Guest Entry by Ritanita
Florida Judge Lets Sunshine Law Stand
In a decision this afternoon sure to disappoint the Anthony family and Casey’s attorney Jose Baez, Judge Stan Strickland ruled that the Orange County Sheriff’s Office could continue to release audio and video tapes of phone calls between Casey Anthony and family and friends.
Casey’s father George was the only witness to take the stand in the hearing. He stated on the stand that the visits were to make her "smile a bit" and hopefully pass on information that would help him and his family investigate the child’s disappearance.
Casey’s attorney, Jose Baez argued that information released could impede the search for the little girl and drive possible witnesses away. He also stated that the family was "acting as an agent of the state" in their quest to wrestle factual information from Casey. Publicizing the information would not be in the best interest of the case.
Citing case law and the Florida Sunshine laws, attorneys in opposition to the motion argued that it was the right of the Sheriff’s Office to decide what tapes to disclose to the public.
In comments prior to the decision, Judge Strickland states that the family was saying, "Just trust us, we’re trying to do an investigation, just trust us." Apparently, the judge wasn’t buying this argument!
Quoting Baez in his decision, the judge said that the court wasn’t "playing with fire," they were playing with the First Amendment.