Why Casey Anthony’s Probation Ends July 17

I was asked yesterday by Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel to answer one of his frequently asked Casey Anthony questions, which was: when does Casey Anthony’s probation “legally” end.

Well, contrary to what Foghorn Leghorn says, the answer is simple: July 17, 2012.

The not so simple reason

When Casey Anthony was originally released from jail, which was shortly after midnight on July 17th, 2011, most people thought that she was no longer on probation because the Florida Department of Corrections unilaterally decided that her probation began running while she was in jail and her probation ended on January 24, 2011.

I, on the other hand, knew they were wrong in their conclusion and explained why Casey Anthony should still be on probation (See: The Great Probation Debate).

The Velvet Hammer sets Ms. Anthony, Jose Baez, and DOC Straight

Subsequently, the Department of Corrections filed a motion for clarification and the defense moved to dismiss.

A hearing was later held and Judge Perry issued an order where he makes no judicial determination of when her probation actually started, although he does point out in his “Facts of Case” that judge Strickland stated her “probation was to start once she was released from jail.” (See page 2)

With Judge Strickland’s sentence established in his findings of fact, he then “orders” Casey Anthony to “report to DOC no later than 12:00 p.m. on August 26, 2011.” (See page 12)

You Can be on Probation and Not Know It

Importantly, he never issued any orders regarding when her probation started, he only ordered her to report to probation.

And this is for good reason, since the Department of Corrections told Casey Anthony her probation concluded while she was in jail and gave her documentation to this effect, Judge Perry knew that a person’s probation could only be violated if the person knew they were on probation. See Jenkins v. State, 963 So. 2d 311 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) (“A probationer cannot be found in willful violation of probation if he does not know he was on probation.”)

Thus the Department of Corrections was powerless to do anything until Judge Perry issued an order putting Casey Anthony on notice that she was actually still on probation.

But just because they could not violate her until she was ordered to report to probation, does not mean that her probationary term had ever stopped running.

Thus the proper remedy for a person who was led to believe they were not on probation, but which was subsequently corrected by the Court, is to order the person to finish out the remainder of their probationary period.

Casey Anthony has got the Probation Blues

And that is exactly what happened in Blue v. State, 744 So. 2d 543 (Fla: 1st DCA 1999).

In Blue, the Defendant, Mr. Blue, was originally sentenced to prison to be followed by probation (what we call a split sentence). He was subsequently found in violation of probation and sentenced to straight prison. However he appealed, won, and the appellate court ordered him released from prison ASAP and reinstated to probation.

However, once released from prison, he reported to the probation office and was told they had no record of him still being on probation (sound familiar?); thus he was led to believe he was not on probation.

Probably overjoyed with his new found freedom, Mr. Blue decided to commit a new crime and was rearrested The State also argued that he was still on probation in his original offense, the judge agreed and sentenced Mr. Blue to eight years in prison.

Mr. Blue appealed again, arguing that his probation could not be violated since he did not know he was on probation. The appellate court agreed, but the remedy was to “reverse both the order revoking probation and the judgment and sentence entered by the trial court, and remand with instructions to reinstate Blue to his original term of probation.”

Thus although Judge Perry was correct in that he could order her to report to probation, it would only be for the remaining portion of her “original term of probation.”

As a result, Casey Anthony’s probation ends exactly one year after she was released from jail; which by my calculations would be July 17, 2012.

(I would point out that this post assumes July 18th as her first official day of probation, although the argument could be made July 17th was her first day, so maybe her probation actually ends July 16th!)

Author: Richard Hornsby

Orlando, Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer and DUI Attorney Richard Hornsby is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar and represents clients throughout Central Florida in all criminal defense and DUI defense cases.

14 thoughts on “Why Casey Anthony’s Probation Ends July 17”

  1. Thank you very much for the article and full explanation. They are always a great read. Would I be correct then by assuming that there should be no Aug probation report even if Mason and Casey don’t argue about the dates and just go through the motions until the 24th of Aug as DOC has in her original paperwork?

    1. Just because I say her probation “legally” ended does not mean that either (1) DOC agrees with me or (2) Casey Anthony and her attorneys agree with me.

