How Can Jose Baez Be Lead Lawyer in the Casey Anthony Case -- No Death Qualified Attorney Has Been On the Record Since Terry Lenamon Left

Back in January, I was flabbergasted when I learned the limited experience that Jose Baez had -- and here he was, lead counsel in the Casey Anthony case. Back then, I wondered about ineffective assistance of counsel claims (you can read that post here).

Then, today, I learn that Jose Baez is filing a Motion to Transfer Venue - and his spokesperson has told the media that afterwards, he will have a press conference. Of course he is.

Meanwhile, fellow "Dream Team" attorney Linda Kenney Baden has been up in New York City, appearing on the Today Show and telling everyone how the local media has been sooooo biased, but the national media has been so NOT.

Please. Does this woman watch Nancy Grace? I do. Most folk at Nancy Grace aren't discussing the issue of whether or not Casey Anthony killed her daughter, they're talking about how strong the state's case is and whether or not Casey Anthony will get the death penalty - and they're looking carefully at all the new document dumps as they occur. (There was another one last Friday.)

There's No Big Diff in the Media Coverage

My first point: there is no significant distinction to be made between the local media and the national media in how the Casey Anthony case is being portrayed. That's hooey.

And, now, my second point. And it's much bigger.

Terry Lenamon Posted Florida Rule on Death Penalty Qualified Attorneys

I was over at Terry Lenamon's blog (he was the attorney last fall who argued for Casey Anthony and got the death penalty off the table for her) and he's building a big blog all about the death penalty -- both in Florida and across the country. Lots of stuff about capital punishment.

(As a side note, Lenamon's picked up on our illustrious Chief Justice Sharon Keller over here, but that's a different post for a different day. We're all so very proud here in Texas.}

And Terry Lenamon has put the entire Florida rule on what attorneys can represent defendants who are facing the death penalty. Appointed or Retained. And, Florida is pretty darn strict on which attorneys get to take on this job.

And here's the big scoop that I'm shocked no one is discussing....no one on the Casey Anthony Legal Team Meets the Florida Legal Standard

There is absolutely NO ONE on the Casey Anthony legal team, as far as I can tell, that has these qualifications. Lenamon did, but he isn't currently on the "Dream Team."

Neither Jose Baez or Linda Baden meet this statute. Go read it for yourself.

I think this creates a great argument that there is a Due Process violation here.

Think about it. Jose Baez filed a major request with the court today -- a venue challenge. Big deal in any case, MAJOR big deal in this one. Does he have legal authority to act? Looks questionable, given the statute.

Is this ineffective assistance of counsel? Mebbe. Bigger argument, I think: Casey Anthony's due process rights are being violated if she's been represented outside of the Florida qualification statute.

Think of the appeal, assuming she's found guilty.

Lawyer without the necessary - and mandatory - legal prerequisites makes major decisions and files key motions (like the venue request) in a death penalty case.

First argument, it's due process as a matter of law because the Florida statute wasn't met. Second argument, it's due process under the facts of the case because this unqualified attorney made flawed decisions during the course of Casey Anthony's case that have irreparably harmed her.

More on this later. I'm just fuming.

And that was even BEFORE I read all about how it took 8 years for Jose Baez to get a bar license with the State of Florida.

Ye Gads. Why the heck isn't Terry Lenamon -- who is death qualified -- on this Casey Anthony case?

I am not a Florida attorney, nor am I a criminal defense attorney. But I do know a little about the 8th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution, I can read a statute, and I'm thinking I have a real and valid concern here.

Wish Terry Lenamon could talk about this.


Marsha said...

All very good questions. Thank you.

Chere said...

I think this is my first time commenting on your blog, but this post caught my attention. Like you, I'm not a criminal defense attorney. Goodness, I'm not even an attorney *yet*. But I know a little due process and can read statutes...and you're right. This could be a BIG appeal.
How is this flying under the radar?? Sounds like something one of my professors would freak out about. It's not just about the (crazy) facts of the case - procedure MATTERS! BUT...procedure (and I guess I'm lumping the atty's qualifications into procedure) doesn't make very good TV.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Where is the evidence for homicide? What is the offer of proof that this was not a death by natural causes or by misadventure - a viral infection or a reaction to cough syrup say? Without that we have a case of improper disposal of human remains, a misdemeanor, not even a felony.