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November 3, 2011

Who will decide Conrad Murray's fate?

Posted: 05:00 PM ET

Jury selection can prove to be the most important step in a trial like Conrad Murray's. Ultimately, his fate is in their hands. Check out our juror-by-juror breakdown!

Filed under: Conrad Murray • Court docs • Jury selection • Michael Jackson • Trial Updates • Trials


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The 10 most shocking Murray trial moments

Posted: 03:00 PM ET

After 22 days of testimony and 50 witnesses, we are in the final moments of the Conrad Murray trial. Take a look at the top ten moments so far!

Filed under: Conrad Murray • Michael Jackson • Trial Updates • Trials


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September 30, 2011

Witness: Dr. Murray was "frantic," children were "screaming"

Posted: 09:04 AM ET

In some of the most dramatic testimony yesterday, Michael Jackson's chef, Kai Chase, had to defend why she didn't call paramedics right away. She told the court she was making lunch when Dr. Conrad Murray ran downstairs frantic, telling her to call security and get Jackson's son, Prince. She told the jury what she thought about the doctor and how he was handling the emergency. She called Murray "nervous” and “frantic."

Then she described the scene later, as Michael Jackson's crying children and the household staff came together in the mansion's foyer and hugged, held hands and prayed.

HLN's Ryan Smith reports that Chase's testimony not only helped establish the prosecution's timeline as to what happened in the home, but she also got everyone in the courtroom focused on how emotional it was and how frightened the children were as Michael Jackson was passing away.

Do you have questions about the trial? Ask attorney and HLN correspondent Ryan Smith. Find his picture at HLNtv.com/Robin to contact him via our email form. Or Tweet him @RyanSmithTV

Trial coverage continues on HLN at 11am ET/8am PT.

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Filed under: Case Updates • Conrad Murray • Family • Michael Jackson • Testimony • Trial Updates • Trials • Witnesses


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Vinnie Politan's 'day three' trial wrap

Posted: 06:41 AM ET

Day three is in the books for the man accused of killing Michael Jackson, Dr. Conrad Murray. Vinnie Politan says "the themes were pretty clear today."

Gavel to gavel coverage and analysis of Conrad Murray on trial starts at 11am ET/8am PT on HLN. Get alerts and updates while court is in session on Twitter: follow @InSession and @HLNtv.

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Filed under: Case Updates • Conrad Murray • Michael Jackson • Testimony • Trial Updates • Witnesses


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September 28, 2011

Big moments from Tuesday's proceedings

Posted: 06:00 AM ET

Conrad Murray and Michael Jackson

Tuesday’s testimony in the Conrad Murray trial left all of us thinking about one person more than anyone else: Michael Jackson.

Despite Judge Pastor's admonition that this trial would not be about Michael Jackson's lifestyle, his life was front and center on Tuesday: his preparation for the tour. The stress he felt, the drugs he allegedly took or was given by Dr. Murray. These issues were discussed by both sides in opening statements as they sought to make their case. Out of everything we heard about the King of Pop, there were two moments that I won't soon forget: seeing a picture of the superstar on a gurney after his death, and hearing his words, seemingly inebriated, in a tape recording inexplicably made by his then personal doctor, Conrad Murray.

Both pieces of evidence were controversial. Let's talk about them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Conrad Murray • Michael Jackson • Trial Updates • Trials


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July 4, 2011

Verdict Forms for the Casey Anthony Trial

Posted: 04:44 PM ET
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Jury Instructions in the Casey Anthony Trial

Posted: 12:53 PM ET

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE

NINTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, IN AND

FOR ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA

STATE OF FLORIDA,

Plaintiff,

v. CASE NO.: 2008-CF-15606-A-O

CASEY MARIE ANTHONY,

Defendant

JURY INSTRUCTIONS

INTRODUCTION TO FINAL INSTRUCTIONS

Members of the jury, I thank you for your attention during this trial. Please pay attention to the instructions I am about to give you.

INTRODUCTION TO HOMICIDE

In this case, Casey Marie Anthony is accused of Murder in the First Degree, Aggravated

Child Abuse, Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child, and four counts of Providing False Information to a Law Enforcement Officer.

