Panel hears Anthony's appeal on misdemeanor counts

George Anthony, left, and Cindy Anthony, parents of Casey Anthony, listen to Asst. State Attorney Jeff Ashton give the final rebuttal in the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge. (AP Photo/Red Huber, Pool)

January 8, 2013 10:10:15 AM PST
A Florida appellate court is being asked Tuesday to decide whether Casey Anthony was in police custody when she made statements that led to her being convicted of four counts of lying to law enforcement officers.

Anthony's attorneys are appealing the misdemeanor convictions on the grounds that her statements were inadmissible at her murder trial since she hadn't been read her Miranda rights, which warn suspects that they can remain silent and that their statements can be used against them in court. The three judges on the Fifth District Court of Appeals aren't expected to rule Tuesday.

Anthony was acquitted in 2011 of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

After Caylee disappeared in the summer of 2008, Anthony told investigators that a babysitter named Zenaida Gonzalez had kidnapped her daughter, that she worked at Universal Studios, that she had told co-workers about Caylee's disappearance and that she had recently received a phone call from her daughter. All of the statements were lies and were the basis for her misdemeanor convictions.

Anthony's attorneys argued that because Anthony had been handcuffed and placed in a squad car, she was effectively under arrest and should have had her Miranda rights read to her. They also argue that her convictions on four similar charges stemming from a single encounter with police represents double jeopardy - a person's constitutional protection from being punished multiple times for one offense.

Attorneys for prosecutors argued that the trial judge was correct to allow the statements to be used. They said that Anthony only was handcuffed because her mother thought she would flee and not help them try to locate Caylee. They also noted that a supervisor ordered a detective to take the handcuffs off Anthony a few minutes later.

The appellate court's decision could affect how Anthony testifies in a civil lawsuit. A woman with the name Zenaida Gonzalez sued Anthony, claiming her reputation had been ruined. Anthony has used the pending appeal to delay questioning in the lawsuit. The trial over the lawsuit has been postponed indefinitely until the appellate court rules.