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Courtroom Showdown in Casey Anthony Trial; Casey in Court; "Baby Grace" Trial

Aired January 30, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a wild day in court in the Caylee Anthony murder case. On judge`s orders, the mother accused of killing her baby Caylee is dragged into court and displays a radically new look, complete with a hair bun as the circuit court circus begins.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there any motivation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It baffles logic.

An all-out war in the courtroom as the defense and prosecution goes for each other`s throats. The defense even tries to get the entire prosecution team thrown off the case. Did it work?

The defense did get the go-ahead to venture back to the scene of the remains to sift through that dirt. Why do they want to? We`ll debate it. And we`ll have expert analysis of Casey`s dramatic image makeover.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Plus, a stunning suicide note. There`s an unexpected twist in the Baby Grace murder trial. A man charged with torturing and beating to death his wife`s 2-year-old baby writes, "My wife is innocent" in the note. Does that absolve her of the murder? Not by a mile. I`ll explain why.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, brand new video of accused murder Casey Anthony in court today. Take a look. Clearly, she has had a makeover. There she is, dressed in a conservative blazer and sporting a new hair bun.

Anthony`s star-studded defense team scored one victory today. The judge ruled the defense can search the woods where little Caylee`s remains were found. But the defense flamed out when they argued that the entire prosecution team should be removed for allegedly trying to smear the name of Casey`s lead attorney, Jose Baez.


LINDA KINNEY BADEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Your honor, because you do wear the robes to protect all of the interests of our clients, Ms. Anthony, when it comes to the basic fundamental rights and the right to the fair trial and the right to representation of her Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

Now we have filed this motion, asking your honor to ask the prosecutors to voluntarily recuse themselves or whatever persons in the office this may be applicable to because of an incident that arose that we became aware of, again as we have become aware of many things in this case, through the media.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Couldn`t see her, but you could hear her. Despite that powerful monologue by famous defense attorney Linda Kinney Baden, Judge Stan Strickland was having none of it, calling the accusations short on facts.


JUDGE STAN STRICKLAND, ORANGE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: The motion to recuse is denied. The state`s attorney`s office has about 190 lawyers or something like that, and these three aren`t involved.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Smackdown. Then another stunner: indications today that the trial may not start for another year.

We have so much to talk about. Bill Manion, pathologist and assistant medical examiner for Burlington County, New Jersey; Judge Jeanine Pirro, former district attorney and host of "The Judge Jeanine Pirro Show"; Pam Bondi, Florida state prosecutor; and Jay Fahey, criminal defense attorney. There he is. And Rozzie Franco, reporter for WFLA, 540 AM.

Rozzie what is the very latest?

ROZZIE FRANCO, WFLA REPORTER: Well, as you saw there, attorney Linda Kinney Baden was actually arguing the point in that motion to recuse. But that motion was denied. Judge Stan Strickland simply said today it was not a violation of Casey Anthony`s Sixth Amendment rights. Obviously that`s what their argument was on behalf of actually trying to get the prosecution removed because they launched an investigation into -- into Jose Baez.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And there was actually a much stronger argument, I thought, Judge Jeanine Pirro, in terms of the defense saying, "Hey, these guys have got to go." And again they lost in court today, but I thought their stronger argument, which they didn`t really emphasize was all the leaks coming out of the prosecution side.

They said in their motion the chloroform was revealed to the public by sources close to the investigation, the chloroform in Casey`s trunk, long before the discovery was out. The tape -- the duct tape over little Caylee`s mouth was revealed to the public by sources close to the investigation. Isn`t that the stronger argument? Why didn`t they use that?

JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO, "THE JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO SHOW": Jane, there`s no question that these are substantive arguments that the prosecution had no right to leak. And I would think that there would be an investigation, Jane, into who on the prosecution`s team -- whether it`s law enforcement, whether it`s some of the agencies working with them -- have been leaking this information because it is truly tainting the jury pool.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You really think that?

PIRRO: But having said that -- well, yes, I do think it would ultimately come out. But it`s more than that, Jane. What you`ve got are two sides who are now nitpicking at each other. They don`t get along. They`re trying to get the D.A. recused and have the attorney general come in. Well, that`s just unheard of. It`s not done. It`s like a bunch of babies running around, trying to get some resolve or some resolution, where you know what? It`s the way this game is played. This is knockdown, drag- out murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Pam Bondi, you`re a Florida state prosecutor, do you think all these leaks are poisoning the jury pool?

PAM BONDI, FLORIDA STATE PROSECUTOR: Well, first of all, they can`t pin down at all that it came from the prosecution. I know that officer, very ethical office, Officer Lamar`s (ph) office, but it could have come from dozens of law enforcement officers. Should this stuff have been leaked out? Of course not. But they can`t prove it was the prosecution.

