Casey Anthony defense tries to put Florida prosecutors on trial
Defense attorneys for Casey Anthony are seeking to put the prosecution on trial, alleging an at times incompetent investigation into Caylee's death. The tactic could be working with some jurors.
The defense in the Casey Anthony murder trial is seeking to turn the tables on the prosecution, attempting to put the state itself on trial for conducting what defense lawyers suggest was a lackluster and, at times, incompetent investigation into the death of Ms. Anthony’s two-year-old daughter, Caylee.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Key players in the Casey Anthony trial
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Although Chief Judge Belvin Perry is trying to head off the tactic by sustaining frequent prosecution objections at the trial, defense attorney Jose Baez is managing to raise substantial questions that could trouble at least some members of the jury.
The jurors have heard testimony that a “shoddy” autopsy was performed by the county medical examiner, that an FBI lab technician’s own DNA contaminated a piece of duct tape that the state alleges is the murder weapon, and that a crime scene investigator placed a bag of wet trash with live maggots from Ms. Anthony’s car into a drier to preserve the contents for long-term storage.
IN PICTURES: Key players in the Casey Anthony trial
They have heard about heart-shaped residue that mysteriously disappeared from the surface of the duct tape/alleged murder weapon before it could be photographed. They also heard that investigators waited 3-1/2 months after tests showed the possible presence of chloroform in Anthony’s car before obtaining a warrant to search the Anthony home for evidence of chemicals, mixing instructions, chemistry equipment, or store receipts related to chloroform. Nothing was found.
In addition, the defense is suggesting that the state missed opportunities to conduct DNA testing on the maggots found in the trash bag in Anthony’s car. Two entomologists and a DNA expert have testified that such testing would have been possible. It was apparently not done.
The defense has also suggested that after the FBI discovered a second partial but inconclusive DNA profile on the duct tape/alleged murder weapon, the state could have had the item retested using more sophisticated technology. It did not.
Defense gambit not unique
Mr. Baez’s gambit is not unique. The defense tactic of attacking detectives and prosecutors as sloppy or worse is a standard feature of many trials. But this is no ordinary case. The state has charged Anthony with first-degree murder and is seeking the death penalty.
In addition, the saga of Anthony and her daughter, Caylee, has attracted a national following of self-appointed detectives, moral arbiters, and others who are parsing every utterance in Judge Perry’s Orlando, Fla., courtroom. Interest in the trial is so high that fistfights have broken out among those waiting in long lines outside the courthouse for a chance to witness the unfolding drama inside.
Although the state’s case moved forward quickly and efficiently for nearly three weeks, the defense side of the trial during the past five days has been slowed by a high number of prosecution objections and resulting sidebar conferences outside earshot of the jury. The in-court tension arises against a backdrop of an increasingly bitter struggle between the two camps behind the scenes.