Casey Anthony to serve probation in secret because of death threats

Aug 25 2011 - 5:25pm

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ILE - In this July 7, 2011 file photo, Casey Anthony smiles before the start of her sentencing hearing in Orlando, Fla. Florida authorities say Casey Anthony reported Wednesday Aug. 24, 2011 to begin her one-year probation for 2010 check-fraud convictions. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, file)
ILE - In this July 7, 2011 file photo, Casey Anthony smiles before the start of her sentencing hearing in Orlando, Fla. Florida authorities say Casey Anthony reported Wednesday Aug. 24, 2011 to begin her one-year probation for 2010 check-fraud convictions. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, file)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida Department of Corrections officials said Thursday that Casey Anthony has begun serving a one-year probation on check-fraud charges, but they refused to say where in Florida she would be staying.

DOC spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said Anthony's location was not being released for "safety reasons," adding that the department was taking additional safety precautions because of death threats against the young woman.

"The court made a pretty strong statement that she was one of the most hated women in America," Plessinger said, paraphrasing Orange County Circuit Judge Belvin Perry, who presided over Anthony's trial in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie.

Anthony, 25, was acquitted in July of murder charges.

Among the conditions of Anthony's probation are that she report to her probation officer within the first five calendar days of every month; have no contact with the former friend whose checks she forged; "not use intoxicants to excess" or visit places where alcohol or drugs are illegally sold or used; and pay the state $20 a month toward the cost of supervision.

Anthony is also required to look for a job. Plessinger said Anthony's probation officer would work with her and could decide that security concerns made it advisable that she attend school instead.

The briefing came a day after corrections officials confirmed that Anthony had reported to one of the agency's offices Wednesday evening -- two days before a Friday deadline -- to begin a one-year probation term stemming from her 2010 check-fraud convictions.

The fact that Anthony is finally serving probation as initially ordered had her original judge, Stan Strickland, feeling Thursday that the justice system worked.

Earlier this week, her attorney, Jose Baez, told Fox News that his client planned to serve her probation somewhere in Florida and that she will not be required to be employed. She will take classes online, Baez said.

"She told the officer she understands the conditions of her probation, and she was told the date for her next appearance," Baez told the 24-hour news network.

But Plessinger said in an email responding to a follow-up question Thursday that Anthony did not mention to her probation officer that she wants to go to school.

"If she makes that request, we will review it and make a determination at that time," Plessinger said.

Questions about Anthony's probation arose after her acquittal. It wasn't immediately clear whether Anthony should serve probation for her check-fraud convictions upon her release from jail.

DOC officials initially stated Anthony had served the one-year probation in the Orange County Jail while awaiting trial on Caylee's death. That, however, was not the intent of the judge who imposed the sentence,

Strickland had said from the bench that the probation term would begin after disposition of the murder charges.

However, Strickland's written order did not reflect that condition. When that was pointed out after Anthony's acquittal, he revised his initial order.

Anthony's defense team argued she had served probation while in jail and could not be made to serve again. However, Perry and the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach were not convinced.

The appellate court on Tuesday denied a request aimed at preventing her from serving probation.

Thursday, Strickland said he felt that the intent of his original order was finally being carried out.

"The system has worked," Strickland said. "My real question is: Why was it so hard?"

(c)2011 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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