Murder in the First Degree includes the lesser crimes of Murder in the Second Degree,

Manslaughter and Third Degree Felony Murder, all of which are unlawful.

A killing that is excusable or was committed by the use of justifiable deadly force is lawful.

If you find Caylee Marie Anthony was killed by Casey Marie Anthony, you will then consider the circumstances surrounding the killing in deciding if the killing was Murder in the First Degree or was Murder in the Second Degree or Manslaughter or Third Degree Felony Murderwhether the killing was excusable or resulted from justifiable use of deadly force

JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE

§ 782.02,Fla.Stat.

The killing of a human being is justifiable homicide and lawful if necessarily done while resisting an attempt to murder or commit a felony upon the defendant, or to commit a felony in any dwelling house in which the defendant was at the time of the killing.

EXCUSABLE HOMICIDE

§ 782.03,Fla.Stat.

The killing of a human being is excusable, and therefore lawful, under any one of the following three circumstances: 1. When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent, or 2. When the killing occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or 3. When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner. I now instruct you on the circumstances that must be proved before Casey Marie Anthony may be found guilty of Murder in the First Degree, Aggravated Child Abuse, Aggravated

Manslaughter of a Child, and four counts of Providing False Information to a Law Enforcement Officer or any lesser included crime.

MURDER – FIRST DEGREE

§ 782.04(1)(a), Fla. Stat.

There are two ways in which a person may be convicted of first degree murder. One is known as premeditated murder and the other is known as felony murder. In order to find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree, the State must convince you beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt of either premeditated murder or felony murder. While you must all agree that the State has proven first degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt, you need not be unanimous in your opinion as to whether that finding is based upon premeditated murder or felony murder as I shall now define those terms.

To prove the crime of First Degree Premeditated Murder, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Caylee Marie Anthony is dead.

2. The death was caused by the criminal act of Casey Marie Anthony.

3. There was a premeditated killing of Caylee Marie Anthony.

An “act” includes a series of related actions arising from and performed pursuant to a single design or purpose.

"Killing with premeditation" is killing after consciously deciding to do so. The decision must be present in the mind at the time of the killing. The law does not fix the exact period of time that must pass between the formation of the premeditated intent to kill and the killing. The period of time must be long enough to allow reflection by the defendant. The premeditated intent to kill must be formed before the killing.

The question of premeditation is a question of fact to be determined by you from the evidence. It will be sufficient proof of premeditation if the circumstances of the killing and the conduct of the accused convince you beyond a reasonable doubt of the existence of premeditation at the time of the killing.

FELONY MURDER – FIRST DEGREE

§ 782.04(1)(a), Fla. Stat.

To prove the crime of First Degree Felony Murder, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Caylee Marie Anthony is dead.

2. The death occurred as a consequence of and while Casey Marie Anthony was engaged in the commission of Aggravated Child Abuse.

Or

The death occurred as a consequence of and while Casey Marie Anthony was attempting to commit Aggravated Child Abuse. 3. Casey Marie Anthony was the person who actually killed Caylee Marie Anthony.

In order to convict of First Degree Felony Murder, it is not necessary for the State to prove that the defendant had a premeditated design or intent to kill.

AGGRAVATED CHILD ABUSE

§ 827.03(2), Fla. Stat.

To prove the crime of Aggravated Child Abuse, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Casey Marie Anthony knowingly or willfully committed child abuse upon Caylee

Marie Anthony and in so doing caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.

2. Caylee Marie Anthony was under the age of eighteen years.

“Willfully” means intentionally, knowingly and purposely.

“Child abuse” means the intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child or an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child or active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.

AGGRAVATED MANSLAUGHTER OF A CHILD

§ 782.07, Fla. Stat.

To prove the crime of Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Caylee Marie Anthony is dead.

2. Casey Marie Anthony’s act(s) caused the death of Caylee Marie Anthony.

Or

The death of Caylee Marie Anthony was caused by the culpable negligence of Casey Marie Anthony.

