Casey Anthony: A not-so-free woman after all?

We’ve spent months following the Casey Anthony case, and until this past Monday, we didn’t think there would be anything left to write about. Then news broke that Casey Anthony had 72 hours to report back to Orlando to meet her probation officer.

We still don’t know Casey Anthony’s current whereabouts, but if she is ordered to serve probation, she will be required to provide an Orlando address to her probation officer. In most cases, the parolee’s address is public record, but exceptions can be made and given the public’s opinion in this case, that exception may be considered.

Anthony is facing the possibility of probation for check fraud charges that she plead guilty to last year. The confusion lies in whether or not Anthony’s jail time counted towards that probation. Anthony’s criminal lawyer argues yes, but Judge Stan Strickland says no. According to anMSNBC article, “Strickland said at the time he had meant that Anthony — found not guilty of killing her daughter and released in July — should serve the probation order if and when she was freed.”

On Tuesday, Cheney Mason filed a motion to disqualify Judge Strickland. Today, the judge has recused himself and the matter has been reassigned to Chief Judge Belvin Perry, the judge who presided over Anthony’s first-degree murder trial.

We will see whether Casey Anthony will be required by Judge Perry to return to Orlando to serve probation and whether she will abide by the court’s order. If a bench warrant issues for her arrest for failing to return to Orlando, the fever to locate her will be heightened. Media and law enforcement from across the country will seek to capture her arrest and return her to Florida. The public spectacle surrounding Casey Anthony will surely continue.

Man Accused of Murder Will Represent Himself in Court

The jury selection process has begun for a Pinellas County man accused of killing his wife over 10 years ago. Robert Temple is facing first-degree murder charges and has announced that he will be representing himself in court.

With such serious accusations and convictions at stake, Temple is making a very bold move by deciding to act as his own attorney. Temple has no legal background, but according to a TBO article, he is finding encouragement from the recent acquittal of Casey Anthony.

“Nobody believed Casey Anthony, and I see she got found not guilty,” Temple said. “It’s a matter of what the proof shows, and I believe I have enough proof to show I didn’t kill my wife.”

It is not completely surprising that Temple finds encouragement from the Casey Anthony case, but it does seem unreasonable that he is going at this alone. Having the expertise of a criminal defense attorneyis certainly one of the key components that helped make Casey Anthony’s case. Although evidence is the major piece of the puzzle, the knowledge and experience that a defense attorney would provide is essential.

Temple has many forces working against him in this case; no attorney, a “forged” confession document, and his ex-girlfriend, who allegedly helped clean up the murder scene, is testifying against him. Will Robert Temple do himself justice or will he end up regretting the decision to act as his own attorney?

Social Media’s Role in the Casey Anthony Case

The Casey Anthony trial was the first high-profile murder case to take place in the social media realm. The blogosphere went haywire; tweets and posts around the country were trending anything related to Casey Anthony. We saw the posts, even sent out a few tweets about the topic ourselves, but what did the defense think about all of the social media action? Some argue that they made their case based on it.

Prior to the trial, Amy Singer was hired by the defense (pro-bono) to help with the jury selection process and consultation during the trial. According to an article from Law.com, Singer was quoted saying that “the whole trial was social-media driven.”

Singer and her team searched thousands of blogs and posts before and during the trial to find out “what was annoying people about Anthony”. They wanted to hear the important negative comments so the defense could address the issues in their arguments.

For example, as soon as the bloggers and tweeters developed an opinion about George Anthony, Singer encouraged the defense to dig more information up and put him in the spotlight. The thought here was that if the public had such an agreed consensus towards certain evidence or topics, the jury may share the same thoughts.

The jury selection was very critical in this case, and according to some the trial was over after the jury was selected. The defense’s ideal juror was “bright and intelligent” and if they were talking about Casey Anthony, they were talking about the facts; i.e mentioning Caylee’s skull being found in a field as opposed to Casey’s alleged party girl persona.

Needless to say, all the posts, blogs and tweets involving anything to do with Casey Anthony were analyzed by the defense and taken into account for the development of the case. And for what it’s worth, the defense team did a proficient job using that information to help back the case.

Is social media another expertise that should be developed by criminal defense attorneys? Florida A&M professor Shiv Persaud thinks so.

