Casey Anthony appeal: probation a 'vindictive act by a glaringly biased judge'
Lawyers for Casey Anthony file an emergency petition appealing a judge's order that she must return to Orlando next week to begin serving a year of probation they say she already completed.
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In a 16-page emergency petition filed on Wednesday, the lawyers asked the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach to vacate what they said was an “illegal sentence.” Expedited review was necessary, the lawyers said, to “prevent the continued unlawful exercise of jurisdiction by the lower court.”
The lawyers said that although judges have the authority to correct a clerical error in a sentence still being served, they do not have the power to amend a sentence once it has been completed.
“Once a sentence has been fully served, even if it is an illegal sentence, the court lacks jurisdiction and would violate double jeopardy by resentencing the defendant to an increased sentence,” the appeal says.
IN PICTURES: Key players in the Casey Anthony murder trial
At issue is a dispute over whether Ms. Anthony properly served her term of probation while she was still held in the Orange County Jail awaiting her trial on charges that she murdered her two-year-old daughter, Caylee.
While awaiting the murder trial, Anthony pleaded guilty to check-fraud charges and was sentenced to time she’d already served in jail plus a year of probation. The judge in the check-fraud case, Stan Strickland, stated during the sentencing that she was to serve the probation upon release from jail. But Judge Strickland’s signed order did not spell that requirement out in writing.
As a result, the Probation Department conducted Anthony’s supervised probation while she was still in jail awaiting the murder trial. At the conclusion of her year-long supervision, Anthony was given a letter acknowledging that she had successfully completed her probation.
Anthony was later acquitted or the murder charges and was released from jail on July 17. The acquittal sparked outrage across the country among many who had been closely following the high-profile case and had concluded – unlike the jury – that she was guilty.
After her release, Strickland, acting on his own, issued a corrected sentence, ordering Anthony to return within 72 hours to Orlando to serve her probation term.
That order was stayed pending a hearing conducted by Chief Judge Belvin Perry. Last week, the chief judge reimposed Strickland’s amended sentence and ordered Anthony to report for probation by Aug. 26.