I will now define "culpable negligence" for you. Each of us has a duty to act reasonably toward others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is negligence. But culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others. In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard of the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights. The negligent act or omission must have been committed with an utter disregard for the safety of others. Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury.

If you find the defendant guilty of Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child, you must then determine whether the State has further proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Caylee Marie Anthony was a child whose death was caused by the neglect of Casey Marie Anthony, a caregiver. “Child” means any person under the age of 18 years.

“Caregiver” means a parent, adult household member, or other person responsible for a child’s welfare.

“Neglect of a child” means:

1. A caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain a child’s physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child. Repeated conduct or a single incident or omission by a caregiver that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, a substantial risk of death of a child may be considered in determining neglect.

FALSE INFORMATION TO LAW ENFORCEMENT

§ 837.055,Fla.Stat.

To prove the crime of False Information to Law Enforcement, the State must prove the following five elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Yuri Melich was conducting a missing person investigation.

2. Yuri Melich was a law enforcement officer.

3. Casey Marie Anthony knew that Yuri Melich was a law enforcement officer.

4. Casey Marie Anthony knowingly and willfully gave false information to Yuri Melich.

5. Casey Marie Anthony intended to mislead Yuri Melich or impede the investigation.

“Willfully” means intentionally, knowingly and purposely.

WHEN THERE ARE LESSER INCLUDED CRIMES

In considering the evidence, you should consider the possibility that although the evidence may not convince you that the defendant committed the main crimes of which she is accused, there may be evidence that she committed other acts that would constitute a lesser included crime.

Therefore, if you decide that the main accusation has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, you will next need to decide if the defendant is guilty of any lesser included crime. The lesser crimes indicated in the definition of First Degree Murder are: Second Degree Murder, Manslaughter or

Third Degree Felony Murder. The lesser crime indicated in the definition of Aggravated Child Abuse is Child Abuse.

MURDER – SECOND DEGREE

§ 782.04(2), Fla. Stat.

To prove the crime of Second Degree Murder, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

 1. Caylee Marie Anthony is dead.

2. The death was caused by the criminal act of Casey Marie Anthony.

3. There was an unlawful killing of Caylee Marie Anthony by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.

An “act” includes a series of related actions arising from and performed pursuant to a single design or purpose.

An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” if it is an act or series of acts that:

1. a person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another, and

2. is done from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent, and

3. is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.

In order to convict of Second Degree Murder, it is not necessary for the State to prove the defendant had an intent to cause death.

MANSLAUGHTER

§ 782.07, Fla. Stat.

To prove the crime of Manslaughter, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Caylee Marie Anthony is dead.

2. (a) Casey Marie Anthony’s act(s) caused the death of Caylee Marie Anthony.

Or

(b) The death of Caylee Marie Anthony was caused by the culpable negligence of Casey Marie Anthony. 

However, the defendant cannot be guilty of manslaughter if the killing was either justifiable or excusable homicide:

The killing of a human being is justifiable homicide and lawful if necessarily done while resisting an attempt to murder or commit a felony upon the defendant, or to commit a felony in any dwelling house in which the defendant was at the time of the killing. § 782.02, Fla. Stat.

The killing of a human being is excusable, and therefore lawful, under any one of the following three circumstances:

1. When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent, or

2. When the killing occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or

3. When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner. In order to convict of manslaughter by act, it is not necessary for the State to prove that the defendant had an intent to cause death, only an intent to commit an act that was not justified or excusable and which caused death.

I will now define "culpable negligence" for you. Each of us has a duty to act reasonably toward others. If there is a violation of that duty, without any conscious intention to harm, that violation is negligence. But culpable negligence is more than a failure to use ordinary care toward others. In order for negligence to be culpable, it must be gross and flagrant. Culpable negligence is a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or such an entire want of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard of the safety and welfare of the public, or such an indifference to the rights of others as is equivalent to an intentional violation of such rights.

The negligent act or omission must have been committed with an utter disregard for the safety of others. Culpable negligence is consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury.

FELONY MURDER – THIRD DEGREE

§ 782.04(4), Fla. Stat.

To prove the crime of Third Degree Felony Murder, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Caylee Marie Anthony is dead.