Now, the problem with tainting the jury pool with that is that, Jane, all the jury`s going to find out all that information anyway if they`re seated on the jury. But, sure, none of that should have come out.

But the standard is whether they have formed an opinion based on what they had heard with all the pretrial publicity.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to talk about Casey Anthony`s look. Because, as we all know, Jose Baez fought to keep her out of court, saying every time Casey Anthony shows up in court it creates such a media furor that it really, again, taints the jury pool and prevents her from getting a fair trial.

So guess what? We`re going to talk about her appearance, because in my opinion, Jay Fahey, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, it`s very much part and parcel of this entire case.

She`s got a new look. That is a strategy, obviously. She`s coming across with a bun and a suit jacket, looking all conservative. We have a right and, in fact, an obligation to comment. And every other high-profile case -- you can talk about Michael Jackson -- we obsessed about every kooky outfit he wore to court every single day, and this guy was acquitted on all counts.

So why is Jose Baez trying to make a big deal about his client showing up in court?

JAY FAHEY, FORMER PROSECUTOR AND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The No. 1 -- every time the client does come to court, it is a media circus. I think -- I think she probably doesn`t want to come to court, and that`s why he`s making a fuss about it.

But if we want to talk about her look, Now she looks like -- almost like a school marm, almost like a nun. And that`s how -- I think that`s the way they want to project her. If we look at all of the media coverage of her, she always came across as a partier, someone that was getting tattoos, someone that was clubbing, an attractive young mother.

Now they`re trying to -- she looks like she`s gained a little bit of weight. Whether that`s lack of makeup or she in fact gained weight I don`t know. But the look now is one of a mother, a matronly type of person, even given her young age, so that she might be more sympathetic to the jury. I think it`s very smart.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judge Jeanine Pirro, what`s really poisoning the jury, if they`re being poisoned at all, would be the pictures of her out partying, which have been shown, and we have some -- maybe we can show you now -- her out partying while her child was missing before anybody knew, before it was reported to authorities when she said she was doing an investigation.

PIRRO: Right. Right, she`s out partying. I mean, she`s doing all the gang signs. And, you know, she`s bumping and grinding in some of these places, but it`s even worse than that. She`s buying lingerie and beer with a stolen, you know, check.

I mean, but understand, Jane, this is theater. At the end of the day, it`s theater. Those 12 people will look at her for many, many weeks, and we are now seeing a new image of her. And you and I get it, and Jay gets it, and Pam gets it. But those 12 jurors don`t know here. They think, "Gee, this is the real, you know, Casey Anthony, and maybe she was a good mother. And let`s give her the benefit of the doubt."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think they`re even trying to tone down her looks because everybody has obviously commented that she`s an attractive young woman. And they`re trying to make her plain, which I think is absolutely fascinating.

Now, you know, perhaps the biggest news to come out of today`s hearing, no trial date. Listen to this.


LINDA DRANE BURDICK, ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: ... the trial until later this year. If the case doesn`t come to trial for another year, things can change dramatically and venue change might not be necessary.

JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY`S ATTORNEY: I`d like to know, A, if we`re moving somewhere and to be able to prepare in advance for that specific area and make the arrangements. It`s not a -- it`s not a one, two, three, thing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pam Bondi another year?

Oh, my gosh. The prosecutor today, if you`re right, Casey Anthony`s case would not come to trial until later this year, perhaps next year. And what shocked me, nobody threw up their hands and said, "What?" It`s going to be a long haul.

BONDI: That`s actually the average on a murder case with this many witnesses and this complicated. And you have to remember, they just found that body a few months ago. So there`s a lot of brand-new evidence that`s still coming in.

And I`m sure the defense wants to take hundreds of depositions in this case to be adequately prepared. And then the prosecution needs to depose all of their defense experts. We have very open laws in the state of Florida. So it sounds like a long time but in a case of this magnitude, it`s really not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Judge Jeanine Pirro, it just bugs me, when I hear that a case of this magnitude has to wait a year because all the sides have to be so well prepared. What about the average Joe or Jane that gets convicted and the case moves very speedily through the criminal justice system and there isn`t that preparation? Again, it reminds me of a dual system of justice.

PIRRO: Right. And you know what? When you say a case of this magnitude, murder is murder. Is someone is charged with murder, whether it`s of a child or a neighbor or anyone else, they are facing life in prison, of course if the prosecutor doesn`t seek death.

