RULE 3.202. - EXPERT TESTIMONY OF MENTAL MITIGATION DURING PENALTY PHASE OF CAPITAL TRIAL: NOTICE AND EXAMINATION BY STATE EXPERT
(a) Notice of Intent to Seek Death Penalty. The provisions of this rule apply only in those capital cases in which the state gives written notice of its intent to seek the death penalty within 45 days from the date of arraignment. Failure to give timely written notice under this subdivision does not preclude the state from seeking the death penalty.
(b) Notice of Intent to Present Expert Testimony of Mental Mitigation. When in any capital case, in which the state has given notice of intent to seek the death penalty under subdivision (a) of this rule, it shall be the intention of the defendant to present, during the penalty phase of the trial, expert testimony of a mental health professional, who has tested, evaluated, or examined the defendant, in order to establish statutory or nonstatutory mental mitigating circumstances, the defendant shall give written notice of intent to present such testimony.
(c) Time for Filing Notice; Contents. The defendant shall give notice of intent to present expert testimony of mental mitigation not less than 20 days before trial. The notice shall contain a statement of particulars listing the statutory and nonstatutory mental mitigating circumstances the defendant expects to establish through expert testimony and the names and addresses of the mental health experts by whom the defendant expects to establish mental mitigation, inso far as is possible.
(d) Appointment of State Expert; Time of Examination. After the filing of such notice and on the motion of the state indicating its desire to seek the death penalty, the court shall order that, within 48 hours after the defendant is convicted of capital murder, the defendant be examined by a mental health expert chosen by the state. Attorneys for the state and defendant may be present at the examination. The examination shall be limited to those mitigating circumstances the defendant expects to establish through expert testimony.
What Does all of this Mean?
Jeff Ashton has already gone on record that the reason the State sought the Death Penalty was because Casey Anthony was the first women who did not have some mental issue that justified not seeking death penalty.
This suggests that the State consulted with a mental health professional before seeking the death penalty to reach such a conclusion.
This also suggests that when the Defense files their Notice of Intent to Present Mental Health mitigation pursuant to Rule 3.202 exactly twenty days before the trial is slated to begin, the defense fully expects that the expert the State selects to examine Casey Anthony will disagree that any mental health mitigator exists.
In anticipation of this, the defense brings Ms. Sims on board specifically to debunk the State expert’s methodology.
And I think the support for this hypothesis of mine can be found in a quote of hers found in an article in NJEsq, Author says methods detect doctors’ lies, which quoted her as saying:
“The thing that disturbs me the most [about psychological tests] are when they are misused in criminal cases or – child custody cases.” Sims said.
Smoke and Mirrors, Smoke and Mirrors.
Many would ask that if Ms. Sims is only being brought on to cross-examine penalty phases witnesses, why file a Notice of Appearance now.
I believe that the timing was done solely to throw the State off. If they think Ms. Sims will be used only to attack Dr. Garavaglia, they likely would not prepare their chosen penalty phase mental health expert thoroughly.
Whereas if Ms. Sims filed a Notice of Appearance contemporaneously with the defense teams filing of their Notice of Mental Health Mitigator, the State would have no problem figuring out her purpose.
Little Medical Evidence
Finally, my belief that this is the case is because there is actually very little medical evidence for Ms. Sims to attack.
Dr. G’s autopsy report clearly states that Caylee died by unknown means, and the reason she ruled it Homicide is because of the duct tape and the peculiar circumstances of her disappearance and ultimate discovery. Quite frankly, there is little to cross-examine.
So that is my story and I am sticking to it.