austindefender

Criminal defense in Austin Texas.

Objection! I want to leave the jury wondering…

Posted By on June 17, 2011

The other day Jose Baez, the lawyer for Casey Anthony, asked a witness a question: “Were you asked to do a paternity test to determine whether Lee Anthony was Caylee’s father?”

The answer to the question was, “Yes, and he wasn’t.”

The jury didn’t hear that answer, though, because prosecutor Jeff Ashton objected, and the jury was sent away. Judge later struck the question, and told the jury not to consider it. (Whatever that means; a question, after all, is not evidence.)

Had the jury heard the answer, what would they have thought? After all, Lee was not the father. The result of the test is evidence of nothing. Even if he had been, it would have been evidence that Casey had engaged in an adult incestuous relationship; not that she was a victim as a child. Finally, even if she was a victim of child abuse, that doesn’t mean she didn’t kill her daughter.

But the jury never heard it. Instead, they were left wondering.

What conclusions are they likely to draw from that?

That the answer to the question would have hurt the prosecution?
That the answer to the question was, “Yes, Lee Anthony was the father”?
That the prosecutor doesn’t want them to have certain information?
That he doesn’t trust their judgment?
That he doesn’t trust his case?
That they’re being asked to make a life and death decision without all the facts?

The prosecutor has chosen to make a lot of objections. I’m not sure that’s a good strategy for the state in a death penalty case.


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