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Judge in Florida orders Casey Anthony to serve year of probation

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Casey Anthony ordered to serve probation
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The judge says ignoring the probation sentence would be a "mockery of justice"
  • NEW: Judge Perry notes there's a "high probability" some may want to harm Anthony
  • Casey Anthony was cleared of murder charges in her daughter's death
  • She was convicted last year of felony check fraud charges

Tune in to HLN's "Nancy Grace" at 8 ET for more on Casey Anthony's probation sentence for a check fraud conviction.

Orlando, Florida (CNN) -- A Florida judge ruled Friday that Casey Anthony must serve one year of supervised probation for a check-fraud conviction, saying that failing to carry through on a "lawfully imposed sentence" would be a "mockery of justice."

Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. said that Anthony has to report to a state Department of Corrections facility in Orlando no later than noon on August 26, though she can report earlier.

Perry also ruled the Department of Corrections can keep Anthony's address confidential to safeguard her well-being. Citing reports indicating Anthony is highly disliked by the public, the judge acknowledged that there "is a high probability that there are many that would like to ... physical(ly) harm" the defendant.

The probation order states that Anthony cannot leave "the county of (her) residence" -- which has been Orange County -- without her probation officer's approval.

Jo Ellyn Rackleff, spokeswoman for the corrections department, said Friday that her agency is reviewing the order.

"We will then determine what is the best way to implement it," said Rackleff. "Miss Anthony has not received permission to move to another state."

Casey Anthony: America's most hated

Anthony was cleared last month of murder charges related to the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. The same Florida jury did convict her on four lesser charges, related to misleading law enforcement authorities.

Her probation stems, though, from an earlier conviction -- in January 2010 -- on felony check fraud charges after she admitted stealing a checkbook from her friend Amy Huizenga and writing five checks totaling $644.25.

The probation order specifies that Anthony have "no personal contact with the victim, Amy Huzienga."

In the judgment released Friday, Judge Stan Strickland -- as quoted in a court transcript from January 2010 -- ordered Anthony to serve "a year of supervised probation, once released."

But the order signed by Strickland at the time indicated it would run while she was in state custody awaiting trial on murder charges related to her daughter's death. Randy Means, spokesman for the Orange County State Attorney's Office, said the court clerk had misunderstood Strickland and written the court order based on the misunderstanding.

The documents were amended August 1 to add the words "upon release" to Anthony's sentencing documents, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Anthony's defense team responded with a motion saying she cannot serve probation again when she has already served it behind bars, claiming that would violate the double jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment. The motion, filed by attorney J. Cheney Mason, calls the amended documents "a fraudulently filed product of a previously disqualified judge."

Strickland had been presiding over Anthony's murder case until April 2010, when he recused himself after the defense accused him of being a "self-aggrandizing media hound" who was biased against her. Perry took over and stayed in that position throughout the trial.

In the motion, Mason notes that Strickland, in an appearance on HLN's "Nancy Grace," expressed "shock" about Anthony's acquittal, and criticized the jury's verdicts in an appearance on CNN affiliate WESH.

"Such unbridled prejudice by a sitting judge calls into question the validity of any rulings made after recusal," Mason wrote.

Strickland recused himself from the probation matter the next day, transferring it to Perry.

In his ruling, Perry wrote, "It is clear the court stated the defendant's probation was to start once she was released from jail" -- even if that wasn't reflected in documents due to a "clerical error." The judge cited precedent to correct such documents, saying "an order is rendered, valid and binding when orally given."

The judge added instituting the probation doesn't violate rules against double jeopardy, since the check fraud crimes that Anthony was convicted of and those she was acquitted of are distinct. He also said Anthony couldn't have complied with the probation terms while in jail.

"To bar the court from correcting a clerical mistake and to permit the defendant to serve probation in jail while awaiting trial on a totally unrelated charge without any possibility of complying with the terms of the probation order would clearly thwart society's interest in extracting a full, fair and just punishment for a crime," said Perry.

Under the terms of her probation, Anthony must check in with the probation office -- which is in Orange County, the same Florida county where she's lived and the crime occurred -- once a month and answer all questions. She cannot change her job or her residence unless such a move is approved by her probation officer.

In addition to an order that she cannot violate "any law," Anthony is barred from drinking alcoholic beverages to the extent they impair her "normal faculties." She must undergo regular breath, urine and blood tests to assess how much alcohol and controlled substances are in her body.

There are also prohibitions on her visiting places where drugs, alcohol and "other dangerous substances" are unlawfully sold or used.

InSession's Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.

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