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Judge: Casey Anthony to Pay State $97K

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on September 16, 2011 1:14 PM

In what appears to be a never-ending story, Judge Belvin Perry ordered Casey Anthony to pay the state of Florida approximately $97,000 on Thursday.

The amount, which represents just a fraction of the nearly half-million requested by state law enforcement organizations, is intended to reimburse the agencies for costs expended on the initial missing person investigation in December 2008.

Compensation for the homicide phase of the investigation was denied.

The reason for the denial stems from both Florida law and the Constitution.

Though Florida law permits state law enforcement agencies to recoup prosecution and investigative costs from convicted defendants, those costs must be closely related, or "reasonably necessary," to a defendant's conviction.

Prosecutors had argued that Casey Anthony's lies were "inextricably intertwined" with the homicide investigation, according to CNN.

However, Judge Perry disagreed, determining that, absent a murder conviction, the state is not entitled to reimbursement of homicide investigation expenses.

The rationale for this finding is twofold.

First, without a conviction, there is no definite finding of fault, and thus no basis for responsibility or financial liability.

And second, as a criminal defendant, one has a 5th Amendment right to deny police incriminating information. Casey Anthony cannot be punished for exercising that right.

Without much in the way of assets, and absolutely no known job prospects, the real question now is how will Casey Anthony pay the state? Statutorily, she has five years to make full restitution, but it's difficult to see how, absent selling her story, she will be able to meet this deadline.

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