Under Arrest - G is for Gavel

Image by timokefoto from Pixabay 

Welcome back to A-Z, today's letter is G, and here's a gavel for you! What's a gavel?

Here's the official definition:

gavel is a small ceremonial mallet commonly made of hardwood, typically fashioned with a handle. It is used almost exclusively in the United States in legislatures and courts of law, but is used worldwide for auctions. A gavel can be used to call for attention or to punctuate rulings and proclamations.

I didn't think you'd enjoy a post entirely about gavels, so here's a judge who used his gavel and made a strong statement.

At Casey Anthony's bond hearing, Judge Stan Strickland tells it like it is: 

Fast forward to 3:50 if you don't want to listen to all of his reasoning for setting bond as high as 500k, then wait for it:

"The truth and Miss Anthony are strangers."

What did Casey Anthony lie about? (In case you don't remember her case: she was "Tot Mom" who got acquitted of the murder charges of her daughter Caylee in 2008 in Orlando Florida.)

The question should be what Casey didn't lie about. 

Off the top of my head here are a couple of things and people Casey made up, and quite colourful I might add:

Several possible Baby Daddies

Let's mention here that Casey denied being pregnant up until her 30th week.

Jesse Grund, the one who was present for Caylee's birth. Casey and Jesse started dating in January; Caylee was born full term on August 2009. You do the math.
Even though a paternity test ruled him out to be the biological father, he bonded with the baby girl and wanted to adopt her. 

Eric Baker. He was married and had another child, she told her family. Sadly, Eric got killed in a car accident.
Law enforcement tracked down a guy named Eric Baker who died in a car crash, but they couldn't establish a connection to Casey Anthony.

Michael Duggan was living in Tennessee, working for a moving company at the time Caylee was conceived. Florida was part of the region Michael was moving households to and from. Interestingly, Michael, too, had a fatal car accident. His Mom, Donna MacLean, is convinced she's Caylee's Grandma.

Jesus Oritz briefly dated Casey before dying in a - you've guessed right - car accident. His family only learned about their alleged grandchild during the trial, and they released a statement saying "Miss Anthony never told the family Jesus was the father. In fact we have never met her."

Josh (no known last name) from Georgia, another Universal Studios coworker, and also another car crash victim. 

Guys in the Orlando area, be aware: dating Casey may end in a deadly car crash!

A bunch of (boy) and other imaginary friends

Jeffrey Hopkins who was invited over for dinner at Casey's parent's house. "He has a son, Zachary", she told them. "He's the same age as Caylee, they often play together." Just as they sat down for dinner, she claimed he texted her, saying something came up, he couldn't make it after all.

On another occasion Casey's Mom Cindy baked a cake when Jeff, Zach and Jeff's Mom Jules were supposed to visit. Of course that visit never happened either.

Later Jeffrey allegedly moved to North Carolina, only to resurface in Florida when Casey needed a new excuse to where Caylee was at: she was being babysat by Zanny. More about her in just a minute.

A guy called Jeffrey Hopkins did attend middle school with Casey and in fact worked for Universal Studios 2001 - 2002. Other than that he had bumped into Casey at a bar, that's it, they didn't date, he doesn't have son, he doesn't know any Zanny.

Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez aka Zanny the Nanny, who (according to Casey) was also looking after Zach. Casey said she, Jeffrey and Zenaida all worked together at Universal Studios in 2006. 
According to Casey, Zanny lived at 2863 South Conway Road, Orlando, FL,  but 
  • "Sawgrass Apartment 210" was vacant 
  • There was never any tenant by the name of Fernandez and / or Gonzalez in this or a nearby apartment
  • It was actually used as a leasing model
  • Law enforcement went to great lengths and actually reviewed video surveillance of that apartment complex around the time Casey claimed to have dropped of Caylee at the Nanny's: Casey and Caylee were not spotted in those videos.
A lady by the name of Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez did exist too. Casey had googled her. They never met in person, though, muss less did Zanny ever babysit Caylee. Zenaida later sued Casey for defamation of character.

Juliette Lewis, another coworker at Universal Studios. According to Casey, Juliette had a daughter called Annabelle. Casey dragged her Mom to a fundraiser where they were supposed to meet Juliette who volunteered there. Juliette never showed and allegedly moved to New York soon after.

Picture from Bostonherald.com

Casey's jobs

Let's begin with the fact that at some point Casey didn't feel like going to high school. She left the house every morning but didn't actually attend classes. She went to her graduation even thought she didn't actually graduate. Her parents went along with this and even threw her a party!