And although I agree with what Pam`s saying, you know, it is -- it`s hypocritical at the end of the day to say, well, look, because it`s such a big case we got to be ready. Hogwash. You know, t he truth is you get your evidence, you`ve got your toxicology, you do what you`ve got to do and you move this case like any other case.

BONDI: A case of this magnitude means they found the body just several months ago after they indicted her. There are dozens of expert witnesses, and now the defense has come in with dozens of expert witnesses.

PIRRO: And they all need to be -- my officers have found bodies in the woods, too, of young children. OK? That doesn`t mean that you take many months or a year after that. You indict, you get the evidence, you get your tests and then you take it to trial.

BONDI: Right. And I think that`s what`s going on and that`s the reality.

FAHEY: ... Florida. And in Florida, it`s different than the rest of the country. The defense bar gets to cross-examine and to depose witnesses for the prosecution.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And there`s 140-some names on the prosecution witness list.

FAHEY: And this delay -- this...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, guys, hang on. In a second, we`re going to be back.

Remember, Nancy Grace up immediately following this program at 8 p.m. She will have the very latest on Casey Anthony`s stunning court appearance, much more analysis on the Caylee Anthony case right here on ISSUES tonight.

In just a moment, we`re going to look at how Casey Anthony`s choice of wardrobe is part of a long tradition of courtroom makeovers, and we will examine the strategy.

Plus, more on the People magazine story that says there were rifts in the Anthony long before the Caylee tragedy. First take a listen to today`s legal wrangling over the location and the date of the trial.


BADEN: I don`t anticipate being ready for trial until later this year.

If the case doesn`t come to trial for another year, things can change dramatically, and a venue change might not be necessary.

BAEZ: I would like to know, A, if we`re moving somewhere and be able to prepare in advance for that specific area and make the arrangements. It`s not a one, two, three thing.



STRICKLAND: And the actual basis for the motion is, as I said, denied. The state attorney`s office has something like 190 lawyers or something like that. These three aren`t involved.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s Judge Stan Strickland, smacking down the defense motion to recuse, which is a fancy way of saying get rid of the prosecution team. That team will remain in place.

As for the judge`s orders, we`re back discussing today`s court hearing for newly-made-over Casey Anthony with my fantastic panel. Other big news about this hearing was from the crime scene. Take a listen to this.


STRICKLAND: Begin with the -- Mr. Baez, your motion to inspect the crime scene.

BAEZ: We have been advised by our forensic botanists that the client list is now growing, and it`s very important that we see the scene because there may be vital evidence to that -- to that area. So...

STRICKLAND: Your motion is granted. You have access to the scene. Any and all access that you need, I suppose we`ll hear from them at some point. But you`re certainly entitled to go in there and inspect.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There you see Casey Anthony furiously taking notes.

Dr. Bill Manion, I`m not really clear on what plant growth today has to do with having to inspect the scene of a location where a body was dumped a long time ago. What`s the relevance of plant growth today?

BILL MANION, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, different plants will feed off decomposed body more successfully. And there may be generations of these plants that grow over time, that evolve over time.

And certainly, the defense is entitled to have their plant experts, their botanists and also their entomologists to inspect that area. I have a feeling they`re going to resift the area. They may even bring in the cadaver dogs to see if any other bodies were dumped in this area.

In Casey`s defense, remember that there`s no evidence of child abuse in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think there is.

MANION: Oftentimes, in child cases of death, we find broken bones, broken ribs. Nothing like that was found in that autopsy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s no physical evidence of trauma to the body, according to the autopsy. I will agree with you there. But just to clarify, Rozzie Franco, certainly, what she was originally charged with had to do with neglect of a child. Correct?

FRANCO: That`s correct. And we also know that she was searching on her computer or rather a computer that she frequently used, neck breaking, chloroform, among a number of things that she was looking at. I mean, neck breaking in itself, you know, for her to be looking at that is just kind of disturbing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, although...

MANION: It can be used to anesthetize a child so parents can go out and party or somebody can go out and party. So this may have been an accidental overdose of chloroform, and she panicked afterwards.


FRANCO (?): There are a number of theories.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are...

PIRRO: How do you possibly consider it an accidental overdose of chloroform when she`s also looking at neck breaking, if it`s the same computer, and looking at household weapons? You know what I mean? It all comes together. But the duct tape could have been after the fact. I mean, that we don`t know.

But, you know, Doctor, with all due respect, you know, there`s no way to know whether or not, you know, this is just an accident that happened or whether it was a planned accident.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, why would you put -- the point that`s been made about the duct tape, and I certainly don`t have any of the answers, but this is a point that has been made, is that you don`t put duct tape over a child`s mouth after the child is deceased. There`s no point. So if you put the duct tape over a child`s mouth before she`s deceased, that to me says premeditated murder.

