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August 5, 2011

22

a hot mess of a legal morass – just another day in an Orlando courtroom

by Andrea O'Connell

So, it was déjà vu all over again, or so it seemed to me as the lawyers and Judge Belvin Perry held a hearing with regards to whether Casey Anthony will be required to serve probation in her check fraud case.

The defense lawyers stated the issue of probation is moot now.  They claim that Anthony already served probation while in jail awaiting trial for the murder of her own daughter, Caylee Anthony.

But did she?  Can probation be served while in jail?  The answer is No, but sometimes, Yes –  but in the right circumstances.

The “probation” that Casey Anthony served while awaiting trial, was hardly probation.

As we know, Anthony was found (cough) not guilty of the murder charges.  However, in 2010, she plead guilty to felony counts regarding the check fraud case against her.  Judge Stan Strickland, the original Judge in the Murder One case, heard the check fraud case back in 2010.  At the time, the Judge sentenced Anthony to “time served” and one year of probation – upon release, as he said in open court.

The problem, as you probably know, the Department of Corrections inadvertently put Anthony under probation while in jail, which was not the intent of the Court.  When Judge Strickland realized this, he amended his order and ordered probation for Anthony.

Judge Perry held a hearing on the matter today as Judge Strickland recused himself from the case.

Judge Perry heard the arguments today and told the lawyers he will take time to rule because, he said, “It’s a mess.”

My sense, based on listening to Judge Perry, is that he is leaning slightly to the side of issuing probation.   He discussed case law in which he told the lawyers that issuing probation does not necessarily measure up to Double Jeopardy.  He also needs time to research this question to determine if there  is any authority already decided as it relates to the facts in this case.

The expressive Judge Perry

Defense Attorney Lisabeth Fryer, argued the law today.  She is a very capable attorney and I imagine she will have a very bright future ahead of her.  However, it was unnecessary, in my opinion, for her to attempt to malign Judge Strickland’s reason for amending the court order so it would be clear. She said, and I paraphrase:  ‘Judge Strickland’s made this vindictive decision based on not agreeing with the verdict.’

Judge Stan Strickland would NOT act in such a manner, neither would Judge Perry!  The Honorable Judge Stan Strickland is beyond reproach, and the defense, as we know, have no problem shooting off at the mouth with contemptuous nonsense.

Perhaps Attorney Fryer has spent too much time with certain defense lawyers and now thinks that all persons are as vindictive and rude as her boss – the one with the fat middle finger that he enjoys extending upwards?

I do believe that Judge Perry’s arguments, which did support Judge Strickland’s decision, tended to support applying probation in this case.  Judge Perry appeared to base the situation on a scribner’s error.

Assistant State Attorney Frank George, appearing on behalf of the State Attorney, pointed out that the very purpose of probation is to facilitate the individuals re-entry back into the community.   And that is exactly what is at issue.  Probation is a critical part of the rehabilitation process and should not receive short shrift.

I do believe Judge Perry will attach some means of probation for Anthony as she is deserving of it, clearly.  However, nothing is a sure thing, and Perry did also mention the issue regarding Anthony’s safety in the community, and he indicated he will consider this in his decision making.  Also, Judge Perry discussed that the Defense would agree to Administrative Probation.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Administrative probation is defined as follows:

Administrative Probation is a form of non-contact supervision in which an offender who represents a low risk of harm to the community may, upon satisfactory completion of half the term of regular probation, be placed on non-reporting status until expiration of the term of supervision. The department is authorized to collect an initial processing fee of up to $50 for the offender reduced to administrative probation. Periodic record checks are completed to ensure the offender has not violated the law.

Frankly, I would like to see her serve probation, but serve it far, far away, out of sight and out of mind – finally.

Writing about this case

I keep expecting that my concentration on this case will begin to decrease, but when interesting things happen in this case, I can’t help but write about it!  The comings and goings of the players in this saga continue to fascinate me.

So, when something happens with regards to this case, I will continue to write about it….

After all, this case has provided me a wealth of content to write about.  And it’s certainly helped me to stick with my commitment to write every day in the Post-a-day-2011 challenge!  (I’ve posted everyday since the first of January!)

It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A! 

And, I have some great news…

I am taking the advice of Jeff Ashton, and others, to look outside of my four walls and my blog and do something to help children in my community.  (I wanted to be a Big Sister, in the Big Brother, Big Sisters program, but they have more “Bigs” than kids, at this point.)  So, I’m getting involved in the YMCA, specifically in the children’s activity areas.

A few days ago, I was approached about serving on the Board of the YMCA. And today, I went to a YMCA luncheon.

After a presentation about the good work of the YMCA, I attended a show put on by the children in the summer camp.   Let me tell you, it was incredible!  There were children everywhere, clapping in unison to a varied beat – so focused! They danced and sang their little hearts out!  It was such fun to see them!

So, the YMCA is going to have me, if they want me.  I want them, that’s for sure!  I should know in a couple of weeks what their decision is.  They’re looking for professionals who can bring a variety of skills and abilities to the board….

