Video: Judge steps down from Anthony probation case

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    >>> brewer. we have breaking news from orlando . a florida junge stepping down from his case after he ordered casey anthony to turn herself in to a probation officer by 10:00 a.m . tomorrow. a few more hours than she was originally given. last month a jury acquitted the florida mother of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, caylee. she hasn't been seen since leaving prison. this week judge strickland says anthony has to begin serving a year probation for a separate check fraud case. moments ago the department of corrections announced another deadline.

    >> we have told her attorneys that she needs to be here by no later than 10:00 a.m . tomorrow morning . if she does not check in by 10:00 tomorrow, we will notify the court.

    >> nbc's kerry sanders is live in orlando . now she's getting the demand from several different avenues get back here. what's likely to happen?

    >> well, it appears that her attorneys are working on many different fronts. specifically in court where they are trying to get a change to this order by judge strickland . the first thing that's taken place is judge strickland the one who said she could not have served her probation while sitting in a jail cell , i end sbd for her to serve her probation after she was released from jail. he has now been recused. he took himself out of this debate. and so it's being handed over to judge belvin perry. that's the same judge that handled the murder case. remember casey anthony was acquitted on those murder charges she felt -- we believe she left the state. there are some pictures circulating that over the weekend she was in ohio. but at the same time her attorneys are talking to the department of corrections here saying that they recognize that there is a standing order and that they will have to work with them if they can't get a change many the court system and bring her back. clearly they believe that judge strickland is prejudiced in this case because he has made comments about the aquill tal on those -- acquittal on those murder charges and his standing should not lead to what he called a clarification of his probation order. this is what attorney jose baez had to say about this.

    >> we anticipate filing more motions today. and asking for a hearing immediately on this because we have an issue of safety and the last thing we want to do is put casey in harm's way.

    >> the concern of safety is if casey anthony does turn herself in in this community where so many people have expressed anger and in some cases have made threats against her, the department of corrections says that they have not been notified of any specific threats. so their plan is that she has to turn herself in like any other former inmate would on a probation order. con tesz ya?

    >> kerry, thank you for the update. we'll be keeping our eye there on orlando . thank you for keeping tabs on

NBC News and msnbc.com
updated 8/3/2011 6:19:13 PM ET 2011-08-03T22:19:13

Casey Anthony can continue her undercover life for now, after a judge ruled Wednesday she does not have to immediately return to Florida to start serving her probation for check fraud.

A hearing on her probation was set for Friday, Judge Belvin Perry said. Anthony won't have to show up for that either.

A different judge ordered Anthony to report to Florida on Thursday for her probation, but the judge later recused himself and turned the case over to Perry, who presided over Anthony's murder trial.

Anthony has been out of the public eye since she was acquitted last month in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. The jury's decision angered many people online and elsewhere, and threats were made on Anthony's life. She vanished after leaving jail July 17.

Video: Casey Anthony will likely not return to Florida (on this page)

Anthony's attorneys said local authorities would have to provide security if she was forced to return. To back up that claim, they included a flyer in their arguments that showed a doctored photo of Anthony with a bullet mark on her forehead. Underneath the photo reads in part: "With a forehead that big, the headshot will be easier."

Anthony was convicted of lying to detectives but released because of time served.

Judge Stan Strickland sentenced Anthony in January 2010 to probation after she pleaded guilty to using checks stolen from a friend. The state Department of Corrections had interpreted the sentence to mean that Anthony could serve the probation while she was in jail for her murder trial, but the judge said last week that he intended the probation to be served after her release.

On Monday, Strickland signed a "corrected" version of Anthony's probation order to make clear she was supposed to start the one-year term after her release from jail. Strickland recused himself from the probation case without giving a reason, although defense attorneys accused him of showing prejudice against Anthony in television interviews he gave after her murder trial.

Strickland said he was "shocked" by the verdict in a July interview with cable television host Nancy Grace, a chief Anthony critic who gave her the moniker "Tot mom." In another interview with Orlando television station WESH, Strickland said jurors may not have understood that "circumstantial evidence is evidence."

"There are very seldom cameras running at the time somebody kills somebody or a child is abused," he said.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Baez and his team said Anthony already served her probation while in jail and to have her do so again would be double jeopardy. They said Florida law stipulates the judge cannot amend his sentence more than 60 days after it was signed, which was in January 2010.

But Karin Moore, a law professor at Florida A&M College of Law, said an inmate can't serve probation while in jail, so Strickland has the ability to correct the sentence.

"He can correct an illegal sentence anytime, which he thinks he is doing now," Moore said.

Anthony's lawyers also argued in Tuesday's motion that Strickland was no longer qualified to issue the amended order since he recused himself from Anthony's criminal case and that the amended order was fraudulently filed since there was no court proceeding attended by Anthony or her attorneys.

Judge Belvin Perry, who presided over Anthony's murder trial, was taking over the probation case.

Baez told NBC's TODAY on Wednesday that bringing Anthony back to Florida would put her in danger, and he argued that Strickland's order was legally flawed.

"The last thing we want to do is put Casey in harm's way," Baez told TODAY. "We're very concerned. It's not something we're taking lightly."

The check fraud case stems from a shopping spree Anthony went on using her best friend's checkbook. In 2010, she pleaded guilty to writing five checks totaling $644.25.

There have been no photos or reported sightings of Anthony since she was acquitted. On Wednesday, gossip website TMZ.com posted purported photos of Anthony in Ohio that were apparently taken over the weekend. The site reported Anthony was spotted at an Old Navy store, and has several relatives in Ohio.

NBC News could not confirm the report.

Where will Anthony live?
If Anthony did return to Orange County, it's unclear where she would live.

"They had to shut down streets for us to leave Orlando," Baez said Wednesday. "I certainly don't think that's something they want to embrace for her to come back."

According to NBC's Kerry Sanders, parolees must give an address or location so they can be supervised under Florida law.

The law also requires that the address be made part of the public record unless a special exception is made.

NBC-affiliate station WESH 2 reported that its legal analyst, Richard Hornsby, believed that if Anthony does serve probation, it will not be be very strict.

"It's not like she will have to wear a GPS monitor or have constant contact," the defense attorney said.

Anthony pleaded guilty in January 2010 to 13 counts in the check fraud case, NBC-affiliate station WESH.com reported.

She was sentenced to 412 days in Orange County Jail with credit for 412 days time served and was ordered to pay $5,517.75 in court costs, in addition to the year's probation.

NBC News obtained a copy of the amended documents, which explain that "the Defendant is to report to Probation upon release."

Under its terms, she must "make a full and truthful report to your [her] Probation Officer" not later than the fifth day of each month, pay the State of Florida at least $20 a month toward the cost of her supervision, not change her residence without consent and not carry any firearm or weapon without permission.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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