Jose Baez tired of hearing about state bar complaints

10:55 PM, Oct 18, 2011   |    comments
Defense attorney Jose Baez reacts to an objection from the prosecution during the Casey Anthony trial on Friday, June 17, 2011.
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Orlando, Florida - Jose Baez said his goal was simple: Defend his 25-year-old client. But rabid media attention during the post-trial period has taken on a life of it's own.

The Casey Anthony trial made headlines all over the world.  The young Orlando mother was acquitted for murder in the case involving her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Baez lead the defense team for Casey Anthony and admits that he faced criticism after taking on a high profile case. However, he says that his latest battle with the Florida State Bar Association is "not new news."

The state bar, for the first time, is now confirming the details of two complaints filed against Baez. The first complaint deals with allegations that Baez failed to provide the prosecution with discovery information leading up to the trial.

Chief Judge Belvin Perry pointed out the importance of discovery so that no trial has any "surprises."

Baez ended up paying a fine a nearly $600 after he faced sanctions by Judge Perry for what was called a "willful violation" of a court order.

Then, there is the other complaint which, some legal analysts say, is much more serious.

It involves Baez's failure to inform the court that his client was serving her probation for her check fraud case during the time that she was already in jail awaiting her murder trial. The Department of Corrections began Anthony's probation during the time that she was still an inmate at the Orange County Jail.  She was awaiting her first degree murder trial.

The DOC had said that Anthony completed that probation period while in jail. Judge Perry took over the case and determined that Anthony should now serve her probation period, as ordered previously by Judge Strickland, outside of jail.

That is currently what Anthony is doing.

Perry wrote, "No attorney should conduct himself or herself in a way that impedes an order of the court. Our system of justice should never be in the position of rewarding someone who willfully hides the ball."

Judge Perry also discussed Baez's behavior and subsequent failure to inform him of Anthony's misapplied jailhouse probation.

"While ignorance of the contents of a court order is one thing, the failure to abide by that order and the failure to notify the court of a known scrivener's error in the order may be a violation of an attorney's duty of candor," Perry wrote in his order.

At this time, it has been confirmed that these complaints have now progressed to a grievance committee. Basically, this means that the case has now moved to the next part of the process.

Compared to a similar process of grand jury, a panel of nine members will get together to decide whether or not official charges should be brought against Jose Baez.

But, this is not a quick process.

It may be months before a decision is made.  The biggest question is what will happen to Jose Baez?  Could he be disbarred?

Probably not, say legal analysts.

"They can do any number of things.  They can certainly sanction him.  They could certainly take action against his license in the form of a suspension.  Do I think this rises to the level of being disbarred?  No," said 10 News legal analyst Jon Douglas.

Baez released this statement:

"I look forward to the Florida Bar investigating these matters because they, like the many others that came before them, have no merit. When an attorney takes on an unpopular cause, especially one in the spotlight, he or she will face criticism."

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