It will be a terrific and rare opportunity to make a difference to so many kids lives!!!

Singing…. “Y  M C  A  …. it’s fun to stay at the ….”

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22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rachel
    Aug 5 2011

    Good choice, and now we’ll all be singing that song all night long.

    Reply
    • Aug 6 2011

      …and having dreams of The Men at Work dancing…maybe I’ll stay up all night…

      Reply
  2. offthecuff
    Aug 5 2011

    Judges deal with these messes all the time. HHJP will have to step it up, clear up the maze, and lay down the law. Someone somewhere will have a beef about whatever he says.

    Reply
  3. Aug 6 2011

    If I understood correctly according to Richard Hornsby post on this matter the Admin~ probation would be illegal because that would require HHJS to have OK’d it. But I see its something in the hands of the DOC.

    Yes, Fryer is a good attorney but she is being led down the wrong road with Mason as her mentor. He may have been an upstanding attorney at one time but it hasn’t been of late. I do hope she gets away from the whole Casey DT and their tactics. If one truly believes in their client then such deceptive tactics and contemptuous statements are not necessary.

    Reply
    • Aug 6 2011

      Hi Sherry, I read that, too….I hope someone that Fryer trusts will inform her of the awful mess of a law firm she’s involved in and to get out while the getting out is easy!

      Reply
  4. Aug 6 2011

    Oh, gosh, I am so hoppin mad! First off, D.O.C. Supervisor Ms. Finnegan needs to lose her supervisory role of 28+ yrs & be CHARGED! She took the law into her own hands, and singularly MADE an executive decision regarding judicial orders of probation. No way is it possible that she did NOT recognize THE given unique situation and did NOT think to seek counsel of some sort. To me, it is very telling she was very aware, especially since protocol was NOT followed, i.e., notice to State Attorneys Office of probation entered, report of the lone visit, or completion. Flagrant and Blatant disregard for the LAW! On a happy note, I love Judge Perry! Loved it when he said, Does the Defense have a responsibility to report errors to the Courts as an “OFFICER OF THE COURT?”, after Ms. Fry acknowledged the defense was, in fact, aware of the scrivners error but stated not the defenses burden. DO WHAT??? It’s simple, the Defense, knowingly, failed to uphold the law, & they swore an oath to do so, to becoming a lawyer.

    Reply
    • Aug 6 2011

      Me too, RahRah…. But, it may have been oversight by the Defense, which makes them equally as horrible. Jose Baez, after all, wanted the probation after she was released…. why he did, who knows, but he did.
      I do hope that this can be looked at like an error that needs correction – she needs probation.

      Reply
  5. Aug 6 2011

    Oh Rah Rah; Thank you, thank you. Well stated. Andrea I always look forward to your posts and this is yet another one that strikes up a conversation. First, I was surprised when Perry seemed to be playing footsie with Ms. Fry. I thought to myself, why is he doing this. I know, he wants to make new case law under his guard. I smell an ego rising. Anyway I like him as a judge so don’t anyone misinterpret my feelings. 2nd. what on earth was she thinking of when insulting the actions of Judge Stan Strickland? Her arguments were long and boring. Frank George was succint and clear. Perry should do the right thing by following Strickland’s order. By not doing so he will create more of a mess. I thought the State should have brought to the argument, that Casey already broke her parole by consorting with felons (ie; her letters to inmantes). It is irrelevant that Casey’s girlfriend has no axe to grind as to whether Casey should do the parole. She was not gainlfully employed or should I say, looking for work. She did not take any courses to improve her mental state. And there was no way to gauge whether Casey could be assimilated into the general population since she was in jail (not prison), 24 hours a day. If anything I hope the law becomes clearer and that Corrections is not the decision maker of when someone serves parole (as this case seems to show). What is sometimes it’s applicable. The judge should rule and that’s it. Scribner’s error should not be the judge’s fault, nor should the inmate get a pass on what was intended.
    Here is my beef. I was watching Jane Valez Mitchell last night. She actually had the audacity to accuse Strickland of bias in the case, that he shouldn’t have stated his opinion after the case on t.v. (that’s a laugh, considering that’s what they invite to her show, legal talking heads with opinions). Since when is it against the law to state your mind. In any case, she is outraged that Casey should have to do parole. You know why? Again it’s a case of wanting Casey out in the open, so shows like hers will have juicy gossip to report on, so that everyone makes a great pay day. I want to know if anyone can confirm, that while on parole your passport is held by corrections and if not why, and if so, what about Administrative Parole, does that include removal of passport? You know where I am leading on this one, it’s pretty obvious. Tax sheltered bank account, off shore, while doing her photo shoots and interviews. Nuff said.

    Reply
    • Faith
      Aug 6 2011

      ITA!
      That young Ms Fryer needs to find another job,before insulting judges becomes a habit and then part of her reputation. Actually I could hardly believe she said that about Judge Strictland.
      I don’t watch JVM,but have seen her when I’m channel cruising and I wouldn’t be able to stand her voice long enough to watch her show even if it were interesting.
      I don’t know if KC has a passport. If not, but does anyone know if a six time convicted felon could get a passport.

