Tag Archive: Caylee Anthony homicide


She’s not going to win a popularity contest any time soon.

Casey Anthony, the 25-year-old Floridan found not guilty last month of killing her 2-year-old daughter, has been deemed America‘s most hated person in a new poll.

Anthony took top billing in the “total dislike” category of the survey, with 94 percent of respondents ranking her negatively, according to E-Poll Market Research.

She scored above — or, depending on how you look at it, below — reality TV personality Spencer Pratt, Nadya “Octomom” Suleman and O.J. Simpson, who received poor marks from 88, 87 and 85 percent of respondents, respectively.

For the so-called E-Score Celebrity poll, E-Poll Market Research claims it contacted 1,100 respondents ages 13 and older in the first week of August and asked them if they had heard of a number of celebrities.

If the respondents were aware of the stars, the researchers asked them if they liked or disliked the celebs, the E-Poll blog notes.

The poll does not indicate a margin of error, UPI points out.

SEE: CASEY ANTHONY’S PERSONAL PHOTOS

Anthony was also considered the most “cold” celebrity, with 60 percent of respondents using that term to describe her. Only 43 percent called O.J. Simpson “cold,” according to The Orlando Sentinel.

Casey Anthony, who was acquitted in her daughter's death, is released from jail in Orlando on July 17.

 

A Florida judge on Monday signed amended court documents mandating that Casey Anthony return to Orlando to serve a year of probation stemming from her check fraud conviction.

“From my reading of this, she should be reporting to probation in Orlando probably within 72 hours,” Orange County Circuit Judge Stan Strickland said in signing the documents, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The action came after an apparent misunderstanding in the case.

Anthony pleaded guilty in January 2010 to felony check fraud charges, admitting she stole a checkbook from her friend Amy Huizenga and wrote five checks totaling $644.25. At the time, defense attorney Jose Baez asked that Anthony be given credit for time served and be placed on probation.

Strickland apparently intended for the supervised probation to begin after Anthony’s release from custody, said Randy Means, spokesman for the Orange County State Attorney’s Office. But the order signed by Strickland at the time seemed to indicate it was to run while she was in custody awaiting trial on murder charges in the 2008 death of her daughter Caylee.

A jury acquitted Anthony of charges in Caylee’s death. The 25-year-old Orlando woman was released from jail July 17. Her whereabouts since then have been unknown.

Means said prosecutors were surprised to receive a letter from the probation office indicating Anthony’s probation was completed.

He said there was a miscommunication between what Strickland said at the sentencing and what the court clerk understood. The clerk thought the probation and Anthony’s time in custody were to run concurrently.

The documents were amended Monday to add the words “upon release” to Anthony’s sentencing documents, the Sentinel said.

Orange County prosecutors will not take a position on whether Anthony should serve probation, Means said, adding the issue is between Strickland, Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. — who presided over Anthony’s murder trial — the probation department and the clerk’s office.

“We don’t think we have jurisdiction. The court is the sentencer, and if they think it (sentencing) was not followed, they can do something,” Means said. “Our position is to leave it up to the court.”

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman told CNN affiliate WESH that Anthony must report to Orange County within 72 hours. “We are moving forward to make sure she is following the judge’s orders,” Gretl Plessinger said.

Anthony’s defense attorneys may challenge the move and claim Anthony should not have to serve probation because she already did while in custody, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Means said the defense would have a strong argument to have the amended sentencing order declared invalid on grounds of double jeopardy. It would be unconstitutional to have Anthony serve another year of probation if technically she already served it while in jail, he said.

Perry has indicated he wants to meet with officials from the Department of Corrections to go over what happened and “make corrections.” Means said he does not know what that means, and knew of no pending hearings regarding the issue.

Strickland recused himself from the Anthony case in April 2010 after the defense claimed he was biased against her. At Anthony’s sentencing on the check fraud charges, she was ordered to have no contact with Huizenga, who testified against her during her murder trial.

At her sentencing for the check fraud charges last year, Anthony said, “I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m sorry for what I did. I take complete and full responsibility for my actions, and I’d like to apologize to Amy. I wish I’d been a better friend.”

