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Casey Anthony's lawyer argues against death penalty for client

Casey Anthony cries during the court hearing in Florida on Friday. She is accused of killing her daughter.
Casey Anthony cries during the court hearing in Florida on Friday. She is accused of killing her daughter.
  • NEW: Prosecutor says it's up to jury, judge to decide whether death penalty is appropriate
  • Lawyer says she wants prosecutors not to seek death penalty against Casey Anthony
  • She says prosecutors want to "get as biased a jury as they possibly can"
  • Anthony accused of killing daughter Caylee, 2, whose body was found a year ago

(CNN) -- A year after the remains of a Florida toddler were discovered, a lawyer for the slain child's mother asked a judge Friday to stop prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against her.

Lawyer Andrea Lyon told Orange County Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland that the "real reason" prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Casey Anthony is because they want to "get as biased a jury as they possibly can."

Lyon said a jury that is qualified to serve in a death penalty case is more likely to convict defendants.

But prosecutor Jeff Ashton told the court that the state is not seeking the death penalty; rather, the jury and judge will decide whether it is appropriate.

Anthony has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

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The toddler's skeletal remains were discovered December 11, 2008, six months after she disappeared. The remains were bagged and partially buried in a swampy, vacant lot, and duct tape covered the child's mouth.

Ashton said the death penalty question is not for the prosecution to answer. "Everyone who is indicted by a grand jury in the state of Florida for the crime of first-degree murder is eligible for the death penalty," he said.

"The decision by the prosecutor is simply, should a jury, and ultimately, a judge, be allowed to make this decision?"

Further explaining why he believed the case was eligible for the death penalty, Ashton speculated what jurors might infer from the facts presented to them. He suggested that Caylee's killer may have either given the toddler a substance to knock her unconscious before applying duct tape to her mouth and nose, or had physically restrained her before doing so.

"As the killer looked into her face, maybe her killer even saw her eyes, as the tape was applied," he said.

As he spoke, Anthony sobbed, as her lawyer comforted her.

Lyon noted that there is "no evidence ... that this tape had anything to do with the death of this child."

Police released documents this year showing they believed that Caylee was slain within days of the time she was last seen and that her body was in the trunk of her mother's car for "a period of time."

Authorities have said that the cause of Caylee's death is homicide by undetermined means.

In her argument, the defense attorney noted the toddler's undetermined manner of death, saying that the death penalty infringes on Anthony's constitutional rights.

"They cannot be seeking the death penalty in good faith because there is insufficient evidence ... to establish first-degree murder," she argued.

Earlier Friday, Anthony's lawyer also urged the judge to prohibit jail officials from videotaping sessions between her and her client, as well as visits from Anthony's friends and family.

She said that she has been told that the videos are for security and that the sound is disabled, but said that she and her client have the "feeling that perhaps we're being listened to."

The judge said he would make his rulings as soon as possible.

Anthony's parents also appeared in the courtroom for Friday's hearing. In a May interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," George and Cindy Anthony said they believed their daughter was innocent.