A Florida judge says Casey Anthony must reimburse authorities another $120,000
This brings the total the Orlando woman must pay to more than $217,000
She was acquitted in her daughter's murder, but convicted of lying to authorities
A Florida judge on Friday more than doubled the tab – to more than $217,000 – that Casey Anthony must pay to authorities for the costs of investigating the disappearance of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
Orange County Superior Court Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. had issued a ruling last week mandating that Anthony – who was acquitted in July in the girl’s murder but convicted on four misdemeanor counts for lying to investigators – must pay $97,626.98.
But he had then left the door open for more mandated payments, giving several Orange County Sheriff’s Office employees a deadline to resubmit expense reports from when investigators opened a missing person’s case for Caylee in July 2008 up through late September 29 of that year, when it was changed into a homicide investigation.
That culminated in Friday’s ruling, ordering that Anthony must pay an additional $119,822.25 for expenses from the sheriff’s office. This is on top of $25,837.96 that Perry previously said that department would receive. He ordered additional payments to other entities.
The new figure represents a significant increase from that detailed on September 15. But the new reimbursement total of $217,449.23 is still less than half of the $516,000 that state and local offices had originally sought from Anthony.
The governments had argued that if it were not for the 25-year-old Orlando woman’s lies, investigators wouldn’t have had to expend the time and money to find her daughter’s body.
They searched for five months, eventually finding Caylee’s skeletal remains in woods less than a mile from her grandparents’ Orlando home.
Perry determined Anthony is liable for expenses incurred from in the two and a half months after July 15 – from when Caylee was reported missing to when the homicide probe opened.
But she was not ordered to pay back investigative costs – as the state had requested – incurred between September 30 and December 19, 2008. The latter is the date when Caylee’s remains were positively identified, eight days after they were found.
While it didn’t agree fully with the initial ruling, the Orange County state attorney’s office does not plan any more action to try to recoup money from Anthony, spokesman Randy Means said last week.
“We’re disappointed that our theory wasn’t substantiated by the judge, but we will live with the results of the ruling,” Means added. “We’re pleased … that some of the money will be returned to the taxpayers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anywhere close to what the state agencies thought they were due.”
Anthony’s attorneys have admitted that she lied to authorities during the search for her daughter, saying she knew the girl was dead. Her attorneys have claimed that young Caylee died accidentally.
There was no reaction to the ruling from Anthony’s camp to Perry’s latest ruling. But at a hearing earlier this month – before the judge had ordered her to pay the lesser amount – one of her lawyers, J. Cheney Mason, characterized the effort to make his client pay anything was unfair, given her acquittal on the most serious charge of murder.
“What about the justice for the defense that we won?” Mason said, contending the prosecution wanted reimbursement for crimes that had nothing to do with those for which Anthony was convicted.
In his earlier ruling, Perry granted $61,505.12 to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for “costs … reasonably related to the investigative work provided as a result of (Anthony) providing false information as to the location of her daughter, Caylee Anthony, and making other false misrepresentations.”
For the same reasons, $10,283.90 will go toward the Metropolitan Surveillance Bureau “for electronic surveillance costs from July 22, 2008, through September 29, 2008,” the judge determined.
Meanwhile, Perry stated that some expense reports from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office “were not adequately broken down in order to determine the work performed (between) July 15, 2008, through September 29, 2008.” He requested that 30 individuals submit revised reports by September 19, after which he could order Anthony to pay back more.
Perry denied requests from the state attorney’s office for reimbursement of its costs, beyond $50 “for the costs of prosecution of the (three) misdemeanor convictions.”