CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin calls the four-year sentence Judge Belvin Perry slapped on Casey Anthony a surprise but says the judge likely was making a statement in giving her the maximum jail time.
Perry on Thursday sentenced Anthony to one year behind bars on each of four counts of lying to police concerning the death of her daughter, Caylee. She also was fined $1,000 for each count.
“Most people convicted of misdemeanors do not get prison time in Florida or anywhere else," Toobin says.
Despite the sentence, Anthony won't spend much more time incarcerated. She got credit for the time spent in custody since her arrest, almost 1,000 days.
Before the court gave Anthony's official release date, Toobin speculated that she could be free in less than two months once credit for good behavior also was considered. But it appears Anthony got a bigger break - she'll be out in a less than a week. A court spokeswoman said her release date would be Wednesday.
Anthony has served about three years already. And it seems, Toobin said, the judge was intent on making sure some kind of punishment had been handed down in the case.
"This judge was clearly appalled at the nature and content of the lies Casey Anthony told to the police," he says. "We are all reminded about just how sinister and awful these comments were."
Authorities said Anthony lied about whether her daughter was missing. Her other lies included claims that Caylee was in a nanny's custody, that she had a job at Universal Studios and that she had received a phone call from Caylee.
Toobin said that while Anthony's criminal law troubles may be over, she could be involved in civil litigation much longer.
Zenaida Gonzalez has filed a defamation lawsuit against Anthony. Authorities questioned Gonzalez in Caylee's disappearance after Anthony said a nanny by that woman's name had kidnapped the child. Gonzalez denied ever meeting Anthony.
Florida officials also are asking that Anthony repay the state for the enormous cost of investigating the case. A private firm that helped in the child's search wants its money back, too.
Lawsuits could linger for years, Toobin says, but he doubts they'll have much effect.
"I will be surprised if Casey Anthony ever ends up paying anyone," he says.