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Casey Anthony must serve probation in check case, judge rules

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 05:57 PM
ORLANDO -

Casey Anthony must return to Orlando within two weeks to serve a year's probation for check fraud, a Florida judge ruled Friday.

Judge Belvin Perry said that Anthony must follow an order issued by another judge and report to a probation officer in Orange County no later than Aug. 26 at noon, although she could report earlier.

The other judge, Stan Strickland, had sentenced Anthony in January 2010 to one year of probation after she pleaded guilty to stealing checks from a friend. He said Anthony should serve the probation upon her release, but those instructions never made it to a written order. Corrections officials interpreted the sentence to mean Anthony could serve the probation while she was in jail awaiting her murder trial.

Strickland clarified in an order last week that Anthony needs to start serving probation now that she is out of jail. Strickland later recused himself and turned the case over to Perry, who presided over the murder trial that ended last month with Anthony's acquittal in her daughter's death.

Perry put the probation order on hold temporarily and heard arguments last week from Anthony's attorneys. They told the judge that she had served her probation while in jail awaiting her murder trial and requiring her to do so again would be double jeopardy. They also argued that she would be in danger if her location were known, given that she has received death threats.

Perry said he would authorize the Department of Corrections to make an exception and keep Anthony's address private during her probation. The judge also discounted the double jeopardy argument, saying Anthony was unable to meet the goals of a probationary sentence since she was in jail.

"It is clear the court stated the defendant's probation was to start once she was released from jail," Perry said in his order.

Allowing Anthony to serve probation while in jail "would take a lawfully imposed sentence and make it a mockery of justice," Perry added. "This would allow a defendant to take advantage of a scrivener's error and be rewarded. This is not the message the courts want to send to the public or defendants."

Anthony has been out of the public eye since she was acquitted in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. The jury's decision angered many people online and elsewhere, and threats were made against Anthony's life.

Three of Anthony's attorneys didn't return phone calls and emails Friday afternoon.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said the agency had just received the order and was reviewing it.

Under the terms of the probation order, Anthony will have to report to a probation officer every month and can't change her residency without permission from the probation officer. She is prohibited from getting drunk or using drugs, is required to find a job and can't associate with known criminals. She must submit to reasonable searches in her home and at her job by her probation officer.

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