What do you say, Pam?

BONDI: Right. Sure, it does. And as well as what we`ve said, the neck breaking, the chloroform. She`s out partying, you know. And the underlying felony, of course, is going to be aggravated child abuse for felony murder.

In Florida you can prove it two ways. It`s a great murder statute. They don`t have to rely on one. They can go premeditated and/or they can go felony murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jay Fahey, I want to ask you about this intent to search the scene of the remains by the defense. What I hear, and correct me if I`m wrong, is they`re going to look around. They`re going to find something like a beer can that had some unidentified fingerprints on it. And then they`re going to produce this at trial and say, "Look, here`s another piece of evidence that they didn`t talk about. And this person whose fingerprints we`ve got here, but we don`t know who it is, that`s the real killer."

That`s a possibility. I`m amazed that a motion has to be brought for this. Because when I practice in New York and New Jersey, if the defense team wants to, whether it`s doing a second autopsy, whether it`s going to a crime scene, once the prosecution and the D.A.`s offices has done their investigation on a particular scene the defense always has a right to it. So it`s kind of silly that there was even a motion for it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the owners -- the owners...

MANION: The private owner didn`t want the defense on their grounds. So I think that might be the reason also.

FAYE: That`s a possibility.

But the judge was ordering the prosecutor. That`s the sense that I got from this motion. And that wasn`t clear there.

The bottom line, though, is there may be -- if there is anything at that scene, if there are other bones that they find, if there are -- there may be a duct tape roll that the investigators missed. If the investigators missed something and it comes up, it could help the defense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judge Jeanine, is this one of these preparations for a garbage-in, garbage-out defense? Where, you know, you could take anything and make it seem significant. I can take a picture of a street with no lights on and say there`s been a blackout. It doesn`t mean there`s been a blackout.

PIRRO: Right, right. And you know, that`s the defense attorney`s job in a case where, you know, I`m sure Pam will agree also, has overwhelming proof of guilt. I mean, I don`t think there`s any question about what happened here.

But at the end of the day, the defense is going to throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks. And remember, they`ve got no burden of proof, only to raise doubt in one person`s mind.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good point. OK, hold all those thoughts. This morning it looked like Casey had a bit of a courtroom makeover, didn`t it? We`ll look at other high-profile style makeovers to see what it says about the suspect`s mindset and the strategy next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There we see Casey Anthony arriving at court this morning. Clearly, it`s makeover time. Casey was wearing a conservative pantsuit and a new swept-up hair do. Is this hand of the clean courtroom makeover, a.k.a., Linda Kinney Baden, Casey`s heavyweight New York attorney.

Here to talk about Casey`s new look is Lisa Bloom, anchor of "In Session."

First of all, what image is the defense trying to portray with Casey`s new look? I mean, to be honest, obviously, demure, business-like, but what does the hair bun do for them?

LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": Please, this is so inconsistent with who Casey Anthony really is. We`ve all seen those pictures of her partying in the clubs, going crazy.

And you know, you can`t completely remake your client. They can take the Hernandez brothers and put them in conservative sweaters. That might work. Take Casey Anthony and make her into a librarian, forget it. It`s just not going to fly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, she even had her looks toned down, because she`s attractive and she looks rather plain today. Wow.

You mentioned some other crazy makeovers. We`ve got some for you here that are real winners. And you know this one very well, the classic courtroom makeover of Phil Specter who was also -- no coincidence here -- represented by Linda Kinney Baden.

BLOOM: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at the original do that he walked in with. People were calling him the giant light bulb. And then take a look to the right, the beautiful page boy that he ended up with. And it worked for him. There was a mistrial.

BLOOM: You know what? I don`t know whether it was just the hair that resulted in the mistrial. Some people would say (ph) his attorneys did. But I`ll tell you this. Phil Specter supposedly wore wigs. And those were all wigs, including that crazy one. He didn`t just roll out of bed like that. That was actually a wig that was made for him. And the more conservative, Mickey Dolan little Monkees look, that was also a wig, allegedly -- allegedly made by his wife, Rochelle, although she denied it. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, speaking of wigs, I personally don`t think Casey`s hair is long enough to go up in a bun. I think that`s a hairpiece.

BLOOM: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, who can forget Courtney Love, in court multiple times for various bad behavior offenses? There she is in the early days, looking like she`s about to have a major wardrobe malfunction, a.k.a. Janet Jackson.

And let`s see the after picture. This is the makeover. Look at her.

BLOOM: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Semi-demure there, pulled together. Your thoughts on this one?