“It definitely might become a part of my curriculum in trial practice. We could benefit from a new type of tool we didn’t have before.” 

It couldn’t hurt. Time is an obvious issue, but when searching for a criminal lawyer, check Facebook and Twitter. If they have a presence, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Is Florida’s death sentence policy unconstitutional?

Currently, Florida’s death sentence policy is different than all other states in the US. Although some states have modified versions, Florida is the only state that allows the jury to recommend either the death penalty or life in prison decided on by majority vote. The judge then takes the recommendation into consideration but does not have to agree.

Last week in Miami, a Federal judge declared that Florida’s death sentence was unconstitutional because jurors are not required to explain what specific part of evidence they based their decision on. This is just one example of a situation where having a lawyer familiar with the Federal criminal code and Federal criminal sentencing could be beneficial.

According to an article from Tampa Bay Online, the ruling applies only to a specific case of a murderer currently on Florida’s Death Row, but there is reason to believe that this will spark many more challenges in the future.

So this brings us to the “hot topic” question… will this ruling have any effect on the outcome of the Casey Anthony case? The Anthony defense sure hopes so. Since word of Wednesday’s ruling from the Miami judge, Anthony’s defense team has “filed a motion to have the Florida death penalty declared unconstitutional.”

Anthony’s defense team decided to challenge the current death penalty days after their motion for a ruling of competence was disregarded. Three different psychologists saw Anthony and according to their findings, she is competent and the trial will proceed on Friday, and now on Monday news breaks that they have filed the motion. Coincidence?

UPDATE 7/6/11: With the acquittal yesterday of all murder charges, it isn’t applicable to the Casey Anthony case any longer.

Casey Anthony’s Defense Stated in Opening Statements

The public tuned in Tuesday for the opening statements of the Casey Anthony trial where Anthony finally stated her defense. Back in 2008 this case was showcased on news outlets everywhere, leading many to believe that Casey Anthony murdered her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

During the opening statements we heard two different stories. The prosecutors claimed that Caylee suffocated from duct tape placed on her nose and mouth while defendants argued that Caylee drowned in the family pool. To complicate this trial even more, the autopsy was not able to determine how Caylee died.

An article in Seattle pi quotes Casey Anthony’s criminal defense attorney, Jose Baez saying that

“Casey should have called 911. That’s what she’s guilty of, she’s not guilty of murder. This is not a murder case.”

The article goes into more specifics as to what the defense is arguing in favor of Anthony including accusations that the police performed a “botched investigation” to feed the media a story of a murdering mother.

To further explain Casey Anthony’s bizarre behavior following her daughter’s disappearance, the defense contends that Casey was sexually molested by her father from the time she was 8 years old. This was a very dysfunctional family that had secrets, dirty secrets. The defense made specific challenges to the evidence the state will likely introduce and better be able to back up those claims through cross-examination or in their own case. One thing is for sure, Casey Anthony is going to have to take the witness stand after that opening statement.

Will the Media Influence the Casey Anthony Case?

The media plays an influential role in our life everyday, but will it play a role in the outcome of the very publicized Casey Anthony case?

Anthony is accused of murdering her two year old daughter in Orlando. A very public search was conducted to find the “missing” girl, who’s remains were found months later and fingers were pointed at mother Casey Anthony.

According to Anthony’s defense attorney Jose Baez, the standard microphones that are found in every courtroom are picking up private conversations between Anthony and Baez. Under the legal process, all conversations between the defendant and lawyer should be private. Baez requested that all the microphones to be removed excluding the Judge’s and the juror’s.

Judge Belvin Perry took many steps to make sure that the media was not an influence on the juror’s decision. Jurors pulled from Pinellas County were questioned more specifically about what they had heard about the case and how they felt about the death penalty. Perry decided to pull jurors from Pinellas County because the media coverage was not as extreme.

According to an article from the St. Pete Times, Jonathan Green really didn’t want to have jury duty. Green was fined $450 for contempt of court when he admitted to talking about the case to someone else. Green said, “I just wanted to get out of jury duty.” It is almost hard to blame Pinellas County citizens to not want to be a juror for this case. The jurors are expected to be in the Orlando courtroom everyday for 6-8weeks.

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