There’s a new judge in the Casey Anthony case — Judge Belvin Perry — and he looks to be running a tight ship.  Despite defense counsel requests that hearings on defense costs be private, Judge Perry has ordered that an upcoming hearing on how Casey Anthony’s defense will be funded is to be a public hearing.

May 6, 2010, Hearing on Indigent Defense Costs for Casey Anthony Will Be Public

That’s right:  anyone interested in hearing the details on how the defense of Casey Anthony in the trial of whether or not she murdered her daughter, and whether or not the State of Florida should execute her for that crime (if found guilty) will be PUBLIC

Which, given the media coverage of the Casey Anthony case, means there will be countless news reports giving the financial details of this death penalty defense.

What Is Expected to Happen at the Casey Anthony Budget Hearing

At Thursday’s budget hearing, Judge Perry expects to hear an estimate from the defense team on the number of hours their experts will need.  The Judge has also stated that he will want to know if the experts are willing to work under the fee schedule set by Florida’s Justice Administrative Commission.  (Read the Scheduling Order here.)

The public will soon glimpse into the practicalities of defending someone who’s facing the death penalty in Florida.  Experts — and their hourly rates — will be revealed, and discussed from a budgetary standpoint. 

The JAC Fee Schedule Will Be Discussed – Hopefully, Part of the Indigent Defense Crisis Will Be Seen

The JAC fee schedule will be a subject of discussion, too.  Perhaps Judge Perry should review JAC v. Lenamon before the hearing on Thursday — because the JAC has proven itself all too willing to appeal the decisions of trial judges that seek to be fair and reasonable in this area. 

The experts needed for both the guilt phase and the penalty phase of any death penalty defense case are varied in their special knowledge and expertise and far from inexpensive due to their education and experience.  Their standard hourly rates will not jive with the JAC schedule. 

With the hearing on May 6th, hopefully more people will become aware of the practical realities of indigent defense representation Florida and elsewhere.  Will the experts work for less than their standard rate?  How low does the State of Florida (through the JAC) expect doctors, psychiatrists, forensic specialists, etc., to charge?   Hopefully, the public will see some of these questions answered this week.