Casey Anthony Defense Experts Gaining Negative Publicity
As the murder trial for Casey Anthony progresses, expert witnesses for the defense are garnering media attention…but not in a good way. A recent article by Diane Dimond of the The Daily Beast highlights some of the missteps by the team of expert witnesses. Ms. Dimond discusses testimony by forensic pathology expert witness Dr. Werner Spitz during which he brought a human skull as a prop and offered theories with little evidence. According to Ms. Dimond:
[Dr. Werner Spitz’s] testimony was reported to have made some of the jurors snicker.
After Dr. Spitz’s unusual testimony, forensic botany expert witness Dr. Jane Bock
conclude[d] that [Caylee’s] body had been there approximately two weeks and not six months as generally assumed… She seemed stymied when Prosecutor Jeff Ashton asked how one of Caylee’s bones could have sunk a full four inches below the topsoil in two weeks. Bock suggested a dog or coyote could have buried it.
Dr. Bock’s suggestion caused the prosecution’s attorney to laugh out loud and possibly made the jury contemplate her credibility as an expert witness. Such questionable performances as seen in this high-profile case demonstrate the importance of fully vetting experts before trial to avoid embarrassment for the legal team.
Furthermore, forensic anthropology expert witness Dr. William Rodriguez was removed from court after defense attorneys pressed him to testify about topics not in his final report. Defense attorneys failed to notify Dr. Rodriguez that a full report of all of his opinions was required by the judge. The attorneys’ disregard of the judges orders led to an awkward situation for the expert and serves as a reminder for experts to submit thorough and complete summaries of findings.
Courtroom Insight profiles of relevant legal professionals: