Casey Anthony release date extended to July 17; case inspires ‘Caylee’s Laws’ in other states

July 8, 2011

Casey Anthony, the Florida mother acquitted of killing her daughter Caylee, has had her release date from jail on lying charges extended to July 17 after a recalculation of her time already served. As AP reported:

Casey Anthony will have 10 more days behind bars to think about her future after authorities in Florida announced Thursday that she would not be released until July 17, four days after the date initially given.

Anthony looked ready for freedom at her sentencing Thursday morning. After she was acquitted Tuesday of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008, there was speculation she could be sentenced to time served for lying to authorities about the toddler’s death and freed.

The 25-year-old let her long, dark hair down for the first time since her trial began, smiling and playing with it as she awaited the judge’s decision. But she turned stone-faced as the sentence was handed down and she learned she would not be released right away. Then late Thursday, authorities in Orange County said they had recalculated Anthony’s projected release date and it would actually be July 17.

Thursday’s actions mean Anthony will go free nearly two weeks after she was acquitted of first-degree murder and other charges in Caylee’s death.

The extra time in jail did little to satisfy throngs of angry people convinced of her guilt who gathered outside the courthouse. But it could provide time for the public furor over her acquittal to ease somewhat and give Anthony’s attorneys a chance to plan for her safety.

Two days after the verdicts, most of the jury remained silent, with their names still kept secret by the court. One juror explained that the panel agreed to acquit Anthony because prosecutors did not show what happened to the toddler.

When she is released, Anthony must decide whether to return to a community in which many onlookers long ago concluded that she’s a killer, or to a home strained by her defense attorneys’ accusations of sexual abuse.

Some poll watchers were surprised when a USA Today/Gallup poll showed that a majority of respondents thought Casey Anthony was guilty. As Scott Clement explained:

Though Casey Anthony was found not guiltyby a Florida jury, 64 percent of Americans in a new USA Today/Gallup poll say allegations that she killed her daughter are at least probably true, including 20 percent who say they are “definitely” convinced. More than three-quarters of those who have been following the case believe Anthony murdered her child, but those following the story “very closely” give Anthony the harshest assessment: Some 44 percent say the allegations are definitely true, more than 27 percent among those who are only following the story “somewhat” closely.

The Casey Anthony case has sparked movements in several states to pass so-called ‘Caylee’s Laws’ which would make it mandatory for parents to report missing children to law enforcement. As the Baltimore Sun reported :

Stunned by the not-guilty verdicts this week in Florida's Casey Anthony murder case, Maryland Sen. Nancy Jacobs wants to make it a felony for a parent not to report the death of a child.

Jacobs said dozens of outraged constituents have contacted her and asked her to do something. The Senate minority leader said she is drafting a bill to present in the next legislative session.

She's now examining criminalizing the failure of a parent, guardian or legal caretaker to inform authorities that a child has gone missing or has died -- new crime categories that several local top prosecutors said could prove helpful to them.

A Florida jury acquitted Anthony of murder and child abuse in the death of 2-year-old Caylee, convicting her only of less-serious charges related to lying to the police. A judge today sentenced the 25-year-old to four years, the maximum sentence under the law. Because of the time she served while awaiting trial, she is set to be released July 13.

While jurors who have talked to the media said prosecutors did not present enough evidence to prove murder or abuse beyond a reasonable doubt, those involved with the case, including Anthony's defense attorneys, agree the young mother did not report her child's death in a timely manner.

More from The Washington Post

BlogPost: The Casey Anthony verdict

National: Strauss-Kahn, Anthony and presumed innocence

For God’s Sake: Why are we so obsessed with the Casey Anthony trial?

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