2. The death occurred as a consequence of and while Casey Marie Anthony was engaged in the commission of Child Abuse.

or

The death occurred as a consequence of and while Casey Marie Anthony was attempting to commit Child Abuse.

3. Casey Marie Anthony was the person who actually killed Caylee Marie Anthony.

It is not necessary for the State to prove the killing was perpetrated with a design to effect death.

Child Abuse means the intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child; or an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child, when that person knowingly or willfully abused a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.

“Willfully” means intentionally, knowingly and purposely.

ATTEMPT TO COMMIT CRIME

§ 777.04(1), Fla. Stat.

In order to prove that the defendant attempted to commit the crime of Child Abuse, the State must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Casey Marie Anthony did some act toward committing the crime of Child Abuse that went beyond just thinking or talking about it.

2. She would have committed the crime except that someone prevented her from committing the crime of Child Abuse or she failed.

It is not an attempt to commit Child Abuse if the defendant abandoned her attempt to commit the offense or otherwise prevented its commission, under circumstances indicating a complete and voluntary renunciation of her criminal purpose. 

CHILD ABUSE

§ 827.03(1), Fla. Stat.

To prove the crime of Child Abuse, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Casey Marie Anthony

a. intentionally inflicted physical or mental injury upon Caylee Marie Anthony

or

b. committed an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to Caylee Marie Anthony

2. The victim was under the age of eighteen years.

 PLEA OF NOT GUILTY; REASONABLE DOUBT; AND BURDEN OF PROOF

The defendant has entered a plea of not guilty. This means you must presume or believe the defendant is innocent. The presumption stays with the defendant as to each material allegation in the indictment through each stage of the trial unless it has been overcome by the evidence to the exclusion of and beyond a reasonable doubt.

To overcome the defendant's presumption of innocence, the State has the burden of proving the crime with which the defendant is charged was committed and the defendant is the person who committed the crime. 

The defendant is not required to present evidence or prove anything.

Whenever the words "reasonable doubt" are used you must consider the following:

A reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt, a speculative, imaginary or forced doubt.

Such a doubt must not influence you to return a verdict of not guilty if you have an abiding conviction of guilt. On the other hand, if, after carefully considering, comparing and weighing all the evidence, there is not an abiding conviction of guilt, or, if, having a conviction, it is one which is not stable but one which wavers and vacillates, then the charge is not proved beyond every reasonable doubt and you must find the defendant not guilty because the doubt is reasonable.

It is to the evidence introduced in this trial, and to it alone, that you are to look for that proof.

A reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant may arise from the evidence, conflict in the evidence or the lack of evidence.

If you have a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty. If you have no reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty.

WEIGHING THE EVIDENCE

It is up to you to decide what evidence is reliable. You should use your common sense in deciding which is the best evidence, and which evidence should not be relied upon in considering your verdict. You may find some of the evidence not reliable, or less reliable than other evidence. 

You should consider how the witnesses acted, as well as what they said. Some things you should consider are:

1. Did the witness seem to have an opportunity to see and know the things about which the witness testified?

2. Did the witness seem to have an accurate memory?

3. Was the witness honest and straightforward in answering the attorneys' questions?

4. Did the witness have some interest in how the case should be decided?

5. Does the witness' testimony agree with the other testimony and other evidence in the case?

6. Has the witness been offered or received any money, preferred treatment or other benefit in order to get the witness to testify?

7. Had any pressure or threat been used against the witness that affected the truth of the witness' testimony?

8. Did the witness at some other time make a statement that is inconsistent with the testimony he or she gave in court?

You may rely upon your own conclusion about the witness. A juror may believe or disbelieve all or any part of the evidence or the testimony of any witness.

WEIGHING THE EVIDENCE CONCERNING CANINE SEARCHES

It is up to you to decide what evidence is reliable. You should use your common sense in deciding which is the best evidence, and which evidence should not be relied upon in considering your verdict. You may find some of the evidence not reliable, or less reliable than other evidence.

Some things you should consider in evaluating canine searches are:

1. The canine’s training and certification records, including an explanation of the meaning of the particular training and certification.

