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On July 5, 2011, an Orlando jury at the Orange County Courthouse found defendant Casey Anthony not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child regarding charges filed against her in 2008 regarding the death of her two year old daughter, Caylee Anthony. She was convicted of four lesser misdemeanor crimes of providing false information to law enforcement officers. If Casey had been convicted of first degree murder, should could have faced the death penalty in Florida. Judge Belvin Perry sentenced her to the maximum four year sentence for her misdemeanor convictions of lying to authorities. He denied the defense's request to combine the misdemeanor counts into one which could have meant that she would have been released immediately. She was given time served and good behavior and is expected to be released on July 17, 2011. An unnamed juror who was interviewed after the decision said the reason the jury found Casey not guilty of the more serious crimes of murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter is that the prosecutors failed to show how Caylee was murdered.

The circumstances surrounding the case began when Cindy Anthony reported her granddaughter, Caylee Anthony missing on July 5, 2008. Casey Anthony was arrested on July 16, 2008 on circumstantial evidence and charged in October of 2008 with first degree murder. In December of 2008, almost six months after Caylee was reported missing, police investigators found parts of the decomposed body of Caylee with duct tape in the woods near the Anthony residence. It was established by the prosecution and admitted by the defense team, that Casey Anthony lied to sheriff deputies about working at Universal Studios, about employing a nanny that took care of Caylee and that the nanny, whose name was Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez took the child (it was later determined that no such person existed, about telling two imaginary people Caylee was missing and about receiving a telephone call from Caylee the day prior to when she was reported missing). Photos were presented showing Casey at a Florida nightclub partying with friends prior to the child being reported as missing.

At trial, Casey's lead defense attorney Jose Baez claimed that Casey had lied to cover up the family tragedy that Caylee had accidentally drowned in her grandparents George and Cindy Anthony's pool. He also claimed that Casey did not tell the truth because she was frightened of her father George Anthony, who her attorney Baez claimed started molesting Casey at age eight. Baez also claimed that Casey’s brother might be Caylee’s father, and that the meter reader who found Caylee's remains may have moved them. None of these allegations were ever proven. Casey's defense team was able to raise enough reasonable doubt about the duct tape that showed no evidence of Casey's DNA on it, which prosecutors argued was allegedly used to suffocate Caylee. They also raised doubt about conflicting testimony regarding the odor inside the Anthony car. It had not been established whether it was a decomposing body or trash left in the car. The prosecutors did not clarify why chloroform was so important to the case.

The case became one of the most watched and talked about cases since the O.J. Simpson murder trial and attracted a crowd of spectators and national and international media coverage. In fact, outside the courthouse the day the verdict was read, people expressed their outrage that justice had not been served for Caylee. Casey Anthony could profit from the case by selling her story to publishers, filmmakers or by signing a television contract.

If you are arrested for murder, aggravated child abuse or aggravated assault of a child, these are serious crimes. Depending on your state laws, you could face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted of first degree murder. You should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you. The attorney can argue such defenses as circumstantial evidence or lack of evidence, mistaken identity, self defense or defense of others to either create enough reasonable doubt to get you acquitted or have the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser crime.

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