originally Posted by RR0004 View Post
    Not a lawyer (sorry), but does anyone have proof that he made a decision on the other matters prior to 5pm yesterday?
    Quote Originally Posted by Aedrys View Post
    I read one of the news websites that a court official said he had the rulings, but couldn't the post the rest until Monday since the court was closed on Friday. So yes, HHJP has ruled on everything, we just don't get to see it until Monday, and that's why I was asking about it here.

    It was WESH http://www.wesh.com/casey-anthony-ex...08/detail.html and here's the quote:


    Quote:
    Perry was expected to rule on several other evidence matters in the case, but a court official said no other rulings would be issued Thursday.
    That's not the way I interpret the court official's statement. I think he/she was saying that, although HHJP had been EXPECTED to rule on other matters on Thursday, "no other rulings would be issued Thursday" because HHJP did NOT in fact rule on those issues.

    "It would seem to me that June 16, 2008 was the last time that the victim was viewed by her grandparents. It became quite evident that from the OS of the Defense that the 16th was a date of great importance and that a so called time line of activities dealing with CA, LA, GA and ICA on the 16th and what, if any, activities took place on the 15th, 16th and 17th of June on 24 hour cycles would have been, at least, of a minimal requirement of review. I take it at some point you had a computer expert look at that data?" HHJP, 6/21/11
    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/sho...139910&page=94


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