A Florida appellate court on Friday set aside two of the four convictions Casey Anthony faced for lying to detectives during the investigation into her missing 2-year-old daughter.
Judges on the 5th District Court of Appeals agreed with Anthony's attorneys that two of the charges constituted double jeopardy, or being convicted or punished more than once for the same crime.
“We cannot conclude that the Legislature intended to authorize separate punishment for each false statement made during a single interview,” the judges said in their ruling.
Anthony was acquitted of killing Caylee in 2011. Jurors convicted her of four counts of lying to detectives, and her attorneys appealed those convictions. Anthony was sentenced to time served for the misdemeanors.
She was sentenced to a year of probation after her release from jail for an unrelated case. Her whereabouts have been kept secret since she was released from state supervision last year.
Jeff Ashton, one of the prosecutors who tried Anthony and who was recently elected State Attorney in the Orlando area, said in a statement that he expected the case would be considered closed once the trial court drops the two counts.
Jurors determined that Anthony lied when she told detectives that she worked at Universal Studios, that she had left Caylee with a babysitter who kidnapped the girl, that she had told two friends about her daughter's disappearance and that she had received a phone call from Caylee.
The appeals judges ruled that the trial court was correct to allow Anthony's statements to detectives to be used during her murder trial. Anthony's attorneys had argued that she was in police custody at the time and hadn't been read her Miranda rights. They also had argued that Anthony should have been convicted of only a single count of lying because of the double jeopardy concern.
But the judges said there was a break in time between two interviews Anthony had with detectives.
“Where there is a sufficient temporal break between two alleged criminal acts so as to have allowed a defendant time to pause, reflect and form a new criminal intent, a separate criminal episode will have occurred,” the judges said.