In another segment of “The Real Attorneys of OCC” sits Honorable Judge Belvin Perry, wearing his black robe, gavel in hand, ten minutes till 9:00am for Day 3 of the Frye hearings in preparation of the 1st Degree Murder Trial of Casey Anthony.
Casey Anthony, wearing a pink, scoop-necked sweater, and her hair tied back in a ponytail sits quietly taking notes. Casey, the star of this show is seated at the table with her defense attorneys Jose Baez, Cheney Mason and Dorothy Sims as they do the job they were hired to do which is to defend the most sensationalized, criticized suspect the United States has seen since the Orenthal James Simpson trial in 1995.

Part 3 of the Frye hearing originally scheduled one week earlier began on a good note as Officer McBride took the stand to testify to the smell of a garbage bag that was once in Casey Anthony’s trunk. She explained the changing of hands as to how the garbage bag was retrieved to where it was brought to the bay area of the OCSO for inspection.

It was defense attorney Jose Baez who during questioning had her acknowledge that the smell of the garbage bag reeked with a foul odor but when SAO Jeff Ashton cross examined her, she also agreed the car was there in the bay as well and it could have been the car that she was smelling and not the bag. All went well and then Cindy Anthony, Casey’s mother took the stand.

Cindy Anthony the Surprise Witness of the Day, admitted to Jose Baez that on the afternoon of July 15, 2008, after her husband George retrieved the car from the tow yard she opened the windows, hood and trunk of the car because of a horrible odor. She said she found Caylee’s backpack and her Mama doll in the back of the car.

Of course Cindy being Cindy had much more to add so Jeff Ashton being Jeff Ashton, began with the first of many by objecting to Cindy’s testimony. He shamelessly objected and called her testimony a “narrative” which rendered no objection from the defense.

Jose Baez’s questioning was concise, then Jeff Ashton took over on cross examination. His intention was solely to set the record that Cindy had first said in deposition that she didn’t use air freshener sheets and now she says she had. Cindy explained she was under duress and understandably had forgotten many things that she’d done during this traumatic time. Jeff Ashton was not impressed and was smug as he returned to his chair thinking I just made Cindy Anthony look like a liar. Cindy Anthony was dismissed.
Things took a turn for the worst when Kenneth Furton, professor of forensic biology took the stand. Jose Baez began his line of questions in the usual format. Dr. Kenneth Furton provided to the court his notable educational background, the fact he’d authored 120 publications focused on complex chemical mixtures, publications in the Journal of Chromatographic Science and mentioned the FBI had also funded some of his research. Furton added that he studies the capabilities of K-9s and that he was an early researcher in the study of odor signature of decomposition and its variables. There is much more to his resume but briefly stated, it was impressive.
His job for the defense team was basically to dispute the State’s expert witness, Dr. Arpad Vass and his “Labrador” the hand-held Clandestine Grave Sniffer Machine and give some testimony to cadaver dog capabilities.
The rest of his testimony didn’t not fare as well.
As Jose Baez was doing a stellar job in establishing Dr Furton as an expert scientist in his field of studies he was annoyingly interrupted by Jeff Ashton’s unfounded and obnoxious objections which by the way, Jose Baez has a wonderful way with words that makes scientific terms easy for a layman to understand such as myself. During the Baez’s questioning of Dr Furton and Jeff Ashton feverishly objecting to every other statement, the hearing began to fall apart. It was apparent that Judge Perry was slowly losing his patience.
As the examination of Dr Furton went on, things got uglier when Jeff Ashton inferred a part of Dr Furton’s testimony wasn’t in the report Jeff Ashton had demanded from the defense. This is the report that Ashton had fought so vehemently for through various motions he had filed to the Court months earlier. He wanted every expert witness to specify exactly what they would testify to. He complained to Judge Perry that Baez was “ambushing” him. Ashton continued to whine to Judge Perry that “his testimony has changed and so has his opinion”. Judge Perry disagreed and over ruled his objection warning him, “next time don’t be so specific”.
I can’t help but wonder if the recent motion filed by Cheney Mason claiming bias from Judge Perry and asking for a re-hearing set off the fireworks which helped to turn this hearing from informative and pleasant to an all out war.
This is a good example of Judge Perry’s attitude and many disparaging remarks towards Defense Attorney Jose Baez.
Is Perry simply showing favoritism towards Ashton or is he really bias towards the Defense team? By Judge Perry making Ashton his favorite pet in a courtroom could easily be perceived as being an unfair and unreasonable judge. Because of this, any and all rulings against the defense are looked upon as being biased even if Judge Perry is making rulings with the best of his knowledge as a Judge.
In the outburst below, notice how Judge Perry yells “Everyone be quiet” only when Jose Baez tried to object to Ashton badgering his witness.

A professor of forensic biology, Kenneth Furton, took the stand next.
Ashton became frustrated when he accused Furton of not answering his question.
“That wasn’t my question to you sir!” stated Ashton. “Sir, that was not my question.”
At that point, Judge Belvin Perry said, “Just a second.”
However, when Baez tried to object to Ashton’s questioning, Perry became frustrated.
“Just a second! Everyone be quiet!” Perry hollered. “You can rephrase the question.”

This act of favoritism cannot be denied and I need to say it since the media hasn’t the guts to call it they way they REALLY see it.

It means nothing to me that Jeff Ashton became frustrated as WFTV tried to excuse Ashton’s behavior. The bottom line of this particular incident is that Perry only stopped Ashton when Baez rightfully attempted to object. At that point, he admonishes both of them and warns that he’ll fine them $100 if they speak to each other in the court room.
Doesn’t this sound like a kindergarten classroom?
This is not my opinion. This is a fact. Jeff Ashton has been the Golden Boy of the courtroom whereas Jose Baez has been the bad boy. If Jeff Ashton is getting his panties in a wad for not having his way in a few motions, how is he going to handle himself during trial? Is Judge Perry giving in to his tantrums to avoid a scene like what a mother does to a brat acting out at the mall? When things get out of hand then Baez becomes the Whipping Boy.

Notice how Judge Perry’s tone changes when he sustains one of Ashton’s numerous objections as to the Frye issue, Baez politely says “I think it does” yet he respectfully complies and tries to get on with the questioning then you’ll hear Judge Perry retort, “well unfortunately I don’t so move on.” Listening to that doesn’t make me think Judge Perry is bias but it does seem he’s favoring prosecutor Jeff Ashton over particularly defense attorney Jose Baez. What solidifies my belief is that I’ve never heard him use that tone with Jeff Ashton.
True, I feel childish as I write this article because this isn’t about the feelings of a couple of grown men who are degreed, educated attorneys, This is about a Court of Law which his trying a capital murder case and no, I won’t add “death penalty” because that doesn’t’ matter. I agree it really doesn’t because I’d expect respectful professional behavior even if this were a shoplifting case.
From the media, I’ve heard enough excuses for Jeff Ashton’s behavior and only cruel denunciation for Jose Baez’s errors. This is unfair.

If we can’t excuse Cindy Anthony because she says she forgot that she laid out air freshener sheets in Casey’s car because she was emotional, how can we accept this excuse for a professional prosecutor who deals in emotions everyday when person’s freedom or possibly life are held in the balance?

It wouldn’t be a victory for either side if Judge Perry were recused but if he’s unable to control his prosecutor and insist on respect from all attorneys in the courtroom, then perhaps this case requires another judge who can.