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