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Friday, June 10, 2011

Casey Anthony: Let's Be Reasonable About Reasonable Doubt

The media frenzy that surrounds the murder trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of murdering her child then not reporting it as she partied hearty for 31 days is veritably unprecedented. It is the first trial since the trial of OJ Simpson to captivate the nation's conscience to such a palpable degree multiplied exponentially by the fact that it is the fist such trial of the social media age.

What grips me most about the trial is that the concept of "reasonable doubt" has become so unreasonable. In today's testimony Dr. Jan Garavaglia, the Chief Medical Examiner for Orange and Osceola counties who in 2008 had called the cause of Caylee’s death homicide by undetermined means testified.

Dr. G as she is known told jurors that a portion of the right tibia was sent to the FBI for DNA testing and came back a positive match for Caylee. Garavaglia was the medical examiner that performed the autopsy twice and sent the post-mortem samples to be tested for toxicology as well, which came back negative. She acknowledged, however, that she did not expect to find any substances like chloroform in the bones, and that the absence of positive results for toxicity did not exclude the acute use of them.

Though she could not determine the exact manner of death, she believed the method of death was homicide. She sustained that she could reach conclusions based on the condition of the 2-year-old’s remains and other factors including the duct tape wrapped around her skull.

“The fact that there’s duct tape anywhere attached to that child’s face is to me indication that it’s homicide.”

Flustered defense attorney Cheney Mason argued that Garavaglia did not have any actual scientific evidence about how Caylee died, and that her conclusions were based on the media and circumstantial evidence presented.

As a medical examiner, she stated that it was her job to take more than just the skeletal remains into consideration when she determined how someone died.

“There’s the fact that she was tossed aside to rot, there’s the fact that her death wasn’t reported. Accidental deaths are reported unless there is a reason for it not to be,” Garavaglia responded.

The defense claims that Caylee drowned in her grandparents’ pool, and that Casey never told anyone.

The celebrity witness who appears on the Discovery Health Channel show “Dr. G: Medical Examiner” also stated that several studies show that accidental drownings are reported to the authorities 100 percent of the time.

“That’s your opinion,” said Mason.

“No, that’s systematic observational studies,” she replied. “There’s also the presence of the duct tape. No child should have duct tape on its mouth when it dies.”

So there it is. Simple logic. What we all know as human beings -- whether you're a parent or not -- if you're child is wounded or even very obviously deceased...? You would call 911. Why?? Because the parental gene, nay the basic human gene that drives every involuntary response would compel you to dial for emergency assistance in the hopes that your child (or any human for that matter) could be saved. Keeping oneself from calling for emergency services would be like trying to stop paristalsis or one's own heartbeat. Not possible.

When does "reasonable doubt" entail satisfying every preposterous assertion lobbed into the ether that can't be disproved by an eyewitness or date-stamped security cam footage? Just because Mr. Baez & friends bully away regarding snippets of clear evidence that can't be corroborated with diamond-encrusted, videotaped evidence certified by The pope and Jesus himself -- it doesn't mean we aren't reasonable enough to know a murder when we see one.

It is UNREASONABLE to think that any parent would find their child accidentally drowned a pool and then duct tape the child's mouth shut, put it in a trash bag and throw it by the side of the road; then go out and kite checks, get a tattoo and party for a month.

It's UNREASONABLE to think that two police dogs and seven separate witnesses don't smell a cadaver in a car trunk because there was an empty cheese wrapper in there.

It's not reasonable.

Here's what I know. My heart pumped blood through my veins last night while I slept.

I don't know that because I was hooked up to an EKG machine with Havard-educated, Nobel Prize-winning cardiologists certifying that my heart did it's job. I know it because I woke up this morning.

That’s systematic observational studies. No child should have duct tape on its face when it dies. No mother refuses to report her child's death for 31 days unless there is a reason. PERIOD. That's common sense. Some things are obvious. Asking us to consider, justify and disprove the ridiculous and the unreasonable is a vile debasement of the human condition.

