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Published: Monday, 8/22/2011

Attorney: Casey Anthony has returned to Florida

Anthony will follow probation order if appeal fails

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ORLANDO, Fla. — Casey Anthony has returned to Florida.

Speaking Sunday on Fox News’ “Geraldo at Large,” Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez, said she’s in Florida and will report to a probation office if an appeal fails.

“We are going to follow the law wherever the courts follow the law and I am certain she will do what’s asked of her if necessary, and hopefully it won’t come to that,” Baez said.

Circuit Judge Stan Strickland sentenced Anthony to a year of probation in January 2010 after she pleaded guilty to stealing checks from a friend. At the time, Strickland said Anthony should serve the probation upon her release, but those instructions never made it into a written order. Corrections officials interpreted the sentence to mean Anthony could serve the probation while she was in jail awaiting her murder trial, where she was acquitted in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Strickland clarified in an order earlier this month that Anthony must begin her probation now that she is out of jail. He then recused himself from the case and turned it over to Judge Belvin Perry, who had presided over Anthony’s murder trial. Perry upheld Strickland’s order and Anthony’s attorneys last week filed an appeal with the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach.

In the appeal, Anthony’s attorneys accused Strickland of bias, citing an appearance on Nancy Grace’s television show in which he said he was shocked by the murder trial verdict. Grace has been a vocal critic of Anthony.

The attorneys also argued Strickland couldn’t amend the order since the probation sentence had already been completed. The order also violates double jeopardy since Anthony would be serving the same sentence twice, they said.

If the order is upheld, Anthony has until noon Friday to report to the probation office in Orlando, under the terms of Perry’s order.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Monday that there is a possibility that Anthony could report to a probation office in another part of Florida. Speaking in general terms, spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said if a probationer who was sentenced in Orlando has established a residence in another part of Florida, the probationer could report to the probation office in that part of the state rather than return to Orlando. Plessinger, however, said she needed to double check with whether such circumstances would apply to Anthony’s case under the terms of the judge’s order.

Since her release from jail following her acquittal, Anthony has kept a low profile and her exact whereabouts have been a secret.

During the Fox News interview, Baez said Anthony had spoken with her parents, George and Cindy, but had not talked with her brother, Lee. Anthony is undergoing therapy and counseling and is “trying to get a grasp of what happened to her,” Baez said.

Anthony’s legal team is concerned about her safety, given that she has received threats, and she is in a safe location, said Baez, although he wouldn’t say where in Florida she was.

“This is someone who has a lot of figuring out of what is left of her life,” Baez said.



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