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A polite 'offender Anthony' reports for probation

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 07:36 PM
TALLAHASSEE -

Casey Anthony's first meeting with her probation officer lasted a little more than an hour, went without incident and her attorneys were not present. She told her officer that she intended to do well.

Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of murder charges in her daughter's death, reported at 6 p.m. Wednesday to her probation officer to begin serving a one-year probation on an unrelated check fraud conviction, officials said.

She's now "offender Anthony," and to keep her safe, the state Department of Corrections won't tell anyone where she is serving probation.

Because she has been the target of death threats after the high-profile murder case, the department won't release which probation office in Florida or the name of her probation officer, department spokeswoman Gretl Plessenger said during a news conference Thursday morning.

Judge Belvin Perry, who ordered the probation after some confusion about another judge's order, gave the department the discretion to keep confidential details on Anthony's location.

"Her information is not going to be entered into our database," Plessenger said.

Plessinger insisted that this did not mean that Florida was giving special treatment to Anthony. State officials, for example, will not escort her to and from her home to the probation office.

Anthony's meeting with her probation officer lasted a little more than an hour, went without incident and her attorneys were not present, Plessenger said. She was "polite," and told her officer that she intended to do well.

She must meet in person with the probation officer within the first five days of every month and is subject to random checks.

Anthony, 25, has been in hiding since being set free last month after a jury found her not guilty of murder in the 2008 death of 2-year-old Caylee. Afterward, she had received death threats from some who followed her highly visible and heavily scrutinized case.

"Because of the death threats against her and the court orders we are taking security in consideration in this case, certainly," Plessenger said. "… But she will be treated like every other defender in that if she doesn't follow her court orders, we will immediately notify the court."

The safety concerns extend to Department of Corrections personnel, Plessenger said.

Among the requirements of Anthony's probation is that she "work diligently at a lawful occupation to the best of her ability," Plessenger said.

However, Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez, told Fox News Channel that Anthony would not be required to be employed and will take online classes.

Plessenger said Anthony could choose to go to school - including an online school - while serving her probation instead of seeking a job. Such details would be worked out with the probation officer. Anthony has not yet made a request to go to school.

Plessenger noted it is difficult at times for people on probation to get a job because of a criminal conviction.

"Thousands of offenders are in school, some are actively seeking a job," the spokeswoman said. "We work with each offender as we can."

Baez has said Anthony intends to serve the probation in Florida, although Plessenger said Anthony could apply for a transfer that would need to be approved by the state she would move to. Anthony must also ask for permission to leave the county she was living in.

However, Plessenger, who made references to "offender Anthony" during the news conference, would not reveal the county.

A Florida appeals court Tuesday denied a request that would have stopped her from being forced to start the probation by the end of the week.

Anthony's attorneys had argued she already had completed it while in jail awaiting her murder trial. The Fifth District Court of Appeal disagreed with the argument that enforcing the probation order would violate the constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy.

Circuit Judge Stan Strickland in January 2010 said Anthony should serve probation after her release from jail. She had pleaded guilty to stealing checks from a friend. His instructions never made it into a written order and corrections officials interpreted the sentence to mean Anthony could serve the probation while she was in jail.

In an order this month, Strickland clarified 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 Perry, who presided over Anthony's murder trial. Perry upheld Strickland's order, and Anthony's attorneys appealed last week to the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach.

Plessenger said the Department of Corrections did not make a mistake in handling the case.

Meantime, a hearing regarding repayment of the investigation and prosecution costs in the Caylee Anthony case was moved from Thursday to Sept. 2.


Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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