I don't favor the death penalty. That's another topic entirely. But I do favor a return to reason and sanity.

Casey Anthony had a hand in her child's death. If Jose says she knows how Caylee died -- then let's put her on the stand and ask her why he needed that duct tape. If it was an accident, then tell us why and plead to the crime that fits.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jose Baez Gets Free Bowl of Soup with Law Degree

I admit it. I am shamelessly marinating in the filthy cesspool of the Casey Anthony murder trial. I'm not proud. I don't even know why I am so entranced and entrenched in this despotic tragedy. At first, it was I thought I was obsessed by the horrific thought that a mother could NOT report her missing child. But now I know that the real star of this hot mess is what keeps me tuning in for more. But as Jane Valez Mitchell so rightly says, "You're only as sick as your secrets." So I am prepared to confess. I'm obsessed with Jose Baez.

Is it his pudgy frame? His Men's Wearhouse ensembles? His Supercuts coiffure? It's all such a hot simmering soup of hubris and incompetence flavored with a soupcon of spicy WTF...? It's hard to pick just one thing.

Let's meet Jose Baez!!

For eight years after he graduated from law school, however, the board that screens prospective attorneys in Florida would not let Jose Baez practice law. The Florida Supreme Court agreed with the decision, issuing an order in 2000 that cataloged unpaid bills, extravagant spending and other "financial irresponsibility" up to that time. Justices reserved their strongest condemnation for his failure to stay current on support payments for his only child.

His overall behavior, they wrote, showed "a total lack of respect for the rights of others and a total lack of respect for the legal system, which is absolutely inconsistent with the character and fitness qualities required of those seeking to be afforded the highest position of trust and confidence recognized by our system of law."

An obvious catch, Jose married at 17, became a father, earned a GED diploma and joined the Navy in 1986. So right away, you know he bonded with Casey Anthony over failing to graduating High School.

According to his résumé, Baez spent three years assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Norfolk, Va., trained as an intelligence analyst with what he described as a "Cosmic Top Secret" security clearance. Sure... right. Because you know they give all the High School drop outs with GEDs "Cosmic Top Security' Clearance. What does that mean anyway? Can you give Buzz Aldrin an enema? Do you know the security codes for the Milenium Falcom?

Next Baez divorced, attended Miami-Dade Community College and graduated from Florida State University. A community college education...? Well! Hello sailor -- wait?? You're a sailor too??

But wait for it.... Baez is also a black belt in tae kwon do. Oh! Jose, you had me at "tae..."

After graduating in 1997 from St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Baez applied to become a lawyer. In April 1998, he was called before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, which screens prospective lawyers. The later Supreme Court order outlined how this review uncovered the debts and other problems that concerned the Bar examiners. Uh oh!!!

That order is the only public record of the review, which is designed to protect the public and safeguard the judicial system. The Bar examiners have responsibility for ensuring that all lawyer applicants meet Florida's requirements for character and fitness, education and technical competence, according to Supreme Court rules.

According to the Supreme Court summary of the case, the Board of Bar Examiners filed formal allegations against J.A.B. in September 1998. In addition to unpaid child support, a personal bankruptcy and default on a student loan, the investigators said he left out parts of his history, including that he wrote a bad check (another Casey Anthony move) and entered a pretrial program to avoid conviction. Nicely dodged, Jose!.

Investigators also found fault with J.A.B.'s participation in a foreign-studies program in summer 1995 and his leasing of a Mazda Miata in Miami — unnecessary expenses when he owed money to others, they said.

While any ho in Miami will attest to to the nearly nuclear pussy-magnet allure of a Mazda Miata (please say it was convertible... please say it was convertible...) I'm possibly made more soggy in the Southern regions by the thought of Jose Baez brushing the sweat from his chubby brow as he studies for his "foreign studies program." And by "foreign studies" I mean launching a Brazillian bikini company - but we'll get to that in a moment.

After a formal hearing, the board found the allegations proven and recommended that he not be admitted to the Bar.

