Winning the acquittal of Casey Anthony may have made him the luckiest attorney in America, but things aren't actually looking too great for Jose Baez. Investigated twice before for his conduct during Anthony's representation, the Florida Bar Association has confirmed that a panel of three appellate judges has launched a third ethics investigation into his behavior.
With this latest Jose Baez complaint, the governing body is questioning whether Baez violated his duty of candor to the court.
If you haven't been following the Anthony probation fiasco, when she pled guilty to check fraud in 2010, she was sentenced to time served and a year of probation to be served post-release.
Incorrect paperwork allowed Anthony to instead serve probation while awaiting trial, an error that only came to the attention of the 2010 sentencing judge in recent weeks.
When Judge Belvin Perry brought Jose Baez and the defense team into court to discuss Anthony's probation, the Orlando Sentinel reports that the group was directly asked if they knew about the error.
The response? It wasn't their burden to notify the court.
Judge Perry then proceeded to admonish the group, professing that ethics rules require them to notify the court of a "known scrivener's error."
This may be true, but how does this duty conflict with the duty one owes a client?
Notifying the court of the error would have been to Anthony's detriment given that she benefitted from its existence. Would this not violate an attorney's responsibility to do what is best for the client? Or is it irrelevant because there is a superior duty to follow a court order?
Whatever the answer, the rising number of investigations and Jose Baez complaints indicates that there is little respect for his ability to ethically lawyer.
- Jose Baez Investigated By The State Bar of Florida (Long Island Press)
- Jose Baez: From Unknown Jailhouse Lawyer to 'Luckiest Man in America' (FindLaw's Strategist)
- Casey Anthony Trial Judge Admonishes, Threatens Lawyers (FindLaw's Strategist)