Despite being found not guilty of murdering her two-year-old daughter, Casey Anthony must make at least one more appearance in court before her case is closed.
Video: Lingering Questions About the Casey Anthony Verdict
On Tuesday, jurors returned after only eleven hours or deliberation with the stunning verdict of Not Guilty on counts of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and manslaughter. But in counts four through seven of the state’s case, the jurors found Casey guilty of providing false information to a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor in Florida. Each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
Despite the convictions, most legal experts believe that Casey will be released after her hearing today with credit for time served. In many courts, misdemeanors do not carry a prison sentence, merely probation, and Casey has been in jail for nearly three years since she was arrested in late 2008.
Soon after the verdict, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin explained that he would be surprised if Casey served one more day in jail after her final hearing, and that he was also surprised her lawyers did not ask for bail on Tuesday.
The prospect of immediate freedom with probation is a far cry from the death penalty, which the prosecution sought by trying Casey for first degree murder. While most jurors declined to speak with the press, Jennifer Ford, formerly known as Juror No. 3, told ABC News that it was difficult to find Casey not guilty, but that the evidence did not prove she killed 2-year-old Caylee beyond a reasonable doubt. “I did not say she was innocent,” Ford said. “I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be.”
Prosecutor Jeff Ashton, who had many combative exchanges with Casey’s defense lawyer Jose Baez, explained after the verdict that he didn’t think the lack of DNA evidence was what swung the jury, but the lack of a definitive cause of death. But in the end, Ashton refused to completely concede. “I wouldn’t have been involved in this case if I didn’t think she did it,” he said.
(PHOTOS: Scenes From the Casey Anthony Saga)
If Casey Antony is released as expected, there is rampant speculation about what she might do next. A six figure book deal? Perhaps a Lifetime movie? Tabloids are already guessing that Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame might play Casey on the big screen. Regardless of her future plans, she’s likely to face some small legal hurdles of probation for the four guilty verdicts. Sure beats the alternative.
Video: Explaining the Casey Anthony Case
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