"Additionally, the Board found that J.A.B.'s misrepresentations and lack of candor in his answers to the specifications and during his formal hearing testimony were further grounds for disqualification," the Supreme Court wrote.

Many details in the order can be confirmed in public records for José Baez:

•Miami-Dade Circuit Court records show that Baez failed repeatedly to pay his $200-a-month child support after his 1993 divorce. The sum owed reached $12,000 by 2004. Asked recently about this, Baez said through his spokeswoman that he and his ex-wife have resolved their child-support issues.

•Baez declared bankruptcy in September 1990, the same month and year cited for J.A.B. The records on Baez are filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he lived during and after his service in the Navy.

•The Virginia Education Loan Authority filed liens against Baez for $4,336 in unpaid loans in 1995, the same year the Supreme Court says J.A.B defaulted on his student loan.

•Baez leased a Mazda Miata in 1998, just as J.A.B did. The Sentinel obtained a copy of his Progressive Express insurance card for the vehicle, which Baez had submitted to the Public Defender's Office in Miami. Files from the State Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles show the car was leased.

In April 1998 — the same month that the Bar examiners held their investigative hearing into J.A.B.'s qualifications as a lawyer — the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office reassigned José Ángel Baez to tasks that did not require a law degree.

Baez spent the next 16 months interviewing witnesses and investigating cases to compensate the office for its investment in his preparation to be a lawyer, records show. He resigned in September 1999.

The following year, in June 2000, the Supreme Court issued its findings in case No. SC95855, Florida Board of Bar Examiners RE: J.A.B.: "Accordingly, we approve the Board's recommendation that J.A.B. not be admitted to the Florida Bar at this time."

Baez tries bikini business. I told you it was coming!!

Turned down by the Bar, Baez started a series of businesses.

They included Bon Bon Bikinis and Brazilian-Bikinis.Com to sell bathing suits, corporate records show. He also applied for a real-estate license and created two companies selling computer know-how: LawStudentWebsites.Com and LawyerConcepts. Let's face it - if Jose is selling it - I'm buying!

From 2000 to 2005, according to his spokeswoman, Baez worked for LexisNexis, the information company. In an interview last year, he said he taught lawyers and judges to research cases using the Internet and made twice as much as he could practicing law.

Records show that a court in Miami docked $550 a month from his LexisNexis paycheck in 2004 to pay child support to his first wife. What?? That kid needs to eat?? Selfish baby! Doesn't she know her father has a Miata to wax and a..? Ummm...? Dolphin to wax??? Strike that! That is prejudicial and frankly leading. Asked and answered. Objection! Beyond the scope!

An applicant denied admission to the Bar can reapply after two years or other such period set by the Bar examiners. The application must include a "written statement describing the scope and character of the applicant's evidence of rehabilitation," according to Supreme Court rules.

The court requires them to produce "clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation," such as strict compliance with judicial or administrative orders, assurances to "conduct one's self in an exemplary manner" and demonstrations of excellent character, good reputation for professional ability and "positive action" in their occupation, religion or community or civic service.

Baez launched two community-service ventures during his time away from the law. I think he supplied bikinis to sportswear-challenged aspiring models. Objection! Not in evidence!!

But for me, the real allure of Jose Baez is his unmitigated taste for the limelight and his shameless ability to dole out heaping helpings of bullshit in an effort to make a buck. But most of all...? You have to give props to a chubby High School dropout who got a free bowl of soup with his shitty law degree -- that by sheer fucking luck will manage wholesale to lower the human condition in this country.

Jose Baez doesn't fucking care if Casey Anthony murdered her child. He doesn't even fucking care if she accidentally killed her beautiful 2-year-old girl and attempted to cover it up in some sort of emotional fugue state.

No. Jose Baez cares about making money. See - there's a reason he keeps pointing out prosecution witness' flaws, faults and alleged "financial motives." It's pure projection from an overcompensating, marginally intelligent, money-grubbing boob with no qualifications to prosecute a death penalty case in Florida.

But, hey -- he got a free bowl of soup and his 15 minutes, right?? And a Miata. Let's not forget the Miata.