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Casey Anthony Update: Taxpayers "Will Not Write an Open Check" for Defense, Says Judge

Casey Anthony Update: Taxpayers "Will Not Write an Open Check" for Defense, Says Judge
Casey Anthony with attorney Jose Baez, in court October 29. (WKMG) WKMG

ORLANDO, Fla. (CBS/WKMG) The price tag on the capital murder defense of Casey Anthony, the Florida mother accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, has started to get out of hand according to a Florida Circuit Court judge, and he's setting some new guidelines about what the state is responsible for paying.

PICTURES: Casey and Caylee Anthony, Personal Photos

Anthony was declared indigent after paying out over $200,000 dollars for her initial defense; since then the state has been footing the bill.

Judge Belvin Perry ruled Friday that the state will not be responsible for travel incurred by the newest member of Anthony's defense team, Ann Finnell, who lives in Jacksonville and must commute between there and Orlando where the trial is to take place in May, according to CBS affiliate WKMG.

This rule about paying travel costs for pro bono attorneys has already prompted two out-of-state members of Anthony's defense team to step down.

Perry did approve $500 for copies, $2,500 for a mental health professional to examine Anthony and another $2,400 for a private investigator, but cautioned the defense about using taxpayer money to follow hunches, the station reported.

"[Don't] go drilling for oil when there's no sign of oil anywhere," Perry said.

Casey Anthony Update: Taxpayers "Will Not Write an Open Check" for Defense, Says Judge
Caylee Anthony (Personal Photo) Personal Photo

The comment was partly in reference to the defense argument that it has spent a large amount of investigative manpower tracking down Texas EquuSearch volunteers who searched the area off Suburban Drive in 2008.

The defense argued that these witnesses would be important if they searched the area where Caylee was eventually found in December 2008 but they found nothing during their earlier searches, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

It was the "if" in the argument that prompted Perry to warn that "taxpayer funds do not allow you to go off on a fishing expedition," the paper reported.

All told, about $40,000 in taxpayer money has been spent on the Florida mother's defense, according to WKMG. That total includes $8,118.92 to expert witness Dr. Henry Lee, who made a name for himself when he testified in the O.J. Simpson trial, and over $11,000 in private investigator fees, according to the Sentinel.

Anthony has also cost the state about $70,000 in room and board at the Orange County Jail since she was locked up in October 2008, the paper reported.

Perry also denied a request by the defense to seal Anthony's jail records, including visitation and phone logs and commissary records, saying the records will remain public and can continue to be released. On Friday, the defense also asked to have her mail kept from public review.

Anthony is jailed on first-degree murder charges in the death of her daughter, Caylee, whose remains were found in December 2008. Caylee was 2 years old when she was reported missing by her maternal grandmother in July of that year.

Anthony has pleaded not guilty and maintains that Caylee was abducted by her babysitter. The trial is scheduled to begin in May.

Complete Coverage of the Casey Anthony Murder Case on Crimesider.