BLOOM: You always want to wear a jacket in the courtroom, because that instantly makes you more conservative. And so she`s following some good advice there, just like Casey did. You want a jacket, you want a high neckline. If you`re wearing a skirt, it should be below the knee. Low heels. Conservative is the order of the day. Dress as if you`re going to church or if you`re going to a funeral and you`re not going to go wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you`ll appreciate this, because sometimes lawyers get in on the act and you`re a lawyer. Remember Paul McCartney`s lawyer, Fiona Shackleton? In his divorce trial with then wife Heather Mills, at first she had sort of this bouffant look, sort of dated.

And then, after Heather Mills threw a glass of water on her, she got the slicked-back Diana look and it worked for her, and she got a lot of compliments, and she kept it.

BLOOM: Well, you know what, Jane? There`s a reason why British barristers typically wear wigs in the courtroom. They don`t have to worry about their hair. Anything that Fiona Shackleton has is better than the little curly, white wigs that they still wear in English courts. I mean, that`s really hard for me to understand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Lisa, I really appreciate your insight. You`ve seen it all, and I`m sure we`re going to see more of Casey and new outfits as this case progresses. Thank you so much. Come back soon.

More developments from Casey Anthony`s court appearance in just a moment.

Plus another mother on trial for killing her young daughter. I will have an update on a really, really horrific case, the Baby Grace trial.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN ANCHOR: With her hair tied back and topped off with a bun and a conservative jacket strapped on, Casey Anthony reluctantly goes back to court. The young woman charged with murdering her baby girl Caylee sits calmly as her attorneys launch attacks on the prosecution.

Is this the new trial of the century?

Brand new video tonight of Casey Anthony in court today a new hearing and a new look for the accused killer mom. Among the most newsworthy developments: A trial may not happen for a whole year.

back with my panel, Bill Manion, pathologist and assistant medical examiner for Burlington County, New Jersey; Judge Jeanine Pirro, former district attorney and host of the "Judge Jeanine Pirro Show;" Jay Fahy, a criminal defense attorney; Pam Bondi, Florida state prosecutor; and Rozzie Franco, a reporter for WFLA 540 AM.

We`re on the wardrobe subject right now, Judge Jeanine, and there are some significant legal issues here. The first time that Casey Anthony or the most recent time before this that Casey Anthony came to court, it was a last-minute thing because she wanted to stay in jail and the judge said no, you`ve got to come in.

And she came in jailhouse blue and then she had trouble raising her hand because it was shackled. And today you don`t see any shackles at all and she`s in civilian clothes. What are the criteria for those kinds of decisions and why the change?

JEANINE PIRRO, "JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO": Well, first of all, she was dragged into court in her prison blues and her shackles because she was supposed to be there, she refused to come to court. The judge had every right as I would have done as a judge to drag her into court and to be there.

Now, you talk about Linda Kenny, who I`ve known for many years, she is definitely taking charge of this. You`ve got a woman who is despised, I probably -- I can imagine that on the negative scale, that she`s off the charts.

But what they`re trying to do is put her in a situation where she is dressed for court every day, she knows she`s coming, there are wardrobes that will be picked out for her. I don`t know who`s paying for this, but at the end of the day, it will make a tremendous difference.

She`s got to be there, she cannot refuse to come to court and if she does, if she makes some kind of noise or makes a ruckus, then the judge can say, ok, you`re out of here and you don`t come back.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Pam Bondi, when do they say you have to wear the shackles and when don`t they?

PAM BONDI, FLORIDA STATE PROSECUTOR: When she`s a threat. And right now I don`t believe she`s a threat. And they`re acting as if because of all the television cameras in the room, she`s at trial, so they`re letting her dress out in her plain clothes which I can see the judge doing that. I think initially it`s going to help her. I think when the jury comes in and they`re selected, it`s going to beneficial to her appearance.

But I think it`s going to backfire and she`s going to appear disingenuous the second this prosecutors blow up those huge pictures of her dirty dancing in the bars. Then they`re going to se the real Casey Anthony.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, listen carefully to this because I need somebody to analyze it for me. Brad Conway, the Anthony family`s attorney exchanged words with the Judge Strickland. It was really hard to understand at this point but let`s listen.


BRAD CONWAY, ANTHONY FAMILY ATTORNEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Our prime condition is clear. They want to expedite the court`s ability to rule on the discovery issues; expedite the ability of the defense to receive discovery. They wanted to be here personally but the events of the last two weeks have prevented that. They have asked me to waive conflict regarding the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) they have provided information in regard to Caylee`s (UNINTELLIGIBLE) remains.

