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Mistrial sought in Anthony trial

Mistrial sought in Anthony trial
Casey Anthony, pictured in an undated Orange County Sheriff's Office file photo, is the mother of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony. On October 14, 2008, a Florida grand jury indicted Anthony on charges of first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, who has not been found. (UPI Photo/Orange County Sheriff's Office) | License Photo

ORLANDO, Fla., June 27 (UPI) -- Lawyers for Casey Anthony, the Florida mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, are seeking a mistrial, a defense motion Monday indicated.

The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Anthony's attorneys want Chief Judge Belvin Perry to declare a mistrial based on a recent federal court ruling that Florida's death penalty statute is unconstitutional. The motion asks the judge to start jury selection anew "with a non-death-qualified jury," the newspaper said.

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Defense lawyer Ann Finnell seeks to have Perry hold a hearing on the issue this week and declare the statute unconstitutional. The judge told her to let state prosecutors know about her plans.

The mistrial maneuver followed a weekend request by the defense that Anthony be declared incompetent to stand trial. The judge had three psychologists examine her client Saturday and Anthony was found to be mentally fit to continue with her trial, the Sentinel said.

Anthony, 25, is accused of killing her daughter Caylee Marie in summer 2008. The child's remains were found in December of that year in woods near her family's home.

Defense attorney Jose Baez told Perry he expected to finish presenting the defense case by Wednesday or Thursday, after which the prosecution will present rebuttal.

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In testimony Monday, James Hoover, a private investigator hired for the Anthonys, authenticated video tapes of a search conducted in mid-November 2008.

Hoover testified searchers combed the area where Caylee's remains were later found. Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick objected, contending he had no direct knowledge of the exact location of her remains, the newspaper said.

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