Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is Cheney Mason for Real?

Although I recognize that some will assert that you can't argue with success, I commented on the defense in the Casey Anthony trial,
If Anthony's attorney believed his client to be innocent and yet deliberately promised to the jury that he would offer evidence he had no intention of introducing, victory or not, I wouldn't hire him to walk my dog.
A member of the defense team argues that she did in fact believe Anthony to be innocent, although he does not offer to clarify which of Anthony's many stories he believes.
Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday, the attorney told Savannah Guthrie, “I do believe her story. I believed it from the first time I met her which was several weeks before I was formally on the team.
He denies that the opening statement contained promises that the defense had no intention of fulfilling - their client surprised them by not testifying.
And in other unexpected turns, Casey had also decided at the last minute to not testify during the trial. Mason said that it wasn’t because she was afraid to take the stand, however. She had just chosen not to, and was the only person who would ever know why.
I would be more impressed if Mason had argued that the defense knew that Anthony was not going to testify, although again that would cast doubt on the promises made in the opening statement, given that there was no indication that they built their defense with the expectation that she would testify, given that between her demeanor and her inability to open her mouth without lying she would have almost certainly buried herself within minutes, and given that it doesn't speak highly of either their trial preparation or client control that this was a surprise. (Really, the defense wanted to put her on the stand to explain that she kept garbage in her trunk for so long that her car smelled like it had a rotting corpse in the trunk, coincidentally at the time her child was missing, and that she abandoned her car at an airport because it ran out of gas? No freakin' way did they believe she was going to testify.)
Though nobody coached her on her mannerisms before the court, Mason did say that he and his lawyers did try to keep her emotions down, which he explained was “pretty hard to do when family [testified] against her and people [were] calling for [her] blood like a lynch mob.”
Nobody talked to the client about how to comport herself during court? For a first degree murder trial with a possibility of the death penalty? Seriously? Also, given that Anthony's mother gave testimony that, in my opinion, wasn't even close to credible about searching for "chlorophyll" and accidentally coming up with "chloroform", it seems she was trying to help Anthony. Did her parents get a bit angry with her when she tried to blame her partying after the death of her daughter on her supposedly being molested by her father? Or that her defense accused both of them of being somehow involved in the cover-up of her child's death and disappearance? I expect so - but are we to believe that, also, was a surprise to the defense team?

I accept this:
Mason continued to defend his client and stated that though there was no question she told a lot of stories to a lot of people, it was from a protective mechanism and not out of guilt of murder.
Whatever happened to the child, and whatever her role in the death, I have never sensed that Anthony has suffered even a moment of guilt. You will note that every single one of her lies was directional - minimizing her role in the disappearance and death, explaining away her inconsistent behaviors, attempting to blame others for the child's death and the dumping of the body in the woods and, if that failed, attempting to play "I was molested" as a trump card. As for "Casey’s demeanor and expressions, which were cold one second and crying the next," I didn't follow the trial but what I saw suggested that she became very upset when she started to feel sorry for herself. If sociopathy can be described as a "protective mechanism", I'll concur with Mason that Casey Anthony appears to have a "protective mechanism" in spades.

Given that Mason is claiming to believe that his client was ready and able to testify, implicitly with satisfactory explanations for her countless lies, and that she's now protected from retrial, I wonder when we can expect all of that information in some form of public statement that will make us recognize that this was all one big misunderstanding. No, actually I don't.

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