At several points Perry has condemned what he termed “gamesmanship” and rivalry among the lawyers during the trial.
When a potential witness from a DNA laboratory in the Netherlands, Richard Eikelenboom, presented himself at the state attorney’s office last weekend for a possible deposition in advance of his expected testimony this week, Assistant State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton refused to see him. He told him to go away.
Mr. Ashton has sought to block portions of Mr. Eikelenboom’s testimony because he says the defense did not comply with a court order in December to fully disclose all opinions that each expert witness would offer at the trial.
Baez says he sought to comply with the order but that a trial is a dynamic process and he is trying to respond to unexpected issues. The judge said his order was clear and that Baez had willfully violated it.
As punishment, immediately before Eikelenboom began his testimony on Tuesday, Perry gave a special instruction to the jury that certain reports outlining the witness’s testimony had not been delivered prior to a court-imposed deadline and that as a result the jury “may consider this in considering the credibility of the witness.”
Such an instruction is highly unusual, particularly in a death-penalty case. A witness’s credibility usually speaks for itself without any pretestimony demerits assigned by a trial judge seeking to punish a defense attorney.