Casey Anthony has dodged two of the four convictions she faced for lying to law-enforcement officials during the investigation into her daughter’s disappearance in 2008.
One of the issues in the Florida appeals court was whether Anthony should have been charged with four separate counts of lying to law-enforcement when she told detectives what happened to 2-year-old Caylee.
During her 2011 trial, Anthony was acquitted of murder and other serious charges in Caylee’s death, but jurors convicted her of four misdemeanor counts of lying to law-enforcement.
Anthony’s attorneys appealed the convictions.
Anthony’s attorneys argued that double jeopardy principles precluded her from being convicted for more than a single violation, because her various lies constituted a single offense.
The state argued that each of Anthony’s false statements constituted a separate offense, and so there was no violation of double jeopardy.
On Friday, the 5th District Court of Appeal ruled that it rejected both parties’ arguments.
The appeals court found that Anthony could properly be convicted of two counts of providing false information to a law-enforcement officer.
The court said the four false statements were made by Anthony during her interview with Orange County Sheriff’s Detective Yuri Melich at her family’s home.
Two of the lies were repeated to Melich in a later interview at Universal Studios, where Anthony claimed she worked and took detectives.
“In light of the significant temporal break between Appellant’s two interviews with Detective Melich, we determine that each interview in which false information was given (or repeated) constituted a separate criminal episode,” the appeal court ruled.
But of the Anthony defense’s two main arguments, the appeal court rejected one: That Anthony was under arrest when she lied to authorities searching for her daughter in 2008.
Though she had briefly been handcuffed and put into a Sheriff’s Office vehicle, “we conclude that a reasonable person in [Anthony]’s position would not believe ‘that his or her freedom was curtailed to a degree associated with actual arrest,'” the panel ruled.
The resolution of Anthony’s criminal appeal is also notable to Zenaida Gonzalez, the Kissimmee woman suing Anthony for defamation.
Anthony has avoided questioning in the defamation case by citing her right against self-incrimination during the criminal appeal.