DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The 5th District Court of Appeal set aside two of the four convictions Casey Anthony faced for lying to detectives during the investigation into her missing 2-year-old daughter.
Anthony, charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, was acquitted in July 2011. She was convicted of four charges of lying to law enforcement, which she appealed in the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach.
The charges stemmed from statements Anthony made to Orange County Sheriff's Office Detective Yuri Melich on July 16, 2008, during the investigation into Caylee's disappearance.
Judges on the 5th District Court of Appeals agreed with Anthony's attorneys Friday that two of the charges constituted double jeopardy, or being convicted more than once for the same crime.
The judges, however, ruled that the trial court was correct to allow her 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.
Prosecutors had originally charged Anthony with telling four separate lies to police, including that she left her daughter with a babysitter and that she had received a phone call from her missing daughter.
The appeals court ruled that those weren't four separate lies as prosecutors believed, but they were not one single continuous lie either, as the defense argued.
The first time Anthony lied was when she was being interviewed by detectives at her parents' home the day her daughter was reported missing. The second time occurred the next day, when she repeated the same lies to detectives at Universal Studios, where Anthony lied about working.
The appeals court ruled,"we determine that each interview in which false information was given constituted a separate criminal episode."
The ruling continuing, stating, "we cannot conclude that the Legislature intended to authorize separate punishment for each false statement made during a single interview."
So instead of being convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to police, Anthony will be charged with two counts. Anthony already served time in jail for those misdemeanor convictions while awaiting her murder trial.
But if Anthony decides to appeal her remaining convictions to the Florida Supreme Court, which may not hear the case, there's a chance Anthony could be forced to testify in the civil case filed by Zenaida Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is suing Anthony on defamation charges after she says Anthony used her name as the fictitious nanny's name in the investigation. The lawsuit was postponed to an undetermined date in 2013.
Prosecutor on Anthony's trial, Jeff Ashton, released a statement following the appellate opinion.
"We are pleased that they have affirmed the ruling of Judge Perry that the deputies of the Orange County Sheriff acted properly during their interactions with Ms. Anthony," according to the statement. "We understand and respect the ruling of the court in connection with the multiple false statements made by Ms. Anthony."
Attorneys representing Anthony, Cheney Mason and Lisbeth Fryer, released a statement saying they are "very happy with the victory" and will "determine if we will seek further relief from the Appellate Court."
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