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!)