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article imageFlorida court overturns two of Casey Anthony's four convictions

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By Arthur Weinreb     Jan 26, 2013 in Crime
Daytona Beach - While the court rejected the argument that her rights were violated, they did reverse two of the four convictions against her for lying to police on the grounds those convictions constituted double jeopardy.
The decision [PDF] was handed down yesterday by the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida Fifth District. The court rejected two of the three arguments raised by Anthony but found two convictions arising from two misleading statements made during the same interview with a police officer constituted double jeopardy.
As the New York Times reported, on July 5, 2011 Anthony was acquitted of all charges in connection with the death of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee. Anthony was tried on one count each of first-degree murder, manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. Had she been convicted of first-degree murder, she would have faced the death penalty.
The jury did however convict her of four counts of lying to police and she was later sentenced on those four counts. The four counts were for telling Det. Yuri Melish 1) she was employed at Universal Studios during 2008, 2) she dropped Caylee off to a nanny, Zenaida Fernandez- Gonzalez, at an apartment complex in Orlando, 3) she told various employees of Universal Studio that her daughter was missing, and 4) she received a telephone call from Caylee after the toddler went missing.
Anthony appealed these convictions arguing her rights were violated by police because they did not read her Miranda rights, the law she was convicted under was constitutionally vague and because all four statements were made on the same day, double jeopardy applied. Anthony did not argue the false statements were in fact true.
The court quickly dismissed the argument that section 835.055 of the Florida Statues was constitutionally vague. The judges also rejected the argument that the trial judge should have suppressed her statements because she was not given a Miranda warning.
The two interviews with Anthony occurred on July 16, 2008, several hours apart. The first interview was at the home of Anthony's parents, George and Cindy, after a 911 call was made to report Caylee's disappearance. The court found that although Anthony was briefly handcuffed after Cindy informed officers she had used her credit cards without permission, she was not detained or interrogated as a suspect in the disappearance of her daughter. In fact she was treated as a witness who appeared to be concerned and cooperative in a bid to find Caylee.
After police checked out some of the information Anthony had given them and determined it to be false, they got her to accompany them to Universal Studios. It became apparent, and Anthony finally admitted, she did not work there. The second interview was conducted in a spare office at Universal and the door to the office was closed.
Although the questioning became more aggressive, the court accepted the door was closed for reasons of privacy and ruled she was not detained as a suspect at that time. There was therefore no need for the officers to have given her the Miranda warning.
Anthony also argued on appeal that since all four statements were given on the same day, three of them should be overturned on the grounds the false statements were all one criminal act. The court rejected this saying that the separation in time of the two interviews allowed Anthony time to reflect prior to the second interview and therefore the false statements given in the second interview constituted a new criminal act.
The court however concluded that two convictions for two false statements given in the same interview with police constituted one criminal act and a conviction for the second statement in each of the interviews amounted to double jeopardy. The convictions for the second false statement in each interview were reversed.
WESH quotes Jeff Ashton, lead prosecutor at Anthony's trial, as saying, "We have read the opinion of the Fifth District Court of Appeal. We are pleased that they have affirmed the ruling of Judge Perry that the deputies of the Orange County Sheriff acted properly during their interactions with Ms. Anthony. We understand and respect the ruling of the court in connection with the multiple false statements made by Ms. Anthony. Once the trial court vacates the appropriate counts pursuant to the District Court's opinion, we expect the case of the State of Florida versus Casey Marie Anthony will be closed."
WKMG reports Anthony's lawyers, Cheney Mason and Lisbeth Fryer, saying they were "very happy with the victory" and will "determine if we will seek further relief from the Appellate Court."
Anthony could further appeal the convictions to the Florida Supreme Court.
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More about casey anthony appeal, Double jeopardy, Miranda warning, lying to police
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