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It's 'a mess': Judge defers Anthony's probation ruling

A judge deciding whether Casey Anthony should serve probation for check fraud has ended a hearing without a ruling.
/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

A judge deciding whether Casey Anthony should serve probation for check fraud has ended a hearing without a ruling.

Judge Belvin Perry described the case Friday as a "mess" before saying he needs more time to research whether Anthony should return to Orlando to report to a probation office.

"If anything could go wrong, it went wrong here," Perry explained in court.

Anthony's lawyers were asking Perry to overturn another judge's order requiring her to return to Florida and serve probation.

The Florida mother disappeared from the public eye after she was acquitted last month in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

However, pictures surfaced this week on the entertainment web site TMZ.com allegedly showing Anthony on a shopping trip in Ohio, where she has relatives.

TMZ said the images of the woman, who resembles Anthony, were taken last weekend.

Judge Stan Strickland sentenced Anthony in January 2010 to probation after she pleaded guilty to using checks stolen from a friend.

Judge recuses himself
The state Department of Corrections interpreted the sentence to mean Anthony could serve the probation while she was in jail awaiting trial, but Strickland said last week he intended the probation to be served after her release. Strickland later recused himself from the case, with Judge Belvin Perry taking over.

If Perry decides to honor the probation order, Anthony would have to return to Orlando.