ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - A Florida judge on Friday ordered Casey Anthony, the young mother acquitted of murdering her toddler, to report for probation by August 26 on a 2010 check fraud conviction.
Judge Belvin Perry rejected claims by Anthony’s lawyers that she had already served her probation while in jail awaiting trial on a charge of murder connected to the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.
The 25-year-old mother dropped out of sight in July after she left jail with no restrictions on her freedom after being acquitted of murder in nationally televised trial.
In his order, Perry took note of a widely reported celebrity poll in which Anthony overwhelmingly was found to be the most hated American, and authorized Florida corrections officials to keep Anthony’s home address a secret.
“This Court is very mindful that it is a high probability that there are many that would like to see physical harm visited upon the Defendant,” Perry wrote.
The judge who had accepted Anthony’s guilty pleas in the 2010 check fraud case, Stan Strickland, had stated in open court at the time that Anthony was to serve a year of probation after her release from jail.
His intent that probation begin after her release, however, was not written into the final order. Strickland filed a clarified version on August 1, following her July 17 release. Anthony’s lawyers responded with an emergency motion to quash that order.
In Friday’s decision, Perry wrote that Anthony’s lead defense lawyer, Jose Baez, knew that confusion had led the Florida Department of Corrections to allow Anthony to serve her probation while in jail awaiting her murder trial.
Defense lawyers claimed in court they were not obligated to speak up about the probation confusion. But Perry said lawyers have a “duty of candor,” and are responsible for ensuring that court orders are followed. Perry concluded that he would not allow Anthony to benefit from the situation.
“It is very clear (Anthony) and her attorney knew she was to start her probation upon release from the Orange County Jail. Despite this fact, they took advantage of a scrivener’s error which started the probation while she was being held in the jail pending trial,” Perry said.
“The defense should not be able to claim that they are now harmed by having (Anthony) serve probation at this time,” he wrote.
A person who declined to identify himself at Baez’s law firm said the firm had no comment.
Editing by Cynthia Johnston