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In the “you can’t escape from tabloid scandals” department, the Miami mother, surprisingly found not guilty of murdering her two-year old daughter in the famous 2011 trial, has declared bankruptcy.

Unemployed and under stifling debts, the famous former defendant’s petition indicates debts of almost $800,000 and personal assets of slightly more than $1,000. Much of her debt includes the high costs of her defense, including a $500,000 debt to her attorney who secured her not guilty decision.

She also owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to private investigators and forensics experts she hired to help defend her charges. Legal experts also believe that her bankruptcy action is an attempt to garner protection from the civil lawsuits filed against her by others, including the man who found the toddler’s body and a woman, who unfortunately has the same name as the fictional babysitter accused by the mother of being involved in the child’s death.

A Florida defense attorney, who examined the mother’s bankruptcy petition, offered that filing for protection was the only thing she could do. While this is understandable, should the mother have more rights than all those parents that over-borrow to allow their children to attend college?

As we discussed in our last post, federal student loans, in most cases, cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. There must be extreme circumstances, such as terminal illness, for bankruptcy filers to have student loans included. Yet, an unemployed mother, accused of murdering her two-year old, may qualify for wiping out her criminal defense debts and get protection against upcoming lawsuits of others, wrongly accused of malicious participation on the toddler’s death.

In theory, bankruptcy is available to individuals throughout the nation who meet certain requirements. This is of course a good thing. Is it fair however that Anthony can get bankruptcy protection when parents who borrow for their child’s education cannot? Should the law be modified a bit to protect all those in financial difficulty?

Source: Forbes, “Casey Anthony Can Declare Bankruptcy And Expect Relief But Student Loan Debtors Receive No Such Protection,” Helaine Olen, Jan. 27, 2013

  • We handle Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings occurring throughout Southern Florida. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Miami Chapter 7 bankruptcy page.