And that`s out of compassion and concern for not only their daughter, but for them. So they have instructed me to waive conflict.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So he said the family gave permission to waive conflict with Equisearch`s lawyer. Conway also says the Anthony`s want the prosecution to speed up the case.

I`m going to ask you, Bill Manion, what is the significance of the defense wanting to get its paws on all the Equisearch documents.

Texas Equisearch fought it in court today and said no, we don`t want to hand over our documents. And the defense says they need those 20,000 pages of documents for their defense. Why do they need that? It`s just a record of volunteers who went around looking for little Caylee.

BILL MANION, PATHOLOGIST AND ASSISTANT MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, it`s my understanding that these woods were searched before and could this body have been brought there later and left? Remember, she was indicted when there was no body, she was charged with homicide.

So maybe later, somehow an accomplice decided to dump the body. It didn`t matter whether the body was found or not, since she was already charged with homicide.

In addition, Jose Baez is trying to make a motion to get fingerprint evidence and DNA evidence about her former fiance, Jesse Grund. I mean, he`s trying to find out who the father is. Did Casey say I want the father to start paying alimony? And maybe

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we don`t know who the father is, and on the birth certificate it says unknown.

But Pam Bondi, I do find it very strange that the defense is trying to get DNA evidence to determine that former fiance, Jesse Grund is not the father.

To me what it says is they`re going to create a mystery father possibly and make that mystery father, who nobody knows who the father is, the killer.

BONDI: Sure, that`s what I thought, they`re looking for alternate suspects and as far as them wanting all of Equisearch`s records too, it`s a fishing expedition. They`re looking for anything they can get, which is their job, to muddy the waters because as Jeanine said the prosecution has a very strong case.

And that`s what they`re trying to do, they`re trying to drag it ought.


JAY FAHY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If Texas Equisearch searched that area, and they almost had to. It`s less than -- it`s basically a quarter of a mile from the house.

MANION: It`s an old playground of the Casey`s.

FAHY: It`s almost impossible they did not search that and if someone searched --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, here`s the point, I think Rozzie wants to jump in with the water issue.

ROZZIE FRANCO, REPORTER FOR WFLA 540 AM: Yes, exactly. There was water, I mean, it was under water at the time. We had floods around that time. So it was hard for Texas Equisearch to actually get in there.

PIRRO: No the point is this, Jane, it goes back to what we`ve talked about before. And that is that they`re going to throw everything they`ve got up against a wall and see what sticks. Of all the thousands of people who volunteered for Equisearch, at the end of the day, there`s someone who`s got a record, who`s got an agenda, who`s got a bias, what they`re going to do is try to say that someone from Equisearch either placed the body, killed the baby or is a pedophile.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh my God, that to me is sinister if they try to do that. Because Pam Bondi, these are good-hearted people who volunteered their time to go search for missing children --

BONDI: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this is what Tim Miller of Texas Equisearch said. It`s going to kill this whole movement of search for missing kids because people -- good-hearted people would be afraid to come forward because they`ll think, "I`m going to end up in court."

BONDI: That`s exactly right and that`s what they`re trying to do by doing this, they`re just trying to drag all these people in and anything they can find --

FAHY: That`s nonsense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who is saying that`s nonsense?

FAHY: If -- let`s assume that Texas Equisearch had found the body, that person who found it knows that if they find the body, they`re going to be dragged into court anyway.

So if people searched that scene, whether it was muddy, under water, or -- we say it was under water, whether it was under water or not, that`s another issue, but these people that are involved as volunteers I`m glad that they things like that but they are subjecting themselves to coming into court. Because they`re hoping to find a body, so if they find the body of course, they`re going to go to court.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Judge Jeanine.

BONDI: But most of them didn`t and most of them didn`t find the body. And now it`s just causing turmoil in their lives, their names are going to be out there. And Tim Miller is just trying to protect his organization. Any relevant person is going to be revealed by the prosecution.

PIRRO: This will have a chilling effect on everyone who because of an emotional reaction to the lost of a child goes out to try to help. What you`re doing is you`re shutting these people down.

And by the way, Jay, you know I respect you, but at the end of the day, these people don`t really think they`re going to find the body, they think that they`re going to maybe find something that will help. So I`m not --

FAHY: But even if they find something that they help if they find a sweater, and then they`re going to be a witness, this people are hoping to find something that will lead to -- whatever missing child they`re looking for or whatever evidence they have --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Rozzie, isn`t the person who is the most -- let`s put it this way, police, when the meter reader called police in August and said come down here, one of the things they said was, "Oh, it`s already been searched by cadaver dogs."

So isn`t that the best evidence for the defense? The very fact that the police in their report say they searched that very area with cadaver dogs and they didn`t come up with a body?

