Chief Judge Belvin Perry is set Friday to hear Casey Anthony's emergency motion to "quash, vacate and set aside" fellow Judge Stan Strickland's amended order regarding the young woman's probation status.
Perry may decide whether the 25-year-old should serve one year of probation for her check-fraud and related convictions. He could also grant the defense team's request and agree with its argument that Anthony served her probation while in the Orange County Jail awaiting trial in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Marie.
Here are possible outcomes, arguments and issues stemming from Friday's hearing set to start at 9 a.m.
What if Judge Perry grants the defense motion?
Casey Anthony avoids having to serve probation and living under the strict conditions spelled out in Strickland's order, such as finding a job, avoiding alcohol, staying away from her victim, getting her probation officer's approval before changing residence and submitting to tests for drugs and alcohol. Basically, she would return to life monitored by the press, but not the state Department of Corrections.
What if Perry denies the defense motion?
Anthony might be required to report to probation. However, experts like WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer say the defense team would likely appeal an adverse ruling by Judge Perry to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach. "They would file an appeal and ask the court to stay her reporting to probation until the appeal is resolved," Sheaffer said.
What appellate issues could the defense raise in the event the motion is denied?
The defense, in its motion, already has argued that the court "lost jurisdiction" in the probation matter because Strickland's amended order early this week came "well past 60 days of the original" back in January 2010. Anthony's defense could also use a double jeopardy claim, which would say she is being "denied due process by suffering double punishment," Sheaffer said.
What about the differences between what Strickland said in court and his initial written order, which did not include wording that Anthony's probation begin "upon release" from jail?
Sheaffer and others note that four of Florida's five appellate districts say a judge's oral order trumps the written order if there is a conflict. The Fifth, however, is the one district in which a written order at this time trumps the oral order. Further complicating matters, the Florida Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on this very issue later this year.
Will the prosecution challenge Anthony's motion to stave off her probation?
Absolutely not, says Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Danielle Tavernier. "We are maintaining we do not have a position at the hearing on the issue," said Tavernier. The prosecution stated back in January 2010, during Anthony's sentencing, there was a legal concern with her probation being applied after her release from jail with no certain date specified. The prosecution at that time suggested she serve probation while in jail.
Could the state's decision not to challenge the defense motion influence Perry's decision?
Sheaffer says any judge may be more inclined to rule in favor of one party's motion if it is not opposed by the other side. Still, Perry realizes that Strickland's intent at the sentencing was clear and preserved in a written transcript and video. "Judge Strickland expressed his intention at the time of sentencing that probation would be served on defendant's release," Perry wrote in his order setting the stage for today's hearing.
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