Earlier this week, Casey Anthony–the 25-year-old Florida woman who stood a 33-day trial for allegedly murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony in 2008–was released from the Orange County Jail after serving over three years behind bars.
Anthony was found not-guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse, but guilty on four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement officers. The case, which Time called “the social media trial of the century,” received constant play across various news networks. Those tuned in to the trial but away from home could access live audio and video streaming of the drama unfolding in the courtroom with the Casey Anthony iPhone app.
When the verdict was read to a Florida court on July 5th, Anthony was standing next to defense lawyer J. Cheney Mason. Mason, of Orlando’s J. Cheney Mason P.A., is a familiar name at Super Lawyers® magazine–he’s been named three times, in 2006, 2010 and 2011. Anthony’s defense team, led by Jose Baez, also included Dorothy Clay Sims, a fellow Super Lawyers honoree in 2008 and 2009.
Mason, perhaps the most vocal of the Anthony defense team, told Orlando FOX affiliate WOFL 35 that Anthony “won’t be going home to her family, that is a guarantee.” Throughout the trial, the Anthony family was portrayed as largely dysfunctional, although experts believe that her mother, Cindy Anthony, perjured herself on the stand in an effort to save her daughter’s life. Father George Anthony testified against her.
Although Anthony’s plans for the future are up in the air, Mason said Anthony is “as tough as they come and she’s very smart and she’s very alert–quick–and you get to like her.”
After the acquittal that left many reeling–in particular, HLN headliner Nancy Grace, perhaps the loudest of the verdict denouncers–the Anthony defense team retreated to a restaurant near the courthouse to celebrate. Soon, images of the party, which included Sims jumping up and down and clapping, hit major news networks and struck a chord with some, who thought the celebration inappropriate.
“There were people criticizing that we had a party downstairs [from his office] and drinking champagne,” Mason said. “And people criticizing my co-counsel Dorothy Clay Sims for dancing around. … She wasn’t dancing around. She was ecstatic for saving Casey’s life–as we all were. That was the goal.”