ORLANDO, Fla. – Casey Anthony's attorneys filed an appeal Wednesday to stop her from having to return to Florida to begin serving a one-year probation sentence.
Anthony was acquitted last month of a murder charge in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, and released soon afterward from jail. The appeal, filed in Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach, claims a probation order upheld last week in an unrelated case would constitute an "illegal sentence" if carried out.
Last week, a judge ordered Anthony to return to Orlando by the end of next week in order to report to a probation officer. She has been keeping a low profile at an undisclosed location.
Judge Belvin Perry said Anthony must comply with an order issued by another judge, Stan Strickland, in January 2010 after she pleaded guilty to stealing checks from a friend. At the time, Strickland said Anthony should serve the probation upon her release, but those instructions never made it into a written order. Corrections officials interpreted the sentence to mean Anthony could serve the probation while she was in jail awaiting her murder trial.
Strickland clarified in an order two weeks ago that Anthony must begin her probation now that she is out of jail. He then recused himself from the case and turned it over to Perry, who had presided over Anthony's murder trial.
In the appeal, Anthony's attorneys accused Strickland of bias, citing an appearance on Nancy Grace's television show in which he said he was "shocked" by the murder trial verdict. Grace has been a vocal critic of Anthony.
The attorneys also argued Strickland couldn't amend the order since the probation sentence had already been completed. The order also violates double jeopardy since Anthony would be serving the same sentence twice, they said.
"The defendant has actually served her entire sentence, as evidenced by her Department of Corrections records," the order said.
In previous motions, Anthony's attorneys have said she could be endangered if she returns to Orlando since she has received death threats. But those threats weren't mentioned in the appeal.
In his order last week, Perry said allowing Anthony to serve probation while in jail "would take a lawfully imposed sentence and make it a mockery of justice."
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