FRANCO: That`s probably the best defense obviously for the defense team. But the problem with that statement is that the report said something and the spokesperson said something else, he said there were never cadaver dogs in that area.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So how do you reconcile that, Pam Bondi, I mean, you`re a prosecutor. Don`t the authorities keep records? How would they have a record that says cadaver dogs clear the area is in fact cadaver dogs never went there?

BONDI: Sure and I would imagine cadaver dogs would have been there and yes, if they have that in their records, that`s what they`re going to have to stick to. And what I remember hearing is that cadaver dogs went there, but they couldn`t get far enough back because of the level of the water.

So were just going to have to wait and see on that. But sure, this is in a report that cadaver dogs where there, I don`t know how they`re going to get out of that.

FRANCO: Well, as far as cadaver dogs go, I mean, if they can pull drowning victims out of larger bodies of water, so I can`t imagine cadaver dogs being dispatched to that particular area where it was maybe two feet deep and not being able to come up with something.

PIRRO: But that`s exactly the point. It is the definition of that area. When the cops say someone already did that area, is he talking about half an acre? Is he talking about 100 yards at the ends of the road? They didn`t define that, that`s why there is this semantical problem.

BONDI: And we also know that it was a very swampy area, and if you remember when it was drained, they found a dead water moccasin back there. Tim Miller said his horses and his people couldn`t go back in that area because it was dangerous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what? This whole discussion sounds like reasonable doubt to me. I hate to say that, but it does. I mean, you have so many people traipsing through there and so many different reports about what was or what was not there over so many different visits that it`s creating confusion in my head and I could certainly think it`s going to create confusion in the jurors head.

FAHY: But that`s exactly why Texas Equisearch, those records should be made available, because if some of those people who went at that scene, these are objective people and not law enforcement people that can testify to what they saw.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, I want to thank my fantastic panel for that vigorous debate, please comeback soon, you guys are the best.

Don`t forget, Nancy Grace has been following the Caylee Anthony case since day one. And she will have the very latest next at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Do not miss it.

Coming up, a mother accused of torturing and beating her young daughter to death. Kimberly Trenor is on trial, stunning twist in this horrific case, not one, but two -- two suicide notes, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A mother on trial for beating and torturing her daughter. In just moments, I`ll have an update on this horrific story.

But first "Top of the Block" tonight.

Apparently the deteriorating economy has been pretty good for the elite few. Exxon Mobil shattered the profit record posting $45.2 billion in profit in 2008. This, despite oil prices plummeting by 70 percent since July. Now, these are the very same people who fought for tax breaks in the middle of last year`s financial crisis.

Meantime, Wall Street gave itself $18.4 billion in bonuses also in 2008, it was the sixth largest payout in history. It was roughly the same amount they gave themselves back in the easy money days of 2004. President Obama lashed out, calling the bonuses shameful and the height of irresponsibility.

We are living in two realities, those of us who suffer through this deteriorating economy and at the other end of the spectrum, self-entitled bigwigs who act with impunity. Hopefully President Obama will keep his end of the deal by looking out for the little folks. His tongue-lashing was a good start.

And now, to another young mother accused in the heartless and violent murder of her own baby girl. Twenty-year old Kimberly Trenor is on trial for brutally beating and torturing her daughter Riley who was the same age as little Caylee Anthony.

Texas prosecutors say Riley died after hours of horrific abuse at the hands of Trenor and her husband during a discipline session to teach her manners. As you may remember, Riley was originally called "Baby Grace" when her remains were found in a cooler in Galveston Bay. It took months to identify her.

Jurors sobbed, they cried, they wept as a police interrogation tape was played in court. In it Trenor gave a gruesome account of how Riley was whipped and dunked in cold water -- hurts to say this stuff and hurled across the room which crushed her skull.

Prosecutors say the toddler tried to stop the abuse by reaching out to her mother and saying, "I love you;" a truly incomprehensible scene of violence against a totally helpless child.

Let`s get to my expert panel: Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Dr. Judy Kuriansky, clinical psychologist and well-known author; Fred Tecce (ph), criminal defense attorney.

Just literally reading that made me sick to my stomach and studying the details of this case has made me profoundly depressed. How is it possible for parents to do this to their own children?

DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: It is absolutely ghoulish is - - which is the word that you have used Jane, when talking about cases like this. And in fact, there are statistics that show about 200 mothers engage in this filicide which is what we call murdering of the child. Usually the young children who are as you said, two years old, very defenseless. And there are two kinds of mothers, often the young single mothers who cannot care for her kids or who are angry at their children and aren`t prepared to be mothers and then other mothers who have psychotic disorders who are bipolar or schizophrenic. And many times these mothers have been abused themselves.

