Software designer behind "84 chloroform searches" in Casey Anthony trial says data was wrong


33 Responses to “Software designer behind "84 chloroform searches" in Casey Anthony trial says data was wrong”

  1. jerwin says:

    A jury does not decide whether the prosecution’s narrative is more compelling than the defense’s story. It decides whether the prosecution’s case, in the face of defense arguments (and possibly defense witnesses and defense evidence) is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defense wants to construct an alternative narrative that ties all of their arguments with a little bow, and reinforces those reasonable doubts, they have that option.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It worries me how people can be tricked into reaching conclusions about what you’re up to by seeing a list of things you supposedly search for. I use google for all sorts of things, sometimes as a spell checker, sometimes just to clarify definitions. What goes in there is so broad it is meaningless.

  3. porkchop says:

    If the prosecution ignored him, maybe he should sent it again, this time with a big fat CC: to the defense.

  4. Anonymous says:

    After further research, I find the most interesting part of this case is the way it splits the journalist community. Anyone with a law degree that ever seriously considered using it understands the decision from at least a legal perspective.

    Pure moralists, on the other hand, want to burn her at the stake.

    I mean, when Sean Hannity sounds reasonable, we have clearly entered an alternate dimension.

  5. ultranaut says:

    I managed to almost entirely avoid the “news” coverage of this trial, but I did see a few minutes of TV in an airport and this “84 chloroform searches” was heavily emphasized and gave me the strong impression that the woman on trial had engaged in nefarious activities. I don’t really know any other details about the case except a kid disappeared and her party girl mother didn’t report it immediately and then they found the kid dead and everyone says she did it. Except the jury. The whole thing seems pretty fucking weird to me, I just don’t understand why the big media businesses decide to saturate public discourse with such random and insignificant things like this trial.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Burdick and Ashton should be charged with prosecutorial misconduct!! This was NOT the first time lies were permitted during this trial by the STATE! Remember Yuri Melich getting up there and stating he “mispoke” I guess that is what the police call a lie? Then there were several of the so called “experts” that were lying about whether they were making money off of the trial as well as Georges LIES and the FBI agent who testified about the e-mail that said we did not take any pictures of the skull, but we will tell them we did? And sure enough pics showed up! With duct tape just where they wanted it! Even the defense expert said the person who took the picture placed the duct tape where they wanted it before the pic was taken…happens all the time! I am so glad the JURY saw through all the lies! The STATE thought they had this won with just showing a young girl drunk and partying after her daughter died! Obviously trying to do anything and everything to forget it all!! Much Much different than murdering a child! Baez had it right from the start. She is dam lucky to have him.

  7. shutterblog says:

    “These new findings were never presented to the jury, and the court record was not corrected.”

    Your reporting is as flawed as what you accuse the prosecution of.

    Au contraire – the defense DID introduce this issue in trial:

    Thursday, June 23, 2011: “John Bradley, the owner of a computer forensics software company, previously testified that a site about chloroform was visited 84 times on the Anthony family computer. However, on Thursday, computer forensics expert Kevin Stenger said it was that was accessed 84 times, and not the chloroform website.”

    Baez addressed this again closing arguments on July 3rd:

    Do some research and please correct your findings.

  8. AnthonyC says:

    If she had been found guilty, this fact would have been presented in an appeal. The appeals court could declare a mistrial, and then the prosecution and defense would go through everything all over again. I believe it’s likely, though *not nearly* certain enough, that flaws like this will get uncovered eventually in cases like this.

    But she wasn’t found guilty, and there’s no such thing as an appeal of a not-guilty verdict- double jeopardy and all that. If the false information had gone in the other direction- if the defense had lied- then I still say better for 100 guilty people to go free. Go after the lawyers or the prosecutor if they violated any laws during the trial, sure, but that’s it.

    • Ronald Pottol says:

      Iffy, first off, the defense would have to learn of it, and he never notified the defense. Second off, the appeal court would have to decide that it was materiel enough to matter, and they are quite fond of finding nothing is important enough to matter.

      So if she had been convicted, she likely would have been screwed.

  9. Anonymous says:

    this is the U.S. legal system at work, and you or I could be the suspect just as easily, for any number of more mundane crimes.

    Regardless of whether or not you live in the USA, or whether the US has any legal right to prosecute you.

    Signed, Manuel Noriega, on behalf of Saddam Hussein.

  10. Trixi says:

    Shocking that the prosecution and the police wouldn’t validate, and would withhold evidence from a trial. Shocking I tell you!

  11. Gulliver says:

    Xeni, I don’t see the interesting technical details. The engineer found a bug in his program, corrected the data for testimony, and the police and prosecution choose to withhold that exculpatory evidence. They broke the law, but not in any particularly novel way as far as I can see.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is typical prosecution nonsense. If Casey Anthony was found not guilty, this information would never have been released. The prosecution is hiding a great deal of abnormal issues and these issues will surface sooner than later. When everything is said and done and the prosecutions inconsistencies surface, your outlook will be different.

    This is why Jeff Ashton retired. The prosecution should prosecuted.

