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Crime & Courts

Reports: Jose Baez to represent 12-year-old in Polk bullying case

TBO.com staff
Published:   |   Updated: October 23, 2013 at 09:55 AM

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A 12-year-old accused of bullying a Lakeland girl who committed suicide has hired Jose Baez, the lawyer who represented Casey Anthony during her murder case, according to several media outlets.

Baez will represent the Crystal Lakes Middle School student, one of two girls arrested as juveniles on aggravated stalking charges last week by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Grady Judd named the girls last week, blaming them for tormenting Rebecca Sedwick, who jumped to her death in September.

There was no comment from Baez’s office, but WKMG-TV in Orlando said Baez confirmed the hiring. Websites for the Orlando Sentinel and Ledger in Lakeland also said Baez took the case.

In July 2011, Anthony was found not guilty on murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Baez was Anthony’s lead attorney in that case.

The 12-year-old suspect, a former best friend of Sedwick, has shown remorse for her role in the case, according to authorities. She was released to her parents after her arrest.

The other suspect, a 14-year-old girl, remains detailed in the juvenile detention center. She appeared Tuesday before a judge who refused to hear the case. The girl has been represented by Polk attorney Andrea DeMichael, who made media appearances last week to say Judd’s case “is not as clear cut as it seems.”

The mother of the 14-year-old was arrested last week after a video surfaced on Facebook showing her in a fight with unidentified juveniles, according to the sheriff’s office. She faces child abuse and child neglect charges.

Sedwick’s mother, Tricia Norman, has retained attorney David Henry, managing partner of Morgan & Morgan’s Winter Haven office, the law firm said.

TBO.com is not naming the suspects because of their age and because their crimes did not involve physical violence.

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