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article imageCasey Anthony ordered to return to Florida

By Arthur Weinreb     Aug 13, 2011 in Crime
Orlando - Yesterday Judge Belvin Perry Jr. ordered that Anthony must return to Orlando to serve the sentence of probation she received in January, 2010.
Last week, lawyers for Anthony and the State of Florida argued whether or not the infamous "Tot Mom" has already competed the period of probation she received after pleading guilty to fraud charges in 2010. After reserving his decision for several days, Perry ruled that the clear intention of the sentencing judge, Stan Strickland, was that Anthony serve probation only if and when she was released from custody.
Anthony appeared before Judge Strickland on January 25, 2010, while she was in custody awaiting trial on charges she killed her two-year-old daughter, Caylee. Anthony admitted she took cheques belonging to her friend, Amy Huizenga, while the latter was away and used them to purchase clothing and groceries. Strickland sentenced her to time served (412 days) and placed her on probation for a period of one year. He clearly stated that this probation was to be served upon her release from custody.
When the written order of the judge was prepared, the words "upon release from custody" were omitted and Orange County Probation treated the order as if it began immediately. They sent officials into the jail to explain the order to Anthony and to tell her of the consequences of breaching any of the terms of her probation. On January 24, 2011, the probation office wrote to Anthony at the Orange County Jail telling her she had successfully completed her period of probation. They wished her good luck in the future.
Last week, Anthony's lawyers argued that in spite of Strickland's intent, she has already served her probation and requiring her now to serve a period of probation amounts to double jeopardy. Judge Perry rejected that argument.
Perry stated that allowing her to serve probation in jail would take a lawfully imposed sentence and make it a mockery of justice. This is not the message courts want to send to the public or defendants.
The judge Anthony, and to a greater extent, lead defense attorney Jose Baez for the problem. Both knew Strickland ordered the probation to begin only after Anthony was released and they, especially Baez who is an officer of the court, should have brought the error to the attention of the authorities. The judge also ruled that there was no double jeopardy as Anthony was not able to meet the conditions of her probation while she was in jail.
This entire mess could have been avoided if the Florida Statutes specifically stated probation was to begin either immediately or when the person placed on probation is released from custody. The way the Florida law is drafted allowed Orange County Florida to treat Anthony as being on probation while she remained in jail.
Since her acquittal on all charges directly related to her daughter's death, Anthony has been subjected to threats against her. Casey Anthony look-alikes have been threatened and assaulted. It is not surprising that the pure hatred against the 25-year-old, much of it inspired by the media, has led a poll to conclude she is the most hated person in America. Perry recognized this and ordered the Department of Corrections to keep her address secret.
Perry gave Anthony until noon on August 26 to report to the probation office in downtown Orlando.
More about casey anthony probation, Jose Baez, Casey Anthony, Belvin Perry, Caylee anthony
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