Monday, June 27, 2011

Casey Has Her Head Examined...Again

Lead defense lawyer Jose Baez halted the Orlando-based Casey Anthony trial last Saturday when he requested and got a court order from Judge Belvin Perry to have his client examined by three court-appointed psychiatrists to determine her competency to stand trial.  Hmmmm. Casey crying

Feeling a lot like Angela Lansbury in an episode of the erstwhile television series “Murder, She Wrote,”  my mind’s wheels went to work to guess at the reason Mr. Baez would make such a move, and more interestingly, why the judge granted the request. 

I am no attorney – never spent five minutes in a law school classroom– but it would seem logical to me that such examinations would ordinarily take place before the trial began.  The court has put the details of these weekend events under seal, meaning we will never know definitively.  I, however, have come up with a few possibilities.

Maybe the defense has finally noticed that their case is disjointed and as full of holes as a colander.  Although in the opening statement Baez asserted that Caylee Anthony, the victim in the case, was not murdered by her mother Casey, but had accidentally drowned in the family’s swimming pool.  There was no mention, however, of how the child’s body -- which Baez claims was found and carried out of the pool Casey’s father George—got from the pool to the woods located less than a mile from the Anthony home.  There was no mention, either, of why neither George nor Casey called 911 when Caylee was found floating face-down and pulse-less in the pool.

Maybe the defense team has concluded that their strategy has no hope of succeeding unless they put Casey Anthony on the stand to testify in her own defense.  Baez alleged in the opening statement that his client has become a pathological liar, capable of fabricating non-existent nannies and bogus jobs at Universal studios because her father and her brother sexually abused her for many years.  She copes by telling well-constructed, but false stories.  If they put her on the stand, they need to be reasonably assured she understands the meaning of the oath she takes, and she can participate in her own defense.

Maybe Casey made a failed attempt at suicide on Friday night, after her brother’s testimony had the entire family in tears.  It turns out Casey Anthony was examined by psychiatrists and psychologists prior to trial.  The abrupt insertion of new examinations seems to indicate an emergent development that caused her attorneys to question her current mental status.  If not a suicide attempt, perhaps her general affect and private comments are the reason for their concern.

Whatever the cause, the examinations were made.   Based on the reports from the three professionals, the judge declared Ms. Anthony competent to stand trial.  The trial goes on…

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