2. The field performance records including any unverified alerts.

3. The experience and training of the officer handling the canine, as well as any other objective evidence known to the officer about the canine’s reliability.

You may rely upon your own conclusions about this type of evidence. A juror may believe or disbelieve all or any part of the evidence or the testimony.

EXPERT WITNESSES

Expert witnesses are like other witnesses, with one exception – the law permits an expert witness to give her opinion.

However, an expert's opinion is only reliable when given on a subject about which you believe her to be an expert.

Like other witnesses, you may believe or disbelieve all or any part of an expert's testimony.

DEFENDANT NOT TESTIFYING

The constitution requires the State to prove its accusations against the defendant. It is not necessary for the defendant to disprove anything. Nor is the defendant required to prove her innocence. It is up to the State to prove the defendant's guilt by evidence.

The defendant exercised a fundamental right by choosing not to be a witness in this case. You must not view this as an admission of guilt or be influenced in any way by her decision. No juror should ever be concerned that the defendant did or did not take the witness stand to give testimony in the case.

DEFENDANT'S STATEMENTS

A statement claimed to have been made by the defendant outside of court has been placed before you. Such a statement should always be considered with caution and be weighed with great care to make certain it was freely and voluntarily made.

Therefore, you must determine from the evidence that the defendant's alleged statement was knowingly, voluntarily and freely made.

In making this determination, you should consider the total circumstances, including but not limited to:

1. Whether, when the defendant made the statement, she had been threatened in order to get her to make it, and

2. Whether anyone had promised her anything in order to get her to make it.

If you conclude the defendant's out of court statement was not freely and voluntarily made, you should disregard it.

RULES FOR DELIBERATION

These are some general rules that apply to your discussion. You must follow these rules in order to return a lawful verdict:

1. You must follow the law as it is set out in these instructions. If you fail to follow the law, your verdict will be a miscarriage of justice. There is no reason for failing

to follow the law in this case. All of us are depending upon you to make a wise and legal decision in this matter.

2. This case must be decided only upon the evidence that you have heard from the testimony of the witnesses and have seen in the form of the exhibits in evidence and these instructions.

3. This case must not be decided for or against anyone because you feel sorry for anyone, or are angry at anyone.

4. Remember, the lawyers are not on trial. Your feelings about them should not influence your decision in this case.

5. Your duty is to determine if the defendant has been proven guilty or not, in accord with the law.

6. Whatever verdict you render must be unanimous, that is, each juror must agree to the same verdict.

7. It is entirely proper for a lawyer to talk to a witness about what testimony the witness would give if called to the courtroom. The witness should not be discredited by talking to a lawyer about his or her testimony.

8. Your verdict should not be influenced by feelings of prejudice, bias or sympathy.

Your verdict must be based on the evidence, and on the law contained in thes instructions.

CAUTIONARY INSTRUCTION

Deciding a verdict is exclusively your job. I cannot participate in that decision in any way.

Please disregard anything I may have said or done that made you think I preferred one verdict over another.

VERDICT

You may find the defendant guilty as charged in the indictment or guilty of such lesser included crime as the evidence may justify or not guilty.

If you return a verdict of guilty, it should be for the highest offense which has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If you find that no offense has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then, of course, your verdict must be not guilty.

Only one verdict may be returned as to each crime charged. This verdict must be unanimous, that is, all of you must agree to the same verdict. The verdict must be in writing and for your convenience the necessary forms of verdict have been prepared for you. They are as follows:

SINGLE DEFENDANT, MULTIPLE COUNTS

A separate crime is charged in each count of the indictment and while they have been tried together each crime and the evidence applicable to it must be considered separately and a separate verdict returned as to each. A finding of guilty or not guilty as to one crime must not affect your verdict as to the other crimes charged.

SUBMITTING CASE TO JURY

In just a few moments you will be taken to the jury room by the court deputy. The first thing you should do is elect a foreperson. The foreperson presides over your deliberations like a chairperson of a meeting. It is the foreperson's job to sign and date the verdict form when all of you have agreed on a verdict in this case. The foreperson will bring the verdict back to the courtroom when you return.

