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Major Error in the Casey Anthony Trial



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One of the themes the media pounced on during this circus was the number of times Casey Antony allegedly searched for the word “chloroform” on the internet prior to her daughter’s disappearance. Prosecutors declared at trial that she had performed this search 87 times, and this became part of the media narrative as to why she was guilty. Turns out, she had only searched for “chloroform” once. And what’s worse, the prosecution knew this:

MIAMI — Assertions by the prosecution that Casey Anthony conducted extensive computer searches on the word “chloroform” were based on inaccurate data, a software designer who testified at the trial said Monday.

The designer, John Bradley, said Ms. Anthony had visited what the prosecution said was a crucial Web site only once, not 84 times, as prosecutors had asserted. He came to that conclusion after redesigning his software, and immediately alerted prosecutors and the police about the mistake, he said.

The finding of 84 visits was used repeatedly during the trial to suggest that Ms. Anthony had planned to murder her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, who was found dead in 2008. Ms. Anthony, who could have faced the death penalty, was acquitted of the killing on July 5.

According to Mr. Bradley, chief software developer of CacheBack, used by the police to verify the computer searches, the term “chloroform” was searched once through Google. The Google search then led to a Web site, sci-spot.com, that was visited only once, Mr. Bradley added. The Web site offered information on the use of chloroform in the 1800s.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office had used the software to validate its finding that Ms. Anthony had searched for information about chloroform 84 times, a conclusion that Mr. Bradley says turned out to be wrong. Mr. Bradley said he immediately alerted a prosecutor, Linda Drane Burdick, and Sgt. Kevin Stenger of the Sheriff’s Office in late June through e-mail and by telephone to tell them of his new findings. Mr. Bradley said he conducted a second analysis after discovering discrepancies that were never brought to his attention by prosecutors or the police.

Mr. Bradley’s findings were not presented to the jury and the record was never corrected, he said. Prosecutors are required to reveal all information that is exculpatory to the defense.

“I gave the police everything they needed to present a new report,” Mr. Bradley said. “I did the work myself and copied out the entire database in a spreadsheet to make sure there was no issue of accessibility to the data.”

Mr. Bradley, chief executive of Siquest, a Canadian company, said he even volunteered to fly to Orlando at his own expense to show them the findings.

Cheney Mason, one of Ms. Anthony’s defense lawyers, said it was “outrageous” that prosecutors withheld critical information on the “chloroform” searches.

“The prosecution is absolutely obligated to bring forth to the court any and all evidence that could be exculpatory,” Mr. Mason said. “If in fact this is true, and the prosecution concealed this new information, it is more than shame on them. It is outrageous.”

“This was a major part of their case,” Mr. Mason added.

The State Attorney’s Office in Orlando did not return messages seeking comment.

Not only were these prosecutors incompetent, their behavior looks to be unethical. Enjoy the civil suit, fellas.



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