The jury in the Casey Anthony trial was not instructed that circumstantial evidence is entitled to the same weight and consideration as direct evidence. Indeed, the words “circumstantial evidence” do not appear anywhere in the court’s charge to the jury. I do not know whether or not the prosecution requested such an instruction, but the court did not give it, and apparently Florida law does not provide or require it.

The fact that Casey Anthony was the last person to have custody of her daughter, failed to report her missing (or dead) for 31 days, consistently lied once confronted, and the child was found dead and hidden, and she failed to tell what actually happened despite repeated opportunities to do so to her family, friends or law enforcement, (even when faced with the death penalty) was sufficient to find her guilty — not necessarily of premeditated murder, but certainly all lesser charges. The duct tape and other forensic evidence provided additional, but not necessary, evidence.

Jury charges are invariably long and complex and difficult to understand. The courts have been struggling for years to make them shorter and simpler. Pattern and model charges are common in many jurisdictions. In the process some essential instructions may have been deleted. Traditionally, jury instructions contained language along the following lines (excerpts from a Connecticut model instruction):

There are, generally speaking, two kinds of evidence, direct and circumstantial. Direct evidence is testimony by a witness about what that witness personally saw or heard or did. Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence, that is, evidence from which you could find that another fact exists, even though it has not been proved directly. There is no legal distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence as far as probative value; the law permits you to give equal weight to both, but it is for you to decide how much weight to give to any particular evidence.

Circumstantial evidence of an event is the testimony of witnesses as to the existence of certain facts or evidence or the happening of other events from which you may logically conclude that the event in question did happen. ***Assume that it is a December night, the weather is clear, there is no snow on the ground, and you retire for the evening. You wake up the next morning, you look out the window and you see snow on the ground and footprints across your lawn. The evidence that the night before there was no snow on the ground and the next morning there was snow on the ground and footprints across your lawn is direct evidence. That direct evidence, however, is circumstantial evidence of the fact that some time during the night it snowed and that some time thereafter someone walked across your lawn.

There is no reason to be prejudiced against evidence simply because it is circumstantial evidence. You make decisions on the basis of circumstantial evidence in the everyday affairs of life. There is no reason why decisions based on circumstantial evidence should not be made in the courtroom. In fact, proof by circumstantial evidence may be as conclusive as would be the testimony of witnesses speaking on the basis of their own observation. Circumstantial evidence, therefore, is offered to prove a certain fact from which you are asked to infer the existence of another fact or set of facts. Before you decide that a fact has been proved by circumstantial evidence, you must consider all of the evidence in light of reason, experience and common sense.

Obviously I cannot be certain that such an instruction would have made a difference. However, the few tidbits received from jurors seem to suggest that the lack of direct evidence of guilt was the prime factor in their verdict. Although many, if not most disagree with the verdict (myself included), neither the jury nor the court can be faulted. The jury followed the law as given, and the judge instructed the jury as required. Nor can I find any fault with the prosecution team, which in my opinion, performed with great competence and integrity. I cannot lavish such praise upon defense counsel, but I suppose their victory for their client moots any criticism of their tactics — a subject possibly for another day.

In my more than 50 years in the law I personally experienced disagreement with a jury verdict twice — once as a trial lawyer and once as a trial judge. Practically everyone reads or hears about verdicts with which they disagree. I know I do. But with minor, but sometimes very serious exceptions in both findings of guilt and acquittal, the system works well and the jury gets it right. Nothing could be worse than to harass or threaten jurors for their verdicts. Jury service is both a duty and a sacrifice; no one should be condemned for pursuing their conscience.

The jury in the Casey Anthony trial was not instructed that circumstantial evidence is entitled to the same weight and consideration as direct evidence. Indeed, the words “circumstantial evidence” do not appear anywhere in the court’s charge to the jury. I do not know whether or not the prosecution requested such an instruction, but the court did not give it, and apparently Florida law does not provide or require it.

