Well my unfaithful friends, having watched the defense bungle their way through the last three years, I provided my opinion on every imaginable issue in this case. So as we countdown to opening statements, I thought I would provide my final predictions about the Casey Anthony case. Prediction No. 1: An Accidental Death Defense Some of you may not know this, but my very first post ever about the Casey Anthony case was on September 28, 2009 in response to a blog post by IT'S A MYSTERY 2 ME! titled Can circumstantial evidence convict Casey Anthony? Yes, it can. Her post was partially in response to a WESH 2 News interview I gave where I stated the State has a weak case for premeditated murder, as opposed to a death penalty. In sum, she disagreed with my assessment that the case was weak and was very much of the opinion that an accidental death theory would never fly. And so I responded to her post and gave her my opinion of how the defense could spin an accidental death theory (actually three comments). Comment 1: September 28, 2009 2:18 am (Guilty, but of what?) Comment 2: September 28, 2009 9:02 am (Accidental Theory Developed) Comment 3: September 28, 2009 9:17 am (Dealing with Duct Tape) Interestingly, my response then is almost exactly what I believe the defense will argue now (although I think George will be the fall guy, instead of Cindy). Prediction No. 2: Casey will not Testify (in Guilt Phase) I must admit, I have vacillated on whether Casey Anthony will testify or not, but ultimately have decided she probably will not. No Ugly Coping, No Testimony Her only chance of a complete exoneration (on the felonies at least) would be to testify that there was an accident and then explain why she acted the way she did afterwards. The problem with this though is she would have needed psychologists to testify that she suffered from post-traumatic stress in order to establish the foundation for a jury to take her post-death actions seriously. This would have basically been the Ugly Coping defense. But considering that they (1) withdrew their psychologists as to the guilt phase and (2) the information released indicates there were no "serious" post traumatic problems, there is no realistic basis for them to advance this theory or get a jury to buy into it. They don't call it Cross for Nothing The reality is that without a confession from Casey or an eye-witness, the State likely does not have enough to obtain a First Degree Murder conviction, and is even less likely to have enough evidence to obtain a death penalty sentence. However, if Casey Anthony were to testify, there is only one of two things that would likely happen. The jury will believe her or feel sorry for her and exonerate her of the primary charges; or The jury will disbelieve her and she will provide the missing element the jury would need to not only convict of First Degree Murder, but sentence her to death (remember, 7 people is all the State needs for the latter). And therein lies (no pun intended) the problem, Casey Anthony would not only have to successfully explain away EVERY lie, her explanation would have to be believed. Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. – Confucius And I can tell you from experience that successfully preparing a client to testify, a truthful client mind you, is extremely difficult. You have to anticipate every possible question a good prosecutor would cross examine your client on and prepare your client to: Explain every possible hole in your defense. Provide precise details about the events leading up to the arrest, even irrelevant details. Explain every lie, big and small. Explain every inconsistent statement. Explain why you she should be believed, even though it conflicts with other witnesses' testimony. Not to get confused. Not to change the story. And the list goes on and on. I can tell you that I have spent days in some cases, weeks on a few occasions, preparing clients (that I believed were truthful mind you) to testify in cases that involved a fraction of the evidence and witnesses as Casey Anthony's case. Based on the amount that Jose Baez and Cheney Mason have visited her to date, there is no way that they could have properly prepared her to testify. The Crucible of Cross-Examination – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. And even assuming that they have prepared her to testify, the real question is have they prepared her for what Justice Antonin Scalia has described as "The crucible of cross-examination"? From what I have seen of her police interviews and jail house visits, she comes across as callous and deceitful, so I highly doubt that they could train her to maintain a stable facade and presentation against hours of cross-examination. To further compound the problem, it is clear that Casey Anthony has an animosity of, and personal dislike for, Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton. So while I highly respect Linda Drane Burdick and Frank George, it just seems obvious that Jeff Ashton would be the best choice to cross-examine Casey Anthony and the one most likely to break her. Having tried cases with Jeff, the best compliment I can give him is that he cross-examines witnesses like a zealous defense attorney crossing a jail-house snitch. I could easily see Casey Anthony snapping against Jeff Ashton and her completely breaking down on the stand. Which brings up the biggest risk in having her testify. If she does not pull it off, the only logical conclusion the jury could reach is that her whole story was a charade to cover up the truth: The truth being that she did intentionally murder her child. In essence, she could testify herself right into the death penalty. That is to risky a proposition for her to take. Prediction 3: Anything but Death, Defense will Claim Victory My final prediction is my most frustrating one and highlights what has been wrong with this case from day one. In my opinion, Casey Anthony has been used by a series of lawyers for her case's notoriety in order to advance their own narcissistic and inflated egos. (I exclude Ann Finnell and Lisbeth Fryer, as I have not only been impressed with their work but the way they have conducted themselves.) I have said many times that a defense lawyer's goal should be to obtain the best resolution that is most realistically likely for your client. In Casey Anthony's case, this resolution was probably somewhere from 10 to 20 years in prison on an Aggravated Manslaughter charge. But even assuming that there was in fact no offer ever made by the State; the last thing her defense should be doing is litigating her case in not just an inept way, but in a manner that could be used against her if she is convicted; as it would show a lack of remorse. Allowing her to appear on TV with a help find Caylee Button – think about how negative a jury would see this if they find her guilty as charged. Blaming George or Lee for sexual abuse. Blaming the meter reader (although I thought he makes for good reasonable doubt) Admitting on TV your (former) client lied (nice way to maintain client confidences). However, Jose Baez, Andrea Lyon, Linda Baden, Todd Maculuso, Todd Black, and Cheney Mason have taken it upon themselves to appear over a hundred times on national and local television to float every possible theory, conspiracy, or attack they can. And what do they have to show for it? Nothing. Ironically, of all the motions, claims, and arguments they have made, the most significant victory came not from their own doing; but from Judge Perry, who sua sponte advised the State he was not going to allow the jury to smell "canisters of death." And so, after all their posturing, puffing, and spurious claims, I predict the defense will claim victory if Casey Anthony is convicted of anything short of First Degree Murder. And, when proclaiming how great they are, how they "won" in the face of unfair and overwhelming odds, and likely how they expect to win on appeal; they will embark on a media tour that will make O.J.'s defense teams look minor league. And to make matters worse, the media will play right into it, paying the attorneys "appearance fees (I prefer blood money) trumpeting their exclusive interviews and proclaiming Baez and his crew to be "experts," or "high profile attorneys," or preeminent. In reality, Casey will likely get sentenced to a prison term that is longer than what a good plea bargain could have obtained. But they will not acknowledge this, nor will the media even mention it, instead they will be heralded as winners; when in fact their client lost. But what personally bothers me most, is that other young attorneys, incompetent attorneys, and shady attorneys will see that embracing the media to the detriment of your client's best interests is, nonetheless, Good for Business. We're leaving together But still it's farewell And maybe we'll come back To earth, who can tell? I guess there is no one to blame We're leaving ground Will things ever be the same again? It's the final countdown. 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