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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony Sentence: WHAT IT MEANS

Today, Casey Anthony was sentenced on the four counts for which she was convicted; each involved lying to the police during the investigation into the "missing persons" case of Anthony's daughter, Caylee.

Given that each count was a misdemeanor rather than a felony, the most time Anthony faced was one year on each count, or a total of four years in prison (a sentence of more than one year must be served in prison rather than jail).

Anthony's defense argued that each count should be treated as one crime; to treat the counts separately would equate to double jeopardy. The state argued each count was a separate action, each leading to wasted time and financial resources by the state.

The judge agreed with the state, thereby leading to the decision that Anthony must serve four years in prison for the four crimes.

However, Casey Anthony will receive credit for time served. Given that Anthony has already served about two and a half years in jail (she was held in preventive detention awaiting trial--this is not punishment but instead assured that Anthony would appear for her trial), the most time she could spend behind bars is about one year in jail. In fact, the judge also mentioned that Anthony will receive "good time" and "gain time" credit, meaning her sentence will be further reduced based on good behavior while she was in jail (I thought Florida had eliminated these from the law but I was obviously wrong).

The net effect of the sentence? Casey Anthony's sentence is reduced to one and a half years in prison. Further, she could be released in the next two months due to "good time" and "gain time" credits.

State law says a person incarcerated for a crime cannot benefit from his or her crimes while incarcerated. Thus you can expect a Casey Anthony book out in only one or two months, with proceeds going to the woman who was not convicted for her child's murder (even though she did it).

Ironically, Anthony's lies are why she was not convicted. The six months that went by while the police tracked down leads based on Anthony's lies allowed her daughter's remains to decompose so badly that the coroner could not determine the cause of death; without the cause of death, the state of Florida could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Caylee was even murdered.

Anthony's defense was that her daughter drown in the family pool. Had she told the state this during the original police interviews, they could have located the body and verified her story. Conversely, they would have likely discovered that the little girl was actually murdered, thereby assuring a conviction and a much longer prison sentence for Anthony.

So it appears crime does pay after all.

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