Jose baez home -
Attorney for accused child-killer faces foreclosure of home in Kissimmee
Jose Baez: Hernandez acquittal burnishes lawyer’s reputation
BOSTON (AP) — During Aaron Hernandez’s double murder trial, the former NFL star’s lawyer wanted to drive home his point that the prosecution’s star witness was a “three-legged pony” whose testimony could not be believed. So he galloped like a horse in front of the jury.
It was vintage Jose Baez: flashy, theatrical and willing to do anything for his clients.
With Hernandez’s acquittal, Baez burnished his status as one of the most recognized defense attorneys in the U.S., six years after his high-profile gig successfully defending Casey Anthony, the Florida mother accused of killing her toddler because she didn’t want the responsibility of raising a child.
His no-holds-barred style has won him both praise and scorn.
Prosecutors who have gone up against Baez say there is nothing he won’t do to win, while defense attorneys who have worked with call him a brilliant strategist who rips open holes in the prosecution’s case.
“If you were ever in trouble, you would want Jose Baez by your side,” said Linda Kenney Baden, who represented music producer Phil Spector in his 2007 murder trial and has worked with Baez on three cases, including the Anthony and Hernandez trials.
The Anthony and Hernandez cases initially seemed like slam dunks for prosecutors.
Anthony had repeatedly lied to the police, and witnesses said they smelled a dead body in her car trunk. But Baez hammered at a hole in the prosecution’s case — uncertainty about how the little girl died — and raised doubt among jurors.
In the Hernandez case, he relentlessly attacked the credibility of the prosecution’s star witness, an admitted drug dealer who was with Hernandez the night two men were killed in a drive-by shooting in Boston. Baez told the jury the man had identified Hernandez as the triggerman to get immunity and save his own skin.
Baez, 48, based in Florida, was relatively inexperienced and unknown before the Anthony trial.
While in law school, he had a one-day stint in the Miami-Dade County prosecutor’s office but said it “didn’t feel right” to him, so he walked across the street to the public defender’s office and offered to work there instead.
“I absolutely fell in love with it,” he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “I got to deal with real people and help them with real problems.”
During the Anthony trial, Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera popularized the nickname “Juanie Cochran” for Baez, comparing him to the late Johnnie Cochran, the flamboyant lawyer who helped win acquittal for O.J. Simpson.
Celebrity was something Baez never expected. He dropped out of high school and married his girlfriend after she became pregnant, and later earned his GED while in the Navy.
After getting his law degree at Florida’s St. Thomas University, the state bar association prevented him from practicing law for eight years, citing his failure to keep up with child support payments and other debts.
He was admitted to practice law in 2005, and just three years later took on the Anthony case. The trial fascinated the nation, with every twist and turn live-streamed and followed obsessively on social media and in the tabloids.
Jeff Ashton, one of the prosecutors in the Anthony case, derides Baez as a “wonderful salesman.”
“He’s not terribly professional in his demeanor,” Ashton said. “He just sort of does whatever he thinks he should do to sell the case without a whole lot of regard to whether it’s, in fact, ethically or legally the proper thing to do.”
Baez also represented Nilton Diaz, acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter in the death of the 2-year-old granddaughter of World Boxing Champion Wilfredo Vazquez. He also defended a 12-year-old girl charged with aggravated stalking in connection with the suicide of another girl. The charges were dropped.
Baez said he has never lost a first- or second-degree murder case out of 11 that have gone to trial. He attributes his success to his ability to relate to jurors from all walks of life.
“I was raised to treat the janitor with as much respect as you treat the CEO. The reason for that is simple,” he said. “My mother WAS the janitor, she WAS the maid. She had a 6th-grade education, came here from Puerto Rico and supported four children on her own, without any help from anyone.”
Baez’s brash approach has sometimes angered prosecutors. In the Hernandez trial, the defense suggested that the victims may have been involved in drugs and gangs, and that the real killer’s motive was a failed drug deal. A medical examiner testified that there were drugs in the system of one of the victims.
After the acquittal, prosecutor Daniel Conley said portraying the victims that way was unnecessary.
Baez’s work didn’t result in freedom for Hernandez, who was already in prison for an earlier murder; Baez didn’t represent him in that trial. Five days after he was acquitted, Hernandez was dead of an apparent suicide in his prison cell.
Baez’s work for his client didn’t end there.
The next day, he claimed the state medical examiner was illegally withholding Hernandez’s brain, preventing his family from donating it to research. State officials denied Baez’s claim and said they held onto Hernandez’s brain only during an autopsy.
“I believe in redemption, I believe in having compassion,” Baez said. “Sometimes the system treats those accused and those who are downtrodden very harshly.”
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Javy Baez said his thumbs-down HR celebration was a message to the booing New York Mets fans
The Mets put together back-to-back wins on Sunday for the first time since Aug. 12, but in those 17 days, Javy Baez and his New York teammates have taken notice of all the boos echoing throughout Citi Field.
