The justice system of the United States, while being one of the best in the world, is only as good as the integrity of the officers of the courts that enforce it. The system must police itself and its participants to assure ongoing integrity or lose the public trust and respect.
During the Casey Anthony trial for the death of her daughter, the defense on opening day announced to the world that the death was the result of an accident in which the child drowned and that Casey and George Anthony were involved in disposing of the body of Caylee Anthony. If this had been revealed much earlier, it is possible that much of the huge cost to taxpayers might have been avoided and we believe that the Florida Bar Association should investigate when the defense attorneys became aware of this and how.
This petition asks Judge Perry, who conducted the trial with honor and dignity and showed great respect of the justice system throughout the trial, and the Florida Bar Association to investigate the events that led up to the trial and cost to taxpayers and the role of the defense attorneys. The accident claim indicates that the child’s body was found and transported by the defendant or her father; therefore, it is questionable whether, if the accident claim had been revealed, there was a need to argue the odor of decomposition and perhaps other aspects of the case which then could have been investigated and prosecuted without the need for a plethora of “expert witnesses” at taxpayer expense.
Dictionary.com legal dictionary gives the following definition of fraud: Legal Dictionary Main Entry: fraud Function: noun Etymology: Latin fraud - fraus 1 a : any act, expression, omission, or concealment calculated todeceive another to his or her disadvantage; specifically : amisrepresentation or concealment with reference to some factmaterial to a transaction that is made with knowledge of its falsity or in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity and with the intent todeceive another and that is reasonably relied on by the other whois injured thereby b : the affirmative defense of having acted in response to a fraud
The deception, in this case, cost the taxpayer huge sums of money that perhaps could have been avoided and we believe that the involvement of the defense attorneys in this should be investigated. If the attorneys helped to conceal the truth and allowed the taxpayer expense to grow and had been told prior to this expense that this was an accident and concealed that information, then they assisted in, if not legal fraud, at least ethical fraud.
Some will argue attorney-client privilege; however, Florida rule 4.1.6 Confidentiality of Information allows the attorney an exception to avoid being involved in a fraudulent act of the client or to prevent fraud from occurring because of actions of the client. Allowing the public defense funds to be used if it could be avoided cost not only the taxpayer huge sums of money, but future individuals who are indigent to be at risk as the public defender system of the entire country is in financial difficulty. While Casey Anthony was declared indigent and had the right to public defense as needed, it must be determined if it was obtained under false pretenses for an expensive murder trial, rather than for what may have been a less expensive trial on other charges.
It is difficult to believe that an attorney would not advise a client to reveal an accident in an attempt to avoid a trial for 1st degree murder, which would have been in the best interest of the client, and had this accident been revealed earlier the charges may have differed and the cost to taxpayers may have been substantially less. There would certainly have not been a need for so many expert witnesses had it been revealed that they did transport the body after an accident. If the attorneys knew of this and failed to reveal the information, or at least ask for a hearing with the judge to ascertain if the privilege could be waived, it needs to be determined if this is a criminal fraud upon the taxpayer or at least an ethical violation of the public’s trust that attorneys will proceed in an ethical manner.
In addition, the defense lawyers repeatedly were admonished by Judge Perry throughout the trial for various behaviors and incidents. We ask that Judge Perry and the Florida Bar Association investigate the behavior and determine whether criminal or ethical violations occurred and, if so, seek sanctions, up to and including disbarment of any found guilty and repayment of public funds to the people of Florida for avoidable expenses.
The concept of "good faith" has been part of the requirement for statements made during the opening arguments and it appears clear that accusations of child molestation made by the defense in opening arguments were not of a "good faith basis". The defense does not appear to have had any basis for such an argument and did irreparable damage to George Anthony. This type of accusation is never forgotten and does not go away in time. Although it may be legal, it certainly is not ethical.
The justice system must be vigilant in policing its members to assure the highest standards of ethics if it is to retain the respect of the public. The justice system has come a long way to assure that trials are conducted in an ethical manner rather than through shoddy “tricks” as was once common and it is important to protect the dignity of the system.
This procedure has done more to harm the reputation of the justice system than any event in recent history and we ask for a review of the trial and sanctions for ethical violations if found.