The fact that Casey Anthony was the last person to have custody of her daughter, failed to report her missing (or dead) for 31 days, consistently lied once confronted, and the child was found dead and hidden, and she failed to tell what actually happened despite repeated opportunities to do so to her family, friends or law enforcement, (even when faced with the death penalty) was sufficient to find her guilty — not necessarily of premeditated murder, but certainly all lesser charges. The duct tape and other forensic evidence provided additional, but not necessary, evidence.

Jury charges are invariably long and complex and difficult to understand. The courts have been struggling for years to make them shorter and simpler. Pattern and model charges are common in many jurisdictions. In the process some essential instructions may have been deleted. Traditionally, jury instructions contained language along the following lines (excerpts from a Connecticut model instruction):

There are, generally speaking, two kinds of evidence, direct and circumstantial. Direct evidence is testimony by a witness about what that witness personally saw or heard or did. Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence, that is, evidence from which you could find that another fact exists, even though it has not been proved directly. There is no legal distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence as far as probative value; the law permits you to give equal weight to both, but it is for you to decide how much weight to give to any particular evidence.

Circumstantial evidence of an event is the testimony of witnesses as to the existence of certain facts or evidence or the happening of other events from which you may logically conclude that the event in question did happen. ***Assume that it is a December night, the weather is clear, there is no snow on the ground, and you retire for the evening. You wake up the next morning, you look out the window and you see snow on the ground and footprints across your lawn. The evidence that the night before there was no snow on the ground and the next morning there was snow on the ground and footprints across your lawn is direct evidence. That direct evidence, however, is circumstantial evidence of the fact that some time during the night it snowed and that some time thereafter someone walked across your lawn.

There is no reason to be prejudiced against evidence simply because it is circumstantial evidence. You make decisions on the basis of circumstantial evidence in the everyday affairs of life. There is no reason why decisions based on circumstantial evidence should not be made in the courtroom. In fact, proof by circumstantial evidence may be as conclusive as would be the testimony of witnesses speaking on the basis of their own observation. Circumstantial evidence, therefore, is offered to prove a certain fact from which you are asked to infer the existence of another fact or set of facts. Before you decide that a fact has been proved by circumstantial evidence, you must consider all of the evidence in light of reason, experience and common sense.

Obviously I cannot be certain that such an instruction would have made a difference. However, the few tidbits received from jurors seem to suggest that the lack of direct evidence of guilt was the prime factor in their verdict. Although many, if not most disagree with the verdict (myself included), neither the jury nor the court can be faulted. The jury followed the law as given, and the judge instructed the jury as required. Nor can I find any fault with the prosecution team, which in my opinion, performed with great competence and integrity. I cannot lavish such praise upon defense counsel, but I suppose their victory for their client moots any criticism of their tactics — a subject possibly for another day.

In my more than 50 years in the law I personally experienced disagreement with a jury verdict twice — once as a trial lawyer and once as a trial judge. Practically everyone reads or hears about verdicts with which they disagree. I know I do. But with minor, but sometimes very serious exceptions in both findings of guilt and acquittal, the system works well and the jury gets it right. Nothing could be worse than to harass or threaten jurors for their verdicts. Jury service is both a duty and a sacrifice; no one should be condemned for pursuing their conscience.

iol pic casey anthony

Casey Anthony walked out of jail a free woman under heavy guard early on Sunday, facing shouts of “baby killer” only days after the US watched with rapt attention as she was acquitted of murder in the death of her two-year-old daughter.

The 25-year-old woman, who had spent years in the spotlight’s glare including two months of nationally televised trial proceedings, swiftly boarded an SUV and rode out of public view, her destination unknown as new questions unfolded as to what her future would hold.

Wearing a snug pink Polo T-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers, Anthony walked briskly from the Orlando area jail at 12.14am local time (04.14 GMT) with her attorney, Jose Baez, at her side.

Her hair in a bun, a sombre-looking Anthony quietly said “thank you” to a deputy sheriff waiting to escort her outside, and then strode with Baez to the vehicle as two deputies armed with semiautomatic rifles walked behind. Baez held the back door, she climbed in and the SUV drove off amid camera light flashes.

As Anthony’s SUV left the jail’s parking lot, the crowd of more than 100 people surged against the orange plastic police barricades. Some yelled, “You suck!” Mounted patrolman and police cruisers blocked the street outside the jail so Anthony’s vehicle could drive onto a nearby highway ramp unobstructed.

