Although Casey Anthony’s trial is over, the drama surrounding it is far from over. New information from the forensics computer data analyst who testified at the Casey Anthony trial now reveals that he advised the prosecutors during the trial that incorrect evidence was presented at trial on the computer search of the word “chloroform”. Instead of the 84 times that the prosecution alleged the word was searched, the forensics analyst later advised them their data analysis was completely wrong. It was searched only one time and that was to a reference of use in the 1800’s. Her mother testified at trial that she conducted the search.
John Bradley offered to fly back to Orlando at his own expense to correct the error at trial which was crucial to the defense but devastating to the prosecutor’s case. Bradley, a former police sergeant and now forensic computer data analyzer, analyzed Casey Anthony’s computer and came up with data on the word “chloroform”. At trial, the proseuction made mention of the allegedly 84 times she searched for “chloroform” but never made mention of their mistake to the judge, jury or her defense team.
A prosecutor is held to a high standard to provide any evidence to the defense which may negate the guilt of the defendant. It’s not a matter of hide and seek. It’s the law and ethical standard by which the prosecutor is bound by. In many cases, many persons distrust the prosecutor and the police for these very reasons. Many persons believe they do not play by the rules. And this may be yet another instance of the prosecutors not playing by the rules. The sanctions for this if found out during the trial is a mistrial. Because Casey Anthony was found not guilty, there is no need for a mistrial or new trial. But, there may be need for sanctions assessed against the government. Perhaps, this is why one of the prosecutors resigned after the case.
And it’s not the first time this has happened in a high profile case. In the high profile case against Senator Ted Stevens, the government withheld evidence that might have negated the guilt of Senator Stevens, who was found guilty at a trial. Later, the charges were dropped and Attorney General Eric Holder declined to bring a new trial due to the degree of prosecutorial misconduct and withholding of evidence by his office.
And in the most recent potential lapse of ethics by prosecutors, Politico has learned that ethics lapses may have arisen during the investigations of Reps. Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel, of such magnitude to justify dismissing the case against Waters. Rep. Rangel was censored previously. A former staff director for the House Ethics Committee alleges 2 attorneys improperly shared evidence with Republicans on the committee–a move that “would have so tainted the proceedings that there would have been no option but to move to dismiss.” The Ethics Committee places strict rules against sharing of evidence since committee members act as prosecutors and lawmakers act as the jury. So, it’s like showing the evidence to the jury before the trial begins.
An ethics committee could still sanction the Casey Anthony prosecutors, if it believes the allegations. At least an investigation into the allegations should be initiated. And it should not matter that Casey Anthony was found not guilty. The record should be made clear which apparently was not done at trial, despite her acquittal.
To read the complete details, see the New York Times article.
Debbie Hines is a legal and political commentator and former prosecutor who has tried murder cases. She also writes for the Huffington Post and can be seen frequently in the media. She founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on race, law and gender issues.