Where else did they get this idea about dunking the child in cold water, holding the child under the water, whipping them so brutally? They don`t understand discipline. All parents should know there are ways to discipline by rewarding what you want, not punishing in such brutal ways. What makes you stressed is getting the mothers to be less stressed themselves and the fathers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to read some things to you because there was something called a list of rules for Riley that really makes my stomach turn. We`re talking about a 2-year-old child. And of course, we know about the terrible twos, but what parent with half a brain would expect this from a child?

One - being polite; two - listen to mom and me; three - sleep at 8:00 p.m.; four - nap at 2 p.m.; five - toys stay in her room; six - put toys back where you got them; seven - behave in public; eight - never alone in our room; nine - chocolate treats only as a reward; 10 - left blank.

But what triggered the beating, Jayne Weintraub, was a demand that this little two-year-old say, "yes, sir" and "please."

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, looking at that list, Jane, doesn`t it look like a list written for the mother from the father? That`s what it looked like to me when I just read them. Not looking at it as a mom -- which is hard to do -- but looking at it strictly as a lawyer, I have to tell you, these cases are all tragedies and everybody is a victim.

There`s nobody in this case that isn`t a victim; the baby and the defendant. But looking at this case, you have to remember, as a defense lawyer, you`re there to zealously represent your client and to uphold the constitution. As ugly as this case is or any other case, that`s the way our system works.

And so without turning your stomach, you have to understand what was going on here, what propelled somebody, anybody to do these acts?

What was there? Was there mental duress? Was she psychotic? Is she insane? What was going on? Was it all him? Did he have a gun pointed at her?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Fred Tecce -- yes, the husband was involved. He is going to be tried after, and now they`re pointing fingers at each other.

FRED TECCE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That you would expect, it`s not uncommon for one defendant to come in and point the finger at another defendant. But during this woman`s -- during the mother`s interview with police, she never one time said I was under the influence, or I was being coerced by my husband. This is a horrific, horrific crime.

WEINTRAUB: -- psychological terms. You don`t think she recognizes it and would say that.


TECCE: You know what?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She beat the child with a belt and stuck her head under water and apparently, it`s her own admission that she did that.

TECCE: Correct. Correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, guys, hang tight. We`ll have more on this truly sick stomach churning story in a moment; hard for me to even discuss.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am back with my fantastic panel discussing the truly horrific murder of this angelic child that you see right there. A little, even as she was being beaten, who reached out her arms and said, "I love you." It`s heart breaking, it`s beyond comprehension now.

Fred Tecce, Texas is a death penalty state. I`m not a huge fan of the death penalty, but if you`re going to have a death penalty, why is death penalty taken off the table in this particular case? I can`t imagine a case that is more appropriate.

TECCE: I can`t either. It`s beyond me why these people were not given the death penalty.

In addition to the way they treated this child, they stuffed her in concrete in a tub and dropped her in the bay. They knew people were looking for her, they never, ever, ever raised up a voice, never said a word. Quite frankly if you`re not going to give them the death penalty, they ought to be under the jail as opposed to in the jail.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub, Texas is a death penalty state and this, to me, reinforces my mind that those who say that it`s racially biased -- they`re saying these people don`t pose a danger --

WEINTRAUB: Future danger.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Future danger. Give me a break. She had another child behind bars -- while she was behind bars, she gave birth to another child - - and these people are still married and that child was taken away and put into protective custody.

WEINTRAUB: You hit it right on the head. The death penalty is disproportionately given and that`s just one of the millions of reasons why I don`t believe in the death penalty. And you`re right, Texas is the number one death penalty state in the Union, and they gave a reason, saying that they can`t prove future dangerousness as their reason of not seeking the death penalty when that`s only one of many statutory reasons to consider.



DR. KURIANSKY: The whole thing is outrageous because one measure surely of violence is past violence. I can`t see where these people are at all fit to be parents at all. It`s a shame that we don`t have some kind of criteria for who can become parents.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The impact on the jury has to be astounding, Dr. Judy. They were sobbing, they were literally weeping in court, listening to the audiotape of her telling authorities what went down.

What are your thoughts on what the jury is going through psychologically and emotionally during this long trial?

DR. KURIANSKY: Oh, horrifically because they can all relate. Every parent knows what it`s like to have a child who has some discipline problems. But that doesn`t matter, that`s not really the issue here. It`s about parents disciplining themselves --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, exactly.

DR. KURIANSKY: -- and that`s exactly what the issue is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They need to discipline now. It`s called justice.

Thank you so much, you`re watching "ISSUES" on HLN.