      Andrea this is really a great blog.interesting,informative,sometimes sad and sometimes funny. I love it! Please keep up the good work!

      Reply
      • Aug 6 2011

        Faith – 6 times? I thought Casey had 4 convictions in the Fraud case? Either way, if she is free to roam, don’t count on any money coming into the U.S. It will all be funneled out of country to a foreign tax free haven. It’s in Baez & Mason’s interest to do that.

      • Aug 6 2011

        Hi Faith and Weezie, Yes, it really was horrendous of them to say such things about Judge Strickland. I cannot say enough GREAT things about him as a Judge, and a person, and to hear them malign him makes me upset.
        And Faith, thank you for your kind words! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. 🙂

        And Weezie, i can’t listen to JVM either! She and Nancy Grace both give me a splitting headache.

  6. Aug 6 2011

    Loise, well said!

    Reply
    • Aug 6 2011

      Thanks Hilde. Glad to see you around here. Fall is coming so hopefully we will start our evening comedy sessions again.

      Reply
  7. dee
    Aug 6 2011

    Having heard the live arguments, it is appropriate for Judge Perry to impose parole, and not administrative parole, but PAROLE in the truest sense of the word, as allowed by law. This is another incident of Baez and Mason thumbing their collective noses at court orders. At the moment they became aware that DOC misinterpreted the Court Order, as it relates to parole, each of them had an absolute DUTY, as Officers of the Court to notice the Court. Failure to do so is a blatant disregard of the law.
    As for Fryer, she has potential, but I question her ethics and judgment. She looked rather silly pointing the finger at Judge Strickland, seeming to assert that the imposition of parole was a product of his vindictiveness, when in fact at all times relevant her team was aware of this conundrum and disregarded their ethical responsibilities.
    BTW, is the Florida Bar taking note of the maze of ethical violations created by Baez and Mason…do they care? When will HJP follow-up on the promised contempt charge of Baez? Let’s hope that is next in line.

    Reply
    • Aug 6 2011

      dee; are you ever right about the collective thumbing bit. Have you ever seen an old man do that? It’s the same creepy visual of an older woman dressing like a teenager, but it’s worse. He means it. lol How is it that Fry can state that in her argument that the STATE knew about her serving parole while in jail, due to the media coverage of anything Casey. It was up to the Defence to state in writing that the Corretions Dept. was serving her this parole. They were hoping that this would happen. An ‘under the carpe’t, sneaky way of hiding this. All Casey did was sign a piece of paper. If that’s what the Defence considers parole, including time served, then no prisoners would be doing parole upon release, and that’s not what was ordered by Judge Stricland. Why is is Corrections did not communicate with the Judge on this order? Something stinks here.

      Reply
    • Aug 6 2011

      Dee! You said it, and you said it so well, too. Thank you for making sense out of this situation. And, it’s reasonable to question Fryer’s ethics, I agree.

      As for the Bar complaints, there was one against Mason that was dropped (for the finger routine), but I have not heard or read a single thing about what is happening with regards to any Baez investigations.

      I’m keeping my ears and eyes open for any news!

      Reply
  8. Aug 6 2011

    I will say this again. If the woman out shopping by herself in Ohio was really Casey. Where does the issue of her safety come in? To me it’s all a game. No way would Casey be out shopping with so many death threats hanging over her head. If it was her. Then the DEFENSE has no case.

    Reply
    • Aug 6 2011

      Shyloh ; you mean no case about her safety with regards to fulfilling her parole obligations right? If it is found out that this was staged and her parole is swept under the carpet, I think even JBP would be getting a lot of flack for his gulable and niaeve understanding of her safety. I wouldn’t put it past the defence to organize a group of nasties into creating a false fear for Casey’s life. Anyone can write threatening letters anonoymously. I think most people are just plainly saddened for no justice, and sick and tired of this little sht disturber’s existence, they want her to just go away.

      Reply
    • Aug 6 2011

      Shyloh, I agree with you and thought that myself! Where are the throngs going after her? Where is the chaos surrounding her? Is it wishful thinking so their argument against probation sounds better? Hmmmm

      And, Weezie (louise) I think you’ve got a good point, too. I hope Perry realizes what’s really going on!

      Reply
  9. Aug 6 2011

    That’s exactly what I mean. If they are allowing her to walk the streets with out a body guard. Going into stores buying soft drinks?? Or whatever. This girl, whoever it was, was all alone. And a camera on her at all times. How did she get there? She doesn’t have a drivers license any longer. It’s just plain strange. It’s odd too that no one crowded around her or yelled CASEY? Maybe this was a test run to see reactions. But what a way to go about it, someone could of got hurt.

    Reply
  10. Aug 6 2011

    OOps that was a reply to Louise Fell. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Aug 8 2011

    Certainly hope she has to serve probation! Whoa! She would have to get a J-O-B!

    Reply

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