A jury today found former Gator and Patriot football player not guilty on two counts of murder, along with the attempted murders of the other passengers and the intimidation charge against the State’s key witness. He was found guilty of illegal firearms possession, and sentenced to four to five years in prison, most of which he has already served. Now, this acquittal may be all for naught, as Hernandez is already sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd, for whom he was convicted of killing in 2013.
Keep in mind, a criminal acquittal is not proof that he did not do it (cough cough – OJ – cough cough). It merely means that the state did not convince the jurors beyond and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt. The state’s case was based on the testimony of Alexander Bradley, a convicted violent drug dealer who says he was there and Hernandez did it. Hernandez’s attorney Jose Baez (who famously defended Casey Anthony) did a great job of casting doubt on Bradley, his motivations, and suggesting that it may have been Bradley who did the shooting. Without corroborating evidence, accepting Bradley’s testimony to convict was presumably to hard for the jury to swallow.
Hernandez’s other conviction is being appealed and will be heard by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, probably later this year.
Casey Anthony in Court
Casey Anthony spoke publicly for the first time about her case, in which she was accused and acquitted at trial in the death of her infant daughter, Caylee. The case and trial were media sensation, not just here in Florida, but across the country. She gave a multi-part interview to the AP, which really leaves more questions than it answers. It sounds like she has not maintained a relationship with her parents (her attorney suggested at trial that her father may have been responsible for the death of her child), and she has been living in West Palm Beach, working for the investigator that worked on the case.
This is the second time she’s been in the news lately. Last week, Hon. Belvin Perry, the retired judge who had presided over the case and trial, was in the news prognosticating that she may have tried to give the baby chloroform and accidentally caused her death. He concluded it was accidental, in light of no evidence of abuse of the child. That’s just his best-guessing after the fact though, there are no definitive answers as to the real reason for the tragic death of Caylee Anthony.
I spoke with Fox4 in Fort Myers the other day with some thoughts on the investigation to the missing infant from North Port, and the challenges the prosecutors will face in proving a case against the parents.
North Port parents Joseph Walsh and Kristen Bury
So far, the parents have been charged with Child Neglect, but investigators will certainly continue their investigation to see if more charges are appropriate. They may decide to file homicide charges if the determine Baby Chance was killed: but they have a proof problem not only proving who is responsible for the death, but that the child is even deceased. The parents will be extradited soon to return to Florida on the Neglect charges.
There are a lot of parallels between this case and the Casey Anthony case that went to trial a few years ago. While she was charged before they found a body, even after they found a body, she was acquitted at trial. It’s too early to tell what will happen here, as we don’t even know what happened to the Baby Chance.
The story on Fox4: http://www.scrippsmedia.com/fox4now/news/Attorney-sheds-light-on-investigation-into-the-disappearance-of-baby-Chance-331846751.html
Two of the four convictions Ms. Anthony received for lying to police have been thrown out for double jeopardy. The Courts ruled that the state could not convict someone of multiple statements during the same interrogation. Thus the court rejected the theory argued by prosecutor Jeff Ashton in his book, and again by the appellate counsel. The Court also rejected the Defense argument that the interview was single episode. The 5th District Court found that since there were separate interviews, with a significant temporal break between them, that constituted two separate occasions of giving false information. The Court upheld two convictions, and threw out the other two. This doesn’t have a major impact for Ms. Anthony, as she has already served her time for those misdemeanor offenses.
Also, Crimcourts got a chance to watch the movie about Miss Anthony’s case, Prosecuting Casey Anthony, which was based on Jeff Ashton’s book. It was not as one-sided as I was afraid, being based on the prosecutor’s book. Rob Lowe was fine as Ashton, though I have come accustomed to his comedic roles. Oscar Nunez (Oscar from the office) was excellent as Anthony’s attorney Jose Baez… perhaps too polished for Mr. Baez. The movie didn’t capture the tension the case carried in the courtroom. It did show that there was some ambiguity in the evidence but, true to life, Mr. Ashton had his prosecution blinders on. It’s probably only worth watching if you followed the case closely.
Posted in 5th Amendment - Miranda Rights, Casey Anthony, Criminal Law, Florida, Florida Cases
Tagged 5th amendment, casey anthony, criminal, double jeopardy, florida, Jeff ashton, miranda
Casey Anthony’s attorneys are appealing her convictions for false statements to law enforcement, arguing she was in custody when the statements were made. Her Miranda Rights had not been read to her at the time. Under Florida law, it is not necessary for officers to formally handcuff and inform someone of their arrest for the Miranda requirement to apply. If the totality of circumstances would cause a reasonable person to feel that they were not free to terminate the encounter, they are effectively in custody and law enforcement should inform them of their rights. Law enforcement walks a fine line in such circumstances: while they don’t deliberately want to violate someone’s rights, or have their evidence thrown out of court, their priority in a missing person case is to locate that person. Sometimes the overriding desire of locating a missing child is worth the risk of losing some evidence at court. (A well-known case is John Couey, which inspired Jessica’s Laws around the country, known as the Lunsford Act in Florida. I did not realize it, but Couey died of anal cancer after being convicted of that murder.)
Posted in 5th Amendment - Miranda Rights, Casey Anthony, Criminal Law, Florida, Florida Cases, Uncategorized
Tagged appeal, butt cancer, casey anthony, couey, lunsford, miranda