Your verdict finding the defendant either guilty or not guilty must be unanimous. The verdict must be the verdict of each juror, as well as of the jury as a whole.

During deliberations, jurors must communicate about the case only with one another and only when all jurors are present in the jury room. You are not to communicate with any person outside the jury about this case. Until you have reached a verdict, you must not talk about this case in person or through the telephone, writing, or electronic communication, such as a blog, twitter, email, text message, or any other means. Do not contact anyone to assist you during deliberations.

These communications rules apply until I discharge you at the end of the case. If you become aware of any violation of these instructions or any other instruction I have given in this case, you must tell me by giving a note to the court deputy.

In closing, let me remind you that it is important that you follow the law spelled out in these instructions in deciding your verdict. There are no other laws that apply to this case. Even if you do not like the laws that must be applied, you must use them. For two centuries we have agreed to a constitution and to live by the law. No juror has the right to violate rules we all share.

Filed under: Breaking News • Casey and Caylee Anthony • In Session • Trial Updates • Verdict Watch


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July 3, 2011

Looking back: The best of week one in the Anthony trial

Posted: 07:04 PM ET

Filed under: Casey and Caylee Anthony • In Session • Trial Updates • Trials • Uncategorized • Verdict Watch


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July 2, 2011

Week 6: Drama marks final week of testimony

Posted: 02:36 PM ET

(CNN) - In true finale form, this week's testimony was emotional, drama-filled and, thanks in part to a spectator who made an obscene gesture at prosecutor Jeff Ashton, not without a few surprises. Even the weather set the tone, storming so loudly on Friday that the thunder could be heard inside the courtroom.

After 33 days and more than 100 witnesses, the murder trial of Casey Anthony is inches from its end - only Sunday's closing statements remain before the jury deliberates.

On Thursday, the defense wrapped up its case after calling to the stand every member of the Anthony family this week except for Casey. She only made a cameo when she personally addressed the judge to answer one of the trial's biggest questions - whether she would testify. She declined the opportunity to testify in her defense.

Prosecutors allege that Anthony, 25, killed her daughter Caylee in 2008 by rendering her unconscious with chloroform, putting duct tape over her nose and mouth so she would suffocate, or a combination of the two acts. They also allege that Anthony stored the body in the trunk of her car for days before dumping it in the woods.

Anthony faces seven counts, including first-degree murder, in the death of Caylee, whose remains were discovered in a wooded field in December 2008. If convicted, she could face the death penalty. Anthony pleaded not guilty, and her defense team asserts Caylee accidentally drowned in a pool in June 2008 at the Orange County home that Anthony shared with her parents.

The defense team has argued that Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked on discovering the body and covered up her death, though George Anthony has denied that scenario. Caylee was not reported missing to police until July 15, 2008 - 31 days after she was last seen alive.

Casey's father, George Anthony, was a key player in the defense's final testimony, taking the stand twice during the final week. On Tuesday, he denied an affair with Krystal Holloway, a one-time volunteer in the search to find Caylee and the woman who claims George Anthony told her Caylee's death was an accident.

READ MORE

Filed under: Death penalty • In Session • Trial Updates • Trials • Uncategorized


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June 30, 2011

Argument over testimony stalls Casey Anthony trial

Posted: 04:42 PM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff

Orlando (CNN) - Another argument over witness testimony has put the Casey Anthony murder trial on what Judge Belvin Perry called an indefinite recess just as the prosecution's rebuttal case was about to resume for the day.

Attorneys in the case appear split on how long the delay will take. Defense attorney Jose Baez complained Friday morning that prosecutors sprang new evidence on him last night and that he needs time to interview the witnesses.

But prosecutor Jeff Ashton says the witnesses he intends to put on aren't going to say anything that should surprise the defense.

Among the witnesses are investigators expected to testify that they searched the hard drive of a computer seized from Anthony's home and were unable to find any information to support the testimony of Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, who said she looked up "chloroform" a few months before her granddaughter, Caylee, disappeared.

READ MORE

Filed under: Casey and Caylee Anthony • Trial Updates • Trials


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