Jose Baez, a high school dropout, joined the U.S. Navy in 1986. He spent three years assigned in connection with NATO at Norfolk, Virginia, trained as an intelligence analyst, and held a Top Secret security clearance.
After leaving the navy, he graduated from Florida State University with a BA. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Saint Thomas University School of Law in 1997.
After being granted his license by the Florida Bar, Baez focused primarily on criminal defense cases. He gained significant national attention when he took on the case of Casey Anthony who was accused of her daughter’s murder. Time Magazine dubbed it ‘The Social Media Trial of the Century”. Anthony was acquitted of the murder after a six-week trial and Baez appeared on every major news network and show nationwide. He co-authored a book, Presumed Guilty, about the case. It was published in 2012 and became a New York Times Best Seller.
In the following year, Baez was in the news again with a unique brief when he took on the defense of a 12-year-old, accused of cyber-bullying Rebecca Sedwick, who committed suicide purportedly because of Baez’s client. It was the first ever arrest of a suspect accused of cyber-bullying and the media was all over it, especially when Baez and the Polk County Sheriff got into a war of words after the latter released the juveniles’ names and photographs. All charges against Baez’s client were eventually dropped.
Joes Baez Original painting 2020. In collection of the artist Trevor Goring.
Brain injuries and the National Football League have long been a somewhat nervous if not shadowy issue. On September 21, 2017, Baez announced that the New England Patriots’ player, Aaron Hernandez, had been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) by Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University. Hernandez had committed suicide in April of the same year. (Post mortem, he was found to have an advanced stage of CTE.) Baez’s federal lawsuit alleged that the NFL and the team were aware of the dangers of repeated head injuries but had not shared the information with Hernandez. He was seeking unspecified damages, on behalf of Fernandez’s daughter, from New England Patriots and the NFL. Baez dropped the suit against the Patriots and NFL but quickly refiled a new one against the NFL that also included the football helmet manufacturer Riddell. He has also written a book, Unnecessary Roughness, about the case.
Often representing celebrities and athletes, many of whom prefer anonymity, Baez’s knowledge and experience with the media serves his clients well. Few lawyers understand the importance of media relations and its inner workings in handling sensitive and high profile cases as Jose Baez.
With hundreds of hours of training in forensic science, DNA, Blood Pattern Analysis, trace recovery, forensic pathology, and entomology, just to name a few Baez is also a highly sought-after speaker and lecturer teaching trial techniques at Harvard Law School, one of the university's most popular courses. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese he is extremely supportive of charitable work in the Hispanic community. Baez was the attorney for Harvey Weinstein until they parted ways and is a member of Investigating Innocence, the non-profit, wrongful conviction advocacy organization that provides criminal defense investigations for inmates in the United States. His approach to his work and defending his clients can be summed up in his statement:
Mister or Madam Prosecutor, in order for you to convict my client, you are going to be in for the fight of your life.