Casey claimed to be employed by Universal Studios as an event coordinator. She went there, accompanied by detectives. At the employee entrance she told the security guard that she had lost her ID card. "No problem, let me call your supervisor, what's their name?" "Thomas Manly." Even though there was no such person, and Casey was not listed as a current employee, detectives asked the guard to let them in. She walked through the Universal lot, entered a building with them, turned left here, right there, strode halfway down a hallway until she finally stopped, shrugged and admitted that she did not work there.

Casey did have a job on the premises of Universal Studios between June 2004 and April 2006 when she was fired asked not to come back after maternity leave. She worked for a subsidiary of Kodak, and her job was to sell pictures that were taken of park visitors after their ride. Smile :-)

Casey told her parents she worked for Sports Authority now, and she often worked the late shift. 

Translation: She did not have a job at Sports Authority nor anywhere else, but like before, she left the house, her parents babysat Caylee, and Casey went out with her friends. 

The judges involved in Casey's case

Long story short, Judge Strickland thought and said Casey was full of sh** lies. 

Then he made a mistake. He started following a blogger called Dave Knechel who covered the case extensively. Judge Strickland did so in order to determine whether or not a change of venue was indicated.

What's this all about? 

People in Orlando where the Caseys lived were upset and wanted Casey to be held responsible. Her legal team claimed there would be nobody available in the Orlando area that was unbiased to serve on the jury. (The trial was in fact moved to Clearwater.)

It just so happens that a judge (the same is true for the jury) is not allowed to consult any other information about the case than the one that is presented in court.

This is why he had to recuse himself from the case, and Judge Belvin Perry took over. He was pretty cool, too. Of course he had to uphold the law and be all professional, but when everything was said and done he offered his personal opinion:

"The most logical thing that happened was that she tried to knock her daughter out by the use of chloroform and gave her too much of chloroform, which caused her daughter to die."

He added, "To me, that was the most logical thing, looking at the totality of the entire situation. There was never any evidence of abuse of the daughter that was documented, that was presented anywhere." Before continuing, "Considering the high levels of chloroform that was found in the trunk of the car, that was my logical deduction for what happened. That’s just a theory. The only person that actually knows what happened is Casey Anthony."

The Aftermath

As you know Casey walked away a free woman, found not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child.

However she got convicted of four counts of providing false information to police. Judge Perry sentenced her to four years. Since Casey spent about three years in jail and had good behavior, she completed her sentence a couple of days after the trial ended. 

She was on probation for check fraud for a year, and she owes the state of Florida the amount of $217,449.23 - this is a part of the money that was used for the "missing person phase" of the investigation that was completely unnecessary as Caylee was already dead, and Casey knew it. 

I don't think she'll ever pay back a cent. Casey filed for bankruptcy in 2013 claiming more than 800k of liabilities. She lives with Patrick McKenna, the lead investigator for her defense (as well as for O.J. Simpson). Casey is working for him researching suspects and witnesses. She's also trying to launch her photography business.

Meanwhile her parents Cindy and George are fighting back foreclosure on their home.

If anything good may have come out of this tragedy, it's Caylee's Law, a bill proposed or passed in several U.S. States that make it a felony for a parent or a legal guardian to fail to report a missing child, in cases where the parent knew or should have known that the child was possibly in danger.

Caylee would turn 10 years old this summer.

Did you follow Casey Anthony's case? Have you ever encountered a person who's a more creative liar? What do you think happened?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


  1. Interesting stuff. My daughter is currently studying to become a barrister - if she wasn't away I could have tested her on this!

  2. Nope, I did not follow this case. I tend to ignore these sorts of sensational trials. She sounds like she shouldn't have been allowed to have children.

  3. i followed the case. man i was definitely one who thought she was guilty. talk about a sensational case. those lies about work and nanny and etc. i really wished she was cocky enough to go on the stand - would have loved to hear her answers. poor Caylee either way. did you see her parents' tv interview (last year?)

    Joy at The Joyous Living

  4. I didn't follow the case but it sure seems like she was an unfit mother to say the least. I feel sorry for kids who have parents like that. I don't know why your comments are not showing up on my site, but thanks for stopping by. Try this link and let me know what happens

    Janet’s Smiles

  5. A really interesting post, didn't follow the case but can at least say I have heard of it Judge Rinder (UK version of Judge Judy) has a gavel which is just for show although he has said at times he wanted to throw it at someone


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