      What I am saying though, is that if DOC tried to violate Casey Anthony’s probation after July 17, 2012; she could move to dismiss, and would win by arguing that her probation legally ended on July 17, 2012 and the court no longer had jurisdiction over her. See Francois v. State, 695 So. 2d 695 (Fla. 1997) (“When a probationary period expires, the court is divested of jurisdiction over the probationer unless, prior to that time, the appropriate steps were taken to revoke or modify probation.”)

      1. Thank you, that clears it up for me perfectly. Again, thanks for the article and case law citations. I find this fascinating.
        On a more Jovial note can you Imagine Casey about now if she’s reading all of this. I have this vision in my head of her shaking her fists and screaming to Mason. “Why does Hornsby seem to always know more about my probation than you do? Gahhhhhh, I should have hired him pro bono instead of your old butt! LoL

  2. Thing is, she & her not-so-secret-lover….erm, lawyer, were aware of the DOC notice that she was on probation (in error) while in jail – she received a document from the court while in jail. This meant she was aware of being on probation, & she knew she was in the company of convicted felons 24/7, & in fact had 1:1 contact for the purposes of “hair cutting” in front of DOC Officer Sylvia Hernandez, who also allowed the passing of letters between convicted felon Robyn Adams & the convicted felon, inmate Anthony. Violation of probation…even if DOC & Judge Perry want to wish it away as they smooth that teflon coating of “special treatment” on that convicted felon & hope, like she & her defense team, the general public gets a good case of *selective amnesia*.
    Also, the beer swilling departure from a private plane captured on video by Macaluso, Esq. & sold to TMZ, thus distributed worldwide, in addition to pics of herself at bars, which she posted on her Pay-Per-View Youtube channel. Violation of probation by drinking. “jmho”

    1. A violation has to be intentional, so if Casey Anthony or any person is housed with other felons, she can’t be found to have intentionally violated her probation.

      1. Richard,
        Doesn’t her probation allow her to have alcohol, just not drink to excess?
        Great article BTW.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to explain this mess to those of us who care on Hal’s blog. Thank you for further explaining it on your own blog.
    Do you have any idea where the $5700+ that she owed stands? I didn’t see it noted anywhere in Judge Perry’s Order. Does that mean she doesn’t owe it anymore? I believe it was another one of those oral pronouncements.
    Please don’t think you might be seeing double! I posted the same message on Hal’s blog hoping you’d see it and give us an answer.

  4. According to the OCDC documents, and the “terms of her supervision” her probation will not end until Aug.24,2012.

    1. And they base that determination off of what? Do you see any court order saying that because DOC incorrectly told Casey Anthony her probation ended while she was in jail that it was therefore tolled until Judge Perry corrected their mistake?

      The bottom line is this, just like DOC could incorrectly tell Casey Anthony she was no longer on probation, they can also incorrectly tell her she is still on probation until August 24.

      The legal question though, is when does the Court’s jurisdiction to violate her probation end. That date is July 17, 2012; anything else is just noise.

      1. I’d like to add to your reply if you will allow me. Strickland made a mistake in the written order for probation. Perry made a mistake in calculations when Casey was to be set free. Sure, I’ll add some ego stroking on this post, but Hornsby did point out the errors in the beginning and brought her back to serve this joke of a probation.
        I guess my question to you debbie would be. With all of those mistakes happening why would you rely on the documents instead of solid case law? Strickland got it wrong first, Perry continued the error. I tend to believe what Richard has said while providing case law to back it up. Will Casey and Mason act upon that information? I doubt it. She still needs to keep her trap shut because of the civil cases, but who knows, at 12:01 tonite, this may be her theme song.

  5. Looks like you were right again Mr Hornsby. I found a webpage on accident while looking for something else. It was a Capture of the DOC website back in Aug 7th, 2011 before they took the Casey information offline. They claimed then she was under supervision and also had the same calculated end date that you came up with of July 16th 2012. I’ll provide the link, but a friend of mine had a problem getting the page to load. If it comes up, the information is at the bottom of the page.

  6. Hi,
    Seems funny that if she completed her probation on the 16th, nothing has been reported. Don’t get me wrong Mr Hornsby, I trust your calculations implicitly. I’m just sayin.

  7. DOC says today 7/23 that her probation is still in force – according to Bob Kealing.They will not discuss the completion date..

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