Now, they've turned it back around at the fans in a not-so-subtle celebration.
During the Mets' 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday, Baez gave New York the lead with a go-ahead, 444-foot home run in the fourth inning. As the Mets infielder crossed home plate, he gestured a "thumbs down" with both hands towards the dugout. Baez would say after the game that it was the team's response to the negativity they've heard this season from their own fans.
Baez spoke about the gesture during the postgame press conference.
Heading into Saturday's game, the Mets had lost 12 of 14 and had seen a 3.5-game lead in the NL East turn into a now-7.5-game deficit. So, it's pretty clear exactly why Mets fans have been so frustrated this month. Baez, who was the team's big pickup ahead of the trade deadline, had been both hurt and disappointing since joining the Mets.
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And even if Mets fans can be an irrational bunch from time to time, taking a shot at them in celebration form probably won't endear Baez to the Mets faithful going forward.
It certainly didn't endear him to Mets president Sandy Alderson, who released a statement (in the form of a Medium blog!) to condemn the gestures and apologize to fans.
"In a post-game press conference today, Javy Baez stated that his 'thumbs down' gesture during the game was a message to fans who recently have booed him and other players for poor performance," the statement read. "These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
"Mets fans are understandably frustrated over the team’s recent performance," the statement continued. "The players and the organization are equally frustrated, but fans at Citi Field have every right to express their own disappointment. Booing is every fan’s right."
Attorney Jose Baez Reveals the Surprising Bet He Had with Aaron Hernandez Before His Death
By the time that Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his jail cell in April 2017, he had few people in his corner.
The 27-year-old former NFL star hadn’t heard from his football teammates in years. The only people outside the jail with whom he had regular contact was his attorney, Jose Baez, and his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins. When he died by suicide, he left notes for the two of them, as well as another for his daughter, Avielle Jenkins-Hernandez, now 5.
It was a dark end for Hernandez. Once a celebrated tight end for the New England Patriots, Hernandez was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée in 2013.
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Two years later, Hernandez was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. While on trial in Lloyd’s slaying, he was also indicted for a 2012 double homicide. He hired Baez, who won an acquittal in the second case — and began the appeal process for the first murder conviction.
Days later, Hernandez was dead, and his death was ruled a suicide.
With the family’s blessing, Baez has released a book about Hernandez’s legal troubles and final days. The book, Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and Final Days of Aaron Hernandez, has hit the New York Times bestseller list.
Baez, 49, tells PEOPLE that a lot of his conversations with Hernandez went far beyond the standard attorney-client discussions about his case. “It turned into a big brother type of relationship,” Baez says. “I got to see him with his qualities and his flaws. I saw the tough guy mask, but around me, he was always just a big goofy kid.”
The two men would talk about sports. “I told him that I had played baseball and football when I was younger,” Baez says. “And he asked me, ‘Were you any good?’ And I said, ‘Hell yeah. I was really fast.’ He didn’t believe me.”
So Hernandez bet Baez that he couldn’t run a 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds. (Hernandez’s time had been 4.64 seconds.)
Baez began training in earnest. “It took me a month and a half, but I wanted to do it for Aaron,” he says. “And then I finally did it. And I had it videotaped so I could show it to him.” (The video is below.)
But it wasn’t meant to be. Before Baez could show Hernandez the video, the former football player was dead. “It was really a blow,” says Baez. “I wanted to show it to him. It was a way to keep his mind off everything else that was going on.”
The Osceola County home of Casey Anthony attorney Jose Baez is in foreclosure proceedings in court, the now well-known defense attorney confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
Osceola County Clerk of Courts online records also confirmed the foreclosure case, listing it as a foreclosure involving $250,001 or more. The foreclosure complaint was filed May 12, according to the online records.
When asked about the foreclosure case, Baez said, "I think it's personal.
"It has nothing to do with my case, my business and anything that has to do with Casey Anthony," he said. "I'll probably keep the house, even though it's worth half of what I owe."
LaSalle Bank N.A. is listed as the plaintiff in the case.
Asked again how his personal finances might impact his ability to represent 24-year-old Casey Anthony in a complex, first-degree murder case, Baez said, "Zero. It has nothing to do with the case I'm sure I'll work it out with the bank."
Anthony, 24, is charged with murder in the death of her daughter Caylee Marie. The toddler's remains were found in December 2008, months after she was first reported missing.
Baez emphasized that his personal life should not be the focus.
"My personal affairs are just that, personal," he said. "I'm not the story."
Online property appraiser records indicate a Kissimmee house in Baez's name was purchased three years ago for $670,000. It is located in the same neighborhood identified by the mortgage foreclosure records. The home's taxable value in October was $347,100, according to the appraiser's records.