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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Appeal court denies request for Casey Anthony's bond reduction

Tears for herself, but none for Caylee.

Amy L. Edwards
Sentinel Staff Writer
July 30, 2008

The 5th District Court of Appeal denied Casey Anthony's request to lower her $500,000 bond this afternoon.

Earlier this morning, the Attorney General's Office - which represents the state in appeals - filed a response this morning, stating the lower court did not abuse its discretion when the judge set the bond at half a million dollars.

Defense attorney Jose Baez appealed Anthony's bail, set last week by Orange Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland, and had asked the 5th District Court of Appeal to direct the lower court to set a $10,000 bond.

Baez was unavailable to comment Wednesday afternoon. But Christina Baez, a college student working at her father's law-office, said, "We're going to go ahead and move forward and appeal it to the Supreme Court of Florida."

The State Attorney's Office is still reviewing the case to determine what - if any - formal charges will by filed against Anthony. Once prosecutors do officially charge her, Anthony will be entitled to another bond hearing before Orange Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland.

The Attorney General's Office, which handles appeals for state prosecutors, filed its response with the appeal court this morning.

In that response, the state said it recognizes "that it is well settled in Florida that every person charged with a crime is entitled to pretrial release on reasonable conditions." The state also is aware "that excessive bail is tantamount to no bail at all."

The Attorney General's Office referenced Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure, which states, "In determining whether to release a defendant on bail ... the court may consider the nature and circumstances of the offense charged and the penalty provided by law; the weight of the evidence against the defendant ... employment history, financial resources ... and mental condition; the defendant's past and present conduct ...

"In its response, the Attorney General's office recapped the testimony that was presented during Anthony's bond hearing:

- A prosecutor argued Anthony "is a person of interest in what is looking to be a homicide investigation."

- There was a smell of a possibly decomposing body in the car Anthony drove.

- There were possible hair samples of Caylee and a stain in the trunk of the car.

- A neighbor told investigators he saw Anthony back the car into the garage and then she asked to borrow his shovel.

- A cadaver dog alerted to the trunk of the vehicle.

That cadaver dog, as well as another, also alerted to the same spot at Anthony's parents' home.

The Attorney General's office also wrote that Strickland was concerned with Anthony's mental state and ordered a psychological evaluation."

All of these were factors considered by the trial court when it determined the proper amount of bond," the Attorney General's office stated.

The appeals court will now consider both responses.

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