INTERROGATORIES, QUERIES & BURNING QUESTIONS
JAN wondered whether Jill Kerley, Roy Kronk’s ex-wife, could be cross-examined on the witness stand regarding her prior criminal record, as well as the drug allegations made against her at the time she was employed as a nurse.
ANSWER: In Florida, any witness that testifies at trial is subject to cross-examination regarding prior felony convictions and misdemeanor convictions that involve crimes of dishonesty. However, evidence of investigations of allegations NOT resulting in a criminal conviction can not be brought to the jury’s attention.
JAN later asked whether a body language expert (such as Lillian Glass) could testify at trial.
ANSWER: In short, no. Body language experts can be used by either the defense or the prosecution to aid them in the preparation of their respective cases, but cannot be called to testify as to their opinions at trial.
MUESLI inquired whether witnesses (for example, the Anthony family members) could sit inside the courtroom prior to their testimony to listen to the testimony of others, or would they be required to wait outside until they are called to testify.
ANSWER: Witnesses who will testify must wait outside the courtroom once the Rule of Sequestration is invoked. What is that? Among other things, all defense and state witnesses are excluded from the courtroom before and, generally, after their testimony is given (sometimes witnesses are recalled to the witness stand). Routinely, either the state or the defense will ask the presiding judge to invoke the Rule. The judge does not, of his own accord, do this. There have been the occasional oops, where neither side remembered to ask that the Rule be invoked. However, this lapse is typically noticed when one side or the other turns around to see witnesses sitting in the courtroom observing proceedings.
AMAZED wants to know whether Casey Anthony can further stall the commencement of her trial by stating she feels her current counsel is ineffective, even though she has repeatedly said she is satisfied with her defense team.
ANSWER: Although I don’t believe this is likely to happen, Casey has the right to fire her present lawyers at any stage of the proceedings. And, if she were to so do, depending upon the timing, this could result in a further delay of the start of her trial.
Many of you have expressed your exasperation with defense delays, stalling tactics and excuses to earn further continuances of the trial date. You wonder why the judge doesn’t “crack the whip,” “say enough is enough already” and “stop wasting the Court’s time.” This is for JEANSEE, BJ, TISHEL, CASEYISGUILTY, JUSTIN, VICKI and LITTLEBEAR among others.
ANSWER: Firstly, both the current discovery and trial schedules were agreed upon by the state and the defense and then approved by the judge. Secondly, as long as the death penalty is on the table, the judge will, more than likely, continue to be flexible as to schedules and dates with both sides. However, even Judge Strickland’s patience has its limits and, should he determine that either side is not proceeding with due diligence and in good faith, we can expect to see him “crack the whip.” Remember, this is a complex, circumstantial evidence case requiring many, many witnesses to establish the circumstantial chain of guilt. Included among those witnesses are forensics experts seeking to gain admission of “novel scientific evidence,” requiring a great deal of preparation by both the state and the defense. In this instance, justice delayed will not equate to justice denied. Casey is facing the ultimate penalty.
MAGDALENA asked what exactly is a mistrial? Does it mean the accused walks free, never to be tried again?
ANSWER: A mistrial can occur when something happens or is said during the trial that is so prejudicial (generally to the defense) that, immediately after the occurrence of that event, and, upon motion for mistrial, the judge finds that there is no remedy, short of dismissing the jury and declaring a mistrial. Secondly, and possibly the most common reason for the judge declaring a mistrial, is the failure of a jury to reach a unanimous verdict. In either event, the defendant is, in fact, retried for the offense before a new jury at a later time. That is unless the case is resolved by a plea or the state decides to dismiss the charges, the latter being a rarity.
That’s all for now. For those of you whose questions I did not yet answer, be patient. I will be back to answer more when my schedule permits.