ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A Florida Bar grievance committee will investigate a pair of complaints filed against Casey Anthony’s lawyer.
The committee will determine whether any charges will be brought against Jose Baez under the Florida Bar’s umbrella of jurisdiction. The basis for the complaints remains unclear as the details remain confidential and are not made publicly available during an ongoing Florida Bar investigation, but they do stem from Baez’s role in the Anthony trial, said Francine Walker, the Florida Bar’s director of public information.
Walker said she expects the grievance committee’s examination of the Baez complaints to take a couple of months.
Baez told CBS Tampa that the information concerning the complaints, which was reported by the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday morning, remains unchanged from what was previously reported “two months ago.”
“There is nothing new to report about these two complaints other than they are still pending,” Baez told CBS Tampa in an email. “I responded two months ago, and I will repeat the same statement, which is that ‘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. It is a small price to pay for our individual rights under our criminal justice system. Defense lawyers and prosecutors make these sacrifices on a daily basis as we labor towards justice and protect our freedom.’”
Earlier this summer, Baez was in the middle of a media sideshow as the lead defense attorney for Anthony, who was facing murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. She was found not guilty of those charges, and is currently serving probation on an unrelated charge.
During the course of the trial, Judge Belvin Perry fined Baez for failing to disclose pertinent and relevant information to the prosecution in a timely fashion.Walker said there were a couple other instances during the trial involving Baez’s actions that forced Perry to threaten the lawyer with possible sanctions.
“The Bar is investigating those matters as a possible violation of our rules,” Walker told CBS Tampa. She added: “We felt like we had enough information to bring it to a grievance committee.”
If the grievance committee finds any course for probable cause, Baez would go to trial handled by a “referee,” giving the renowned lawyer a chance to defend his ethical or professional practices in such a situation. But even with the investigation expecting to take a couple of months, nothing is clear about the exact time-table involving the Baez complaints, Walker said.
“They take as long as they need,” Walker said, referring to the grievance committee’s review of the complaints against Baez. “They won’t take forever, but at this point, there are no deadlines for the grievance committee. They will investigate to the depth needed to make a decision.”