Fayette County

Casey Anthony attorney has Kentucky roots

Defense  attorney Dorothy Clay Sims, right, listened to Casey Anthony last week during Anthony's murder trial in Orlando, Fla. Sims is  originally from  Kentucky.
Defense attorney Dorothy Clay Sims, right, listened to Casey Anthony last week during Anthony's murder trial in Orlando, Fla. Sims is originally from Kentucky. AP

There is a Kentucky connection to the just-finished Casey Anthony trial in Orlando, Fla.

Dorothy Clay Sims, a Florida lawyer who was a member of Anthony's defense team, is the daughter of the late Benham Jones Sims Jr. and Dorothy Ann Brown, both Lexington natives. Dorothy Brown, who died in 2004 at age 74, was the sister of former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. Benham J. Sims Jr. died in 2008 at age 76.

Dorothy Clay Sims was photographed holding Casey Anthony's hand as the verdicts were read, and later hugging defense attorney Jose Baez in victory. The jury acquitted Anthony on Tuesday of murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Dorothy Clay Sims' brother, Benham J. Sims III, is a former Jefferson district judge and is a lawyer in Louisville. He could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Dorothy Clay Sims and her brother grew up in Owensboro. Their father was president of the Council on Mental Retardation in Daviess County. Their mother, a native of Lexington and a graduate of the University of Kentucky, was a Head Start teacher.

The family later moved from Owensboro to Florida, and Dorothy Clay Sims graduated from the University of Florida. She went into disability law, motivated in part by the problems she saw another brother, David, face with Down syndrome, according to her Web site.

Dorothy Clay Sims was the first woman to head the worker's compensation section of the Florida Bar Association. She also practiced Social Security disability law.

Before the Anthony trial, Sims was known for cross-examining doctors and expert medical witnesses hired by the insurance industry. She is the author of a book, Exposing the Deceptive Defense Doctor.

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