Legal Ethics

Fla. Bar Investigating Casey Anthony Lawyer Jose Baez Over Probation Matter

State bar officials in Florida have opened an investigation into Jose Baez over whether he was fully candid with the court over his client Casey Anthony’s probation.

The issue stems from a hearing earlier this month when Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry was determining whether the Anthony ought to be serving probation time. Another judge had sentenced her to time served in jail and a year of probation for a check fraud case she pleaded out in January 2010.

But after Anthony was acquitted of murder and released from jail, she wasn’t put on probation, according to an account in the Orlando Sentinel. It turns out, her probation was tolling while she sat in jail awaiting her murder trial.

Perry’s sentence has since been amended to require Anthony, who was acquitted on charges of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, to report to probation. In that amended order, Perry took Anthony’s lawyers to task, noting that, “the failure to abide by that order and the failure to notify the court of a known scrivener’s error in the order may be a violation of an attorney’s duty of candor.”

The Sentinel quotes further from the judge, who opined, “No attorney should conduct himself or herself in a way that impedes an order of the court. … Our system of justice should never be in the position of rewarding someone who willfully hides the ball.”

The bar declined to say how the complaint was generated.

Baez, who the Sentinel notes has weathered several bar complaints since he agreed to take on the Anthony case in 2008, told TMZ that he welcomes the investigation.

“It is part of the job whenever you fight an unpopular cause,” Baez is quoted saying.

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