Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry is expected to rule this week – possibly Wednesday – on whether or not Casey Anthony should serve probation now, after her release from jail.
The court case involving Anthony’s old check fraud conviction in 2010 has slowly turned into an embarrassment for the state’s court system.
Anthony’s probation status in the old check fraud case became a controversy last month after the Department of Corrections confirmed Anthony served probation while she was in jail awaiting trial in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Marie.
Some legal analysts say the probation issue has turned into a scandal because nobody expected Anthony to be acquitted of murder charges – meaning probation was a mute point.
"There are no clear-cut answers in this case. It's a mess," Perry said in court last week.
Perry could come back to court as soon as today to announce his decision about Anthony’s probation status and it is anybody’s guess as to what he will decide.
When Anthony was released from jail on July 17, some were confused about whether she would start serving probation.
However, the Department of Corrections told the courts she had already served probation while in jail. That is when the confusion began.
“She received her probation termination letter in January of this year,” said Susan Finigan, a probation officer with the DOC.
Perry withheld ruling on whether Casey Anthony should be required to adhere to an order to return to Orange County to serve probation for check fraud last week.
Judge Stan Strickland, who is in the center of the confusion, sentenced Anthony to one year probation in January 2010 for using checks stolen from a friend, according to court records.
Strickland issued the order last week for Anthony to return to serve one year probation from the old check fraud conviction that hit the courts in January 2010.
In the meantime, Strickland has recused himself from Anthony's case.
However, he publicly announced that he intended for Anthony to serve her probation upon her release from jail and amended his written order to reflect his intent last week.
Defense attorney Jose Baez said the entire case should be “thrown out” due to double jeopardy rules.
“Things keep coming up in this case over and over again just to add to the circus atmosphere,” he told the Today show last week.
Court records show that Strickland verbally ruled that Anthony should serve probation after her release.
However, there was a mistake in the written court records. The actual written record says Anthony could serve probation at any time.
Nobody caught the administrative error until last week.
Perry announced in court last week that the case was a "mess" and a "legal morass." He said the court needed time to research the situation and delayed making a decision about the probation requirements.
Defense attorney’s Cheney Mason and Baez both say Strickland is a “media hound” and has it “out for Casey Anthony.”
While the case sits on idle, reporters are digging up financial records dealing with Anthony’s two cases.
Records show that investigation costs for the old check fraud case total $5,517, which is an amount that Strickland initially meant for her to pay, according to a transcript of Anthony’s Jan. 25, 2010 sentencing.
Anthony was also supposed to pay $348 in court costs within 90 days of Strickland’s sentencing in 2010, but that didn’t happen either.
An Arizona man paid $10 toward that bill, a Clerk of Courts spokeswoman Leesa Bainbridge told the Boston Herald.
Legal analysts say that Anthony’s ability or lack of funds to pay court costs was caused by her jail time and indigence.
“The case again illustrates how details in the check-fraud sentencing were overlooked as all parties looked toward the murder case,” according to media reports.
After Anthony was declared indigent, the state of Florida had to pay more than $118,847 for her defense in the murder trial, according to court records.
Prior to Anthony’s declaration that she was indigent and “broke,” her defense fund was privately funded. She had nearly $400,000 in private and public funding spent on her defense during a three-year period, according to public records.
She received $200,000 from ABC News for her family photos, videos, and still shots. She also received a $5,000 gift from a private donor and $70,000 from attorney Todd Macaluso, who was once part of the defense team, record show.
Details about how the money was spent are still sealed.