Jose Baez (lawyer)

Not to be confused with José Báez (baseball) or José Luis Báez.
Jose Baez
Born Jose Angel Baez
(1968-10-17) October 17, 1968
Manhattan, New York[1]
Education Florida State University
St. Thomas University School of Law (1997)
Occupation Trial attorney
Known for Lead attorney for Casey Anthony

Jose Angel Baez (born October 17, 1968) is an American lawyer and New York Times best selling author.[2] He 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, who is of Puerto Rican descent, was born in Manhattan, N.Y.,[1] and raised in the Bronx, New York and South Florida with his three sisters by his single mother.[3][4] He attended Homestead High School in Florida, leaving in the ninth grade at age 17, when he got married and became a father.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]


After graduating from law school in 1997, Baez was denied admission to the bar due to financial irresponsibility.[7][8] Unable to practice as an attorney, he worked instead as an intern at the Miami Dade Public Defender's office. In 2005, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners admitted Baez after he had demonstrated that he had rehabilitated himself.[8]

Criminal cases

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.[9][10]

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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."[14] 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.[15] 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.”[16]

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 in KIA Prison for 116 days in connection with the disappearance of Robyn Gardner.[17] Aruba’s High Court released Gary Giordano for lack of any evidence in this case. He was released on November 28, 2011; no charges were ever filed against Gary Giordano. Baez and Lejuez successfully defended an appeal filed by Aruba’s Chief Prosecutor, Taco Stein.[18]

George Zimmerman case

In 2012, George Zimmerman was arrested in the shooting death of 17yearold Trayvon Martin. After jail calls that were released where George Zimmerman was discussing Baez, Zimmerman's friend Frank Taaffe disclosed to HLN that a "consortium" wanted to hire Baez to represent George Zimmerman.[19] Rumors began to spread based on the jailhouse tapes that Fox News host Sean Hannity offered to pay for Zimmerman's lawyer.[19] Instead, Baez ended up representing a lead detective in the case, Chris Serino.[20]

Cyber bullying case

In October 2013, Baez was hired to defend the 12‑year-old suspect arrested in connection with 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.[21] The case made national news when Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd made the first arrest in the country for cyberbullying, and gave interviews on all major media shows including the Today Show and Good Morning America.[22] When Baez entered the case, he vowed to clear his client and criticized Sheriff Judd for releasing the juveniles names and photographs setting off a battle between the sheriff and defense attorney.[23] Sheriff 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.[24] After winning the case, Baez told Sheriff 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.[25]

Civil cases

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.[26] He is also representing alleged rape victim Leoanny De la Cruz in a suit against Latin Grammy winner Elvis Crespo.[27] In January 2013, Baez was retained by the family of chef Stefano Riccioletti, who was struck and killed by drunk driver Karlie Tomica, a 20‑year‑old bartender who got intoxicated at work before driving home and striking Riccioletti, in what the media called the "Party Princess" case.[28][29] Baez is suing Nikki Beach, a South Beach nightclub, for allowing the 20‑year‑old to drink on the job and then drive while intoxicated.[30] Baez was also hired by the victims to sue for negligent security in the 2013 Hialeah shooting where seven victims were shot and killed in an apartment complex in Hialeah, Florida.[31] In February 2015, he was retained by the family of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was shot and killed while throwing rocks at police in Pasco, Washington.[32]

According to Rene Lynch of the Los Angeles Times, Baez is considered one of the most sought after criminal defense attorneys in the country.[33]

Aaron Hernandez 2013 murder appeal

He will be working with Aaron Hernandez to appeal his conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd and defend him on charges related to a 2012 Boston double homicide. [34]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Barbara Walters interview with Jose Baez July 5, 2011". Youtube. ABC News. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  2. Presumed Guilty: Casey Anthony: The Inside Story. Jose Baez and Peter Golenbock. (2012) ISBN 978-1937856380
  3. Carolyn Salazar (July 5, 2011). "José Baez, Casey Anthony's Lawyer: From Troubled Son to Star Defense Attorney". Fox News Latino. Retrieved May 10, 2015. Baez was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Bronx, N.Y., and South Florida with his single mother. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade. At 17, he married and became a father.
  4. 1 2 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:
  5. "Exclusive Casey Anthony Lawyer Jose Baez Interview", Terra, June 22, 2020 .
  6. Carolyn Salazar (July 5, 2011). "José Baez, Casey Anthony's Lawyer: From Troubled Son to Star Defense Attorney". Fox News Latino. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  7. Hopper, Jessica (8 June 2011). "Casey Anthony's Lawyer Jose Baez Has Trials of His Own".
  8. 1 2 Curtis, Henry P. "Casey Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez, rejected by Florida Bar on first try". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 3 May 2009.
  9. "Roommate Charged With Kidnapping 6-Week-Old Boy". 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  10. "Who Is Jose Baez? | Casey Anthony – WESH Home". 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  11. Hudak, Stephen. "Nilton Diaz denies killing girl, 2, in Lake County murder trial". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  12. "Casey Anthony's Lawyer Jose Baez Goes From Unknown to Next Juannie Cochran – ABC News". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  13. "Casey Anthony Murder Case: Social-Media Trial of Century – TIME". 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  14. Hightower, Kyle (July 2, 2011). "Jurors see scant evidence in Casey Anthony trial". MSNBC/Associated Press.
  15. Connolly, Kevin (July 6, 2011). "Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton also hit several shows today". Chicago Tribune/Orlando Sentinel.
  16. "Geraldo Rivera: Juanie Cochran | Fox News Latino". 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  18. "Freed US man wins Aruba appeal – US news – Crime & courts | NBC News". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  19. 1 2 "'Consortium' wanted Jose Baez for Zimmerman |". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  20. "Detective in George Zimmerman case turns to Jose Baez for legal help – Zimmerman Case –". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  21. "Casey Anthony attorney to represent Florida girl in online bullying case | Fox News". 2013-10-23. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  22. "Sheriff: We won't tolerate cyberbullying – Video on". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  23. "Jose Baez insists 12-year-old accused bully is innocent; triggers epic battle with Sheriff Judd | Watch the video – Yahoo News". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  24. Quigley, Rachel; Gorman, Ryan (2013-11-20). "Jose Baez: Stalking charges dropped against both girls who 'drove Rebecca Sedwick, 12, to suicide' | Mail Online". London: Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  25. "Charges dropped against girls in Florida cyber-bullying suicide case – NBC News". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  26. "Aurora victims' kin retains Casey Anthony lawyer |". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  27. "RutaLatina | Elvis Crespo are wanted for alleged sexual assault. – RutaLatina". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  28. "Famed Attorney Jose Baez Representing Family Of Chef Killed In Hit & Run « CBS Miami". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  29. McCorquodale, Amanda (2013-08-06). "Karlie Tomica Plea Deal: Hit-And-Run 'Party Princess' Pleads Guilty To Fatal DUI Crash (VIDEO)". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  30. "Chef Riccioletti's Widow Files Lawsuit After Hit-And-Run – Lawsuits – Eater Miami". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  31. "Seven Killed in Hialeah Apartment Building Massacre UPDATED". Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  32. Orlando Sentinel: "Baez, Crump retained in Washington cop shooting" By Gal Tziperman Lotan February 27, 2015
  33. Rene Lynch (2012-02-22). "Casey Anthony: Attorney Jose Baez says he's done". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-06-18.

External links

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