“A baby killer was just set free!” Bree Thornton, 39, shouted at the passing SUV.

When Anthony was acquitted July 5 of murder in the death of her toddler, hundreds of thousands of people captivated by the case – and doubtful of her credibility – poured their rage into postings on Facebook and the micro-blogging site Twitter. Those and other social media sites provided a platform and a vast audience for a decibel level of vitriol seldom seen before.

Since her acquittal on murder charges, Anthony had been finishing her four-year sentence for telling investigators several lies, including an early claim that her daughter Caylee was kidnapped by a nonexistent nanny. With credit for the nearly three years she’d spent in jail since August 2008 and good behaviour, she had only days remaining when she was sentenced July 7.

Early Sunday, news helicopters followed the SUV to a covered parking garage at an Orlando office building where one of her attorneys, Cheney Mason, has offices. The SUV didn’t re-emerge, and it could not been seen in the darkness if Anthony was in any of the cars that appeared in the area.

After three years behind bars, Anthony was given $537.68 in cash from her jail account to begin her new life.

For nearly two months, the murder trial of Casey Anthony was a living entity. It breathed daily across the nation’s television airwaves, then was reinforced nightly on cable TV programs that dissected every word uttered in the courtroom and fuelled speculation on her fate.

Baez, in a brief statement to reporters, signaled a new chapter was opening in the Casey Anthony case.

“It is my hope that Casey Anthony can receive the counselling and treatment she needs to move forward with the rest of her life,” Baez said in the statement.

Certainly, she still faces anger and ire around the nation that brought tight security for Sunday’s release.

“This release had an unusual amount of security so, therefore, in that sense, it would not be a normal release,” Orange County Jail spokesman Allen Moore said. “We have made every effort to not provide any special treatment for her. She’s been treated like every other inmate.”

Moore said there were no known threats received at the jail. Yet officials had a number of contingency plans in place, including plans in case shots were fired as she was being released.

More than a dozen corrections officers, most wearing bullet proof vests, patrolled the outside of the jail before Anthony’s release. Half-dozen officers wearing riot helmets were mounted on horses, and some corrections officials carried semiautomatic weapons.

The crowd included about a half-dozen, sign-carrying protesters who had gathered despite a drenching thunderstorm Saturday night. Onlookers had varied reactions to her release.

“She is safer in jail than she is out here,” said Mike Quiroz, who drove from Miami to spend his 22nd birthday outside the jail. “She better watch her butt. She is known all over the world.”

Lamar Jordan said he felt a pit in his stomach when he saw Anthony walking free.

“The fact that she is being let out, the fact that it is her child and she didn’t say what happened, made me sick,” Jordan said.

Not all of those who gathered condemned the 25-year-old.

“I’m for Casey,” said Kizzy Smith, of Orlando. “She was proven innocent. At the end of the day, Caylee is at peace. We’re the ones who are in an uproar.”

Many still speculate about what really happened to Caylee, whose remains were found in December 2008 near the home Casey Anthony shared with her parents: Was she suffocated with duct tape by her mother, as prosecutors argued? Or did she drown in an accident that snowballed out of control, as defense attorneys contended?

Now that she is free, it’s not clear where Anthony will stay or what she will do next.

Her relationship with her parents, George and Cindy, has been strained since defense attorneys accused George Anthony of molesting Casey when she was young. Baez argued during trial that the alleged abuse resulted in psychological issues that caused her to lie and act without apparent remorse after Caylee’s death.

Defense attorneys also said George Anthony made Caylee’s death look like a homicide after the girl accidentally drowned in the family pool. But defense attorneys never called witnesses to support their claims.

George Anthony has adamantly denied covering up his granddaughter’s death or molesting Casey Anthony when she was a child.

Prosecutors alleged that Anthony suffocated her daughter with duct tape because motherhood interfered with her desire for a carefree life of partying with friends and spending time with her boyfriend. However, some jurors have told various media outlets that the state didn’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt as required for a conviction – though some have said they believe she bears some responsibility in the case. – Sapa-AP

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