This past week, it was announced to the public by Casey Anthony’s defense team that Florida’s Ann E. Finnell had joined them, the latest death-qualified defense attorney to represent the young woman accused of murdering her toddler-daughter, Caylee Marie

This news comes on the heels of Professor Andrea Lyon withdrawing from the case in late June 2010. 

Ms. Finnell’s efforts will focus upon the penalty phase of the trial, currently set for May 2011.  This, of course, means that Ann Finnell will take a lead role only when, and if, Casey Anthony is found guilty during the initial guilt or innocence phase of the trial.  (For the legal qualifications to serve as a death-qualified attorney under Florida law, read our earlier post.)

Personally, I don’t know Ann Finnell but I’ve heard lots of great things about her — she’s known to be a fighter, a true believer, and a very good death penalty attorney.  As the first death-qualified attorney on the Casey Anthony case, I do know a bit about the representation that Ms. Finnell has just undertaken, however. 

And, as I did before with Professor Andrea Lyon, I wish my colleague Ann Finnell all the best in this important work.