Court weighs Casey Anthony appeal; No decision made
Updated On: Jan 08 2013 05:40:48 PM EST
No decision was made on Tuesday in Casey Anthony's appeal of lying to law enforcement convictions.
A three judge panel heard arguments from Anthony's attorney, Lisabeth Fryer, and the state, represented by Assistant Attorney General Wesley Heidt. The arguments mainly focused on whether Anthony was in custody or under arrest when she lied about a fictitious babysitter. She was not read her Miranda rights prior to making those statements so, Fryer argued, the convictions should be overturned.
Anthony, who wasn't present in court on Tuesday, was convicted on four charges of lying to law enforcement in July 2011 in the midst of being tried and acquitted in the death of her daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony. Her attorneys also argued the convictions should reduced to one charge, saying the other three would constitute double jeopardy.
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Anthony's attorneys, Cheney Mason and Lisabeth Fryer, also argued on Tuesday that since Anthony had been temporarily handcuffed and never read her Miranda rights, her stories about her daughter being kidnapped by a babysitter should have never been admissible at trial.
The judges questioned if Anthony was under arrest or in custody when Anthony was questioned. Fryer said Anthony was in a "coercive" environment when she was questioned without being read her Miranda rights. So, they argued, the lies shouldn't be crimes.
"You can't be unarrested," Fryer said. "If we stretch or allow an additional exception ... we're creating a template for officers or the government to ignore individuals' Miranda's warnings."
Fryer also called the detectives' questioning of Anthony an "oppressive police presence," and added that the handcuffing and the interrogation led her to believe Anthony was arrested before the lies.
The state said on Tuesday Anthony was never in custody when she talked about the babysitter, so her statements were legally obtained.
The judges asked Heidt about the questioning at the Anthony's home that night and the questioning at Universal, particularly interested in if Anthony had a choice to be questioned both times.
Speaking of the Universal questioning, one judge said it was, “a textbook interrogation, a classic interrogation; the only question is, was Casey Anthony in custody?"
Heidt responded that Anthony wasn't "summoned (to Universal) she's asked to come and she comes voluntarily."
When asked by the judges if she was free to leave, Heidt replied, "She left." Anthony then went freely to the police station to discuss her story, which the state said was "unraveling" at that point, where she was later placed under arrest.
The state conceded to the judges that investigators had probable cause to arrest Anthony before she was arrested.
Heidt said Anthony "was a liar. That's what we convicted her of."
Both sides submitted written briefs to the judges before the hearing. Each side received 15 minutes to make oral arguments. It's not clear when the judges will make an appeal ruling.
Anthony served probation on check fraud charges for one year in Florida at an undisclosed location after her acquittal.
Anthony also faces a civil suit with the woman who shares the same name as the fictitious nanny she claimed took Caylee, Zenaida Gonzalez. The lawsuit was postponed to an undetermined date in 2013.
It's possible the appeal could affect Anthony's civil case. Once the judges make a ruling, Anthony could possibly be forced to testify during the civil case, in which she has pleaded the Fifth Amendment up until now.