Jose Baez (lawyer)
|Jose Angel Baez|
|Born||October 17, 1968
Manhattan, New York City
|Education||Florida State University
St. Thomas University School of Law (1997)
|Known for||Lead attorney for Casey Anthony|
Jose Angel Baez (born 1968) is an American lawyer and New York Times Best Selling Author. He has handled a number of high-profile cases both nationally and internationally, but is best known as the lead attorney for Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of murder in July 2011 after a trial that attracted significant national and international attention.
Early life and education
Baez was born in Manhattan, New York, to Puerto Rican parents, and raised in the Bronx and south Florida with his three sisters. He attended Homestead High School in Florida, leaving in the ninth grade at age 17, when he got married and became a father. After earning his General Education Development diploma, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1986. According to his resume, he spent three years assigned in connection with NATO at Norfolk, Virginia, trained as an intelligence analyst, and held a Top Secret security clearance.
After leaving the Navy in 1989, Baez attended Miami-Dade Community College, then transferred to Florida State University where he earned a BA. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from St. Thomas University School of Law in 1997.
After graduating from law school in 1997, Baez was denied admission to the bar due to financial irresponsibility. Unable to practice as an attorney, he worked instead as a special assistant public defender for the Miami-Dade public defender. In 2005, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners admitted Baez after he had demonstrated that he had rehabilitated himself.
After being granted his license, he focused primarily on criminal defense cases, including the case of Elvira Garcia, an illegal Mexican immigrant accused of kidnapping a child that she had adopted as her own. Garcia was cleared of all charges.
He also tried the first-degree murder case of Nilton Diaz, heavily covered by the media in Orlando and Puerto Rico because the victim was the 2-year-old granddaughter of World Boxing Champion Wilfredo Vazquez. Diaz was acquitted of first and second degree murder but convicted of manslaughter. Prior to taking on the Casey Anthony case, Baez had tried over 45 jury trials including 5 murder cases and has never had a client convicted of first degree murder.
Baez came to significant national and international attention when he took on the case of Casey Anthony. In what Time Magazine dubbed the Social Media Trial of the Century. Anthony was acquitted of the murder of her daughter, Caylee, after a trial that lasted six weeks. In a press conference on the day of the verdict, Baez said, "While we're happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case. Caylee has passed on far, far too soon, and what my driving force has been for the last three years has been always to make sure that there has been justice for Caylee and Casey because Casey did not murder Caylee. It's that simple." He added, "And today our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction." Baez was featured on every major news network and show across the country. Jeff Ashton, one of the prosecutors in the case, later complimented him on his cross-examination skills. Baez authored a book with Peter Golenbock about the Anthony Case, Presumed Guilty, which was published on July 3, 2012 and became a New York Times Best Seller. Fox News Channel commentator Geraldo Rivera nicknamed Baez “Juanie Cochran.”
Missing in Aruba
After representing Anthony, Baez was noted for assisting attorney Chris Lejuez in representing millionaire businessman Gary Giordano in Aruba. Giordano was detained for 116 days in connection with the disappearance of Robyn Gardner. Baez and Lejuez filed an appeal and were able to get all of the charges dropped against Giordano who was immediately released from prison in Aruba and he returned to the United States.
George Zimmerman Case
In 2012, George Zimmerman was arrested in the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. After jail calls that were released where George Zimmerman was discussing Jose Baez, Zimmerman's friend Frank Taaffe disclosed to Head Line News that a consortium wanted to hire Jose Baez to represent George Zimmerman. Rumors began to spread based on the jailhouse tapes that the person was Fox News Host Sean Hannity. Instead Baez ended up representing police officer and lead detective Chris Serino.
Cyber Bullying Case
In October, 2013 Baez was hired to defend the 12 year old suspect arrested in connection of the death of 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick, whose mother had claimed was bullied to the point where she committed suicide by jumping to her death from a silo in a cement factory. The case made national news when Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd made the first arrest in the country for cyber bullying, and gave interviews on all major media shows including the Today Show and Good Morning America. When Baez entered the case, he vowed to clear his client and criticized Sheriff Grady Judd for releasing the juveniles names and photographs setting off an epic battle between the high profile sheriff and defense attorney. Sheriff Grady Judd told the media that Baez "a flashy lawyer from out of town should go work out a plea deal." In the end Baez was true to his word and all charges against his client were dropped. After winning the case Baez told Sheriff Grady Judd that “He should get a lawyer and a darn good one because he’s gonna need it," Indicating that his client may sue the Sheriff.
Jose Baez dedicates a significant part of his practice to representing victims of crime as well as those accused of crimes.In 2012, Baez began representing multiple victims in a negligent security lawsuit in connection with the mass shooting at the Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. He is also representing alleged rape victim Leoanny De la Cruz in a suit against latin grammy winner Elvis Crespo. In January of 2013 the family of a well known chef Stefano Riccioletti who was struck and killed by drunk driver Karlie Tomica in what the media called the "Party Princess" case. Tomica was a 20 year old bar tender who got intoxicated at work before driving home and striking the famous Chef. Baez is suing the well known South Beach nightclub, Nikki Beach for allowing the 20 year old to drink on the job and then drive while intoxicated.Jose Baez was also hired by the victims to sue for negligent security in the Hialeah shooting massacre that made national headlines where seven victims were shot and killed in a apartment complex in Hialeah, Florida.
According to Rene Lynch of the Los Angeles Times, Baez is considered one of the most sought after criminal defense attorneys in the country. The National Trial Lawyers website named him one of the "Top 100 Lawyers" in Florida.
- Video Interview 5 July 2011 with Barbara Walters, ABC Nightline News. By Nikki Battiste and Kimberly Brown, July 6, 2011. During the 2nd segment at video index 03:09, Baez says he was born in Manhattan. Other sources reported his place of birth as Puerto Rico, such as:
- Profile: Jose Baez from WSVN 6 July 2011
- Casey Anthony’s lawyer Jose Baez came out of nowhere from the Miami Herald 5 July 2011
- "Exclusive Casey Anthony Lawyer Jose Baez Interview", Terra, June 22, 2011.
- Hopper, Jessica (8 June 2011). "Casey Anthony's Lawyer Jose Baez Has Trials of His Own".
- Curtis, Henry P. "Casey Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez, rejected by Florida Bar on first try". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
- "Roommate Charged With Kidnapping 6-Week-Old Boy". www.wftv.com. 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- "Who Is Jose Baez? | Casey Anthony - WESH Home". Wesh.com. 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- Hudak, Stephen. "Nilton Diaz denies killing girl, 2, in Lake County murder trial". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- Hightower, Kyle (July 2, 2011). "Jurors see scant evidence in Casey Anthony trial". MSNBC/Associated Press.
- Connolly, Kevin (July 6, 2011). "Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton also hit several shows today". Chicago Tribune/Orlando Sentinel.
- "Geraldo Rivera: Juanie Cochran | Fox News Latino". Latino.foxnews.com. 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- Rene Lynch (2012-02-22). "Casey Anthony: Attorney Jose Baez says he's done". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- [dead link]