Military Wiki
Jose Baez
Born Jose Angel Baez
October 17, 1968(1968-10-17) (age 54)
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 and Aaron Hernandez

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, but dropped out in the ninth grade. He married and became a father at age 17.[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 by the Florida 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 and owned several companies. 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 undocumented Mexican immigrant accused of kidnapping a child that she had adopted as her own. Garcia's charges were dropped, as it turned out to be more of a civil custody matter.[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 and child abuse.

Baez came to significant national attention when he took on the case of Casey Anthony. Time Magazine dubbed it "the Social Media Trial of the Century".[12] 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."[13] Baez was featured on every major news network and show across the country. 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 referred to Baez as “Juanie Cochran.”[14]

Missing in Aruba

After representing Anthony, Baez was brought on to assist 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.[15] Aruba’s High Court released Gary Giordano 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.[16]

Baez defended Giordano on the American reality prime time court show You the Jury, which was canceled after two episodes. Baez also defended Gerod Roth in the show.

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 discussed Baez, Zimmerman's friend Frank Taaffe disclosed to HLN that a "consortium" wanted to hire Baez to represent George Zimmerman.[17] Zimmerman chose Mark O'Mara. Ultimately, Baez ended up representing a lead detective in the case, Chris Serino.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] Baez criticized Sheriff Judd for releasing the juveniles names and photographs setting off a battle between the sheriff and defense attorney.[21] Sheriff Judd told the media that Baez "a flashy lawyer from out of town should go work out a plea deal." In the end, all charges against his client were dropped.[22] 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.[23] No known further legal action occurred.

Aaron Hernandez 2013 murder appeal

Baez was working with Aaron Hernandez to appeal his conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd up until Hernandez's apparent suicide on April 19, 2017.[24] Baez has stated publicly that he does not believe that Hernandez committed suicide and is "determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death" as "“Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence." [25]

Aaron Hernandez 2012 double murder charges

Baez defended Aaron Hernandez on charges related to a 2012 Boston double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a drive-by shooting in Boston’s South End on July 16, 2012. On April 14, 2017, a jury cleared Hernandez of committing the murders.[26] Hernandez was already serving a life term without parole for that killing.

Lawsuit against NFL and New England Patriots

On September 21, 2017, Baez announced Aaron Hernandez was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy by Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University, and that he had filed a federal lawsuit, on behalf of Hernandez' daughter, against the National Football League and the New England Patriots, seeking unspecified damages for loss of parental support. The suit alleges the league and team were aware of the dangers of repeated head injuries and refused to disclose these to Hernandez.[27]

See also

  • Cheney Mason – co-counsel for Casey Anthony
  • Timeline of the Casey Anthony case
  • Linda Drane Burdick – lead prosecutor on the Casey Anthony case
  • Investigating Innocence - wrongful conviction advocacy; Baez is a founding member


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Barbara Walters interview with Jose Baez July 5, 2011". 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". 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. 4.0 4.1 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". Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  7. Hopper, Jessica (8 June 2011). "Casey Anthony's Lawyer Jose Baez Has Trials of His Own". 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Curtis, Henry P.. "Casey Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez, rejected by Florida Bar on first try". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2017. 
  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 Murder Case: Social-Media Trial of Century – TIME". 2011-06-16.,8599,2077969,00.html. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  13. Hightower, Kyle (July 2, 2011). "Jurors see scant evidence in Casey Anthony trial". MSNBC/Associated Press. 
  14. "Geraldo Rivera: Juanie Cochran | Fox News Latino". 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 
  16. "Freed US man wins Aruba appeal – US news – Crime & courts | NBC News". Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  17. "'Consortium' wanted Jose Baez for Zimmerman |". Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  18. "Detective in George Zimmerman case turns to Jose Baez for legal help – Zimmerman Case –". Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  19. "Casey Anthony attorney to represent Florida girl in online bullying case | Fox News". 2013-10-23. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  20. "Sheriff: We won’t tolerate cyberbullying – Video on". Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  21. "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. 
  22. 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. 
  23. "Charges dropped against girls in Florida cyber-bullying suicide case – NBC News". Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  24. Mike DeForest (2016-06-07). "Jose Baez to represent Aaron Hernandez". Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  25. Name (required) (2017-04-19). "Aaron Hernandez’s Attorney ‘Determined To Find The Truth’ In Death « CBS Boston". Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  26. "Jury acquits Aaron Hernandez of murder charges". The Boston Globe. 2017-04-14. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  27. Belson, Ken (2017-09-21). "Aaron Hernandez Found to Have Severe C.T.E.". The New York Times. 

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