  13. Hank says:

    I’ve been on one jury (so you can see I’ve got an exhaustive sample set). The main impression I got from the behavior of both sides, but especially the prosecutor, was that they didn’t care to determine what actually happened. They wanted to convince me of their version of what happened. Ideally, somebody’s version and the actual events would correspond, but based on the evidence it was pretty obvious that both sides were gliding over details that would change the impression they were trying to create.

    So, 84 searches supports the story way better than 1, and they were officially told 84 that one time, so it was the number they used.

    • RebNachum says:

      The main impression I got from the behavior of both sides, but especially the prosecutor, was that they didn’t care to determine what actually happened. They wanted to convince me of their version of what happened.

      One could say that’s exactly their job — it’s the jury’s job to find out what happened.

      • momoss says:

        I respectfully disagree. The jury’s job is to decide guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or not guilty, strictly based on the admitted evidence presented and nothing more. It is not the jury’s job to determine “what happened”. They are not detectives.

  14. mccrum says:

    While I think she’s guilty as hell, I recognize that she was found innocent and I wish we’d all stop talking about her. What drives me nuts are all the people calling the jury out for being sissies and not sentencing her to death because the prosecution didn’t do their job and that they needed to convict based on their emotions instead of the evidence.

    To those people I’d like to say: Should something happen where you find yourself on the stand looking guilty as hell, may you only be judged by a jury of your peers.

    • EH says:

      How much of your sense of her guilt is based on repeated fallacies like this one?

      • mccrum says:

        Not much. More about the “Oh, she’s been kidnapped by the babysitter that doesn’t actually exist” type. All hearsay and inadmissible and showing that she was a really, really flaky mom, yes, but I haven’t seen any more plausible Occam’s-razor-beating solutions that have been presented by anyone.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So the single search she did returned 84 results, and someone took that to mean 84 searches?

    I’m thinking more evil than stupid on the part of the prosecution.

  16. Anonymous says:

    84 or 0 searches, it doesn’t sway my view. Not reporting her kid missing for more than one month, makes her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And that’s all the evidence it takes.

  17. Xeni Jardin says:

    The details of how technology was used or mis used in this trial is more interesting to me than Casey Anthony’s guilt or innocence.

    • Cowicide says:

      Casey Anthony

      Weapon of mass distraction

      I threw up in my mouth a little once I saw this insidious American distraction on Boing Boing and I have to admit I lost some respect for Dangerous Minds’ Tara McGinley when she jumped into the fray in the manner she did.

      The media is known to use “missing white woman”, etc. distractions to avoid informing the American public of real issues that actually affect them. Unfortunately, people lap it up while their own power to change their own lot in life is withering away around them.

      The details of how technology was used or mis used in this trial is more interesting to me than Casey Anthony’s guilt or innocence.

      I thank gawd you feel that way and I agree that the tech-forensics IS an interesting aspect of the case… but… nonetheless, I hope this thread dies an early, unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious death as soon as possible before I actually full-on puke on my laptop (and by proxy, boing boing). ;D

    • millie fink says:

      Indeed. But good luck trying to steer the herd.

  18. Ronald Pottol says:

    I like the scottish “not proven” third option.

    It’s not libel to call you a murderer if you were found “not proven”, but legally the same as not guilty.

    The jury believed you did it, but not strongly enough to return a guilty verdict. It would make sense in this case, at least for something other than first degree (planned the murder in advance).

    • emmdeeaych says:

      Being sort of guilty is a not a uniquely Scottish ability, but the Scottish Play was set there for a reason methinks.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Let me take a guess. The guy just scanned her history or cache for anything with the word chloroform in it. By doing this he included all the individual requests for things like CSS, images, ads, etc instead of the initial request only.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The technical details of this would be interesting, if there were any technical details in the article. Presumably his software sifts through log files at the ISP searching for traffic associated with a certain user. This seems like a very straightforward problem. If his software works at all, it really shouldn’t make this kind of error.

    So was it one website that subsequently auto-refreshed itself 83 times? Or did the page she viewed serve content from 84 separate random connections, to serve lots of ads or do web analytics, etc? You would think his software would be able to filter out this kind of behavior, but maybe not.

    Or did her isp screw up, or does it have some weird, jumbled way of logging traffic?

    Or is his forensics software really that bad?

    I’d love to find a more technical article about this.

  21. Anonymous says:

    why didn’t he notify the defense?

  22. amida says:

    I don’t understand what the NY Times article is trying to say. First it says:
    “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.”
    But then down a bit, it says:
    “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.”
    Which is it? Were the prosecutors originally alleging she visited this sci-spot site 84 times, or she searched Google for “chloroform” 84 times? Or that she did the latter and clicked through to sci-spot 84 times? If she read the same thing on the same site 84 times, what would that say? And wouldn’t this be relatively easy to figure out with an IP address and some subpoenaed logs? What did this guy’s software do? Confused.

    • Anonymous says:

      That was a problem throughout the discussion of the case for me. Parties kept using “searches” when they likely meant “visits”. There has been a study to show that many people don’t know how to enter a URL correctly and either just search for the page they want everyime the want to visit it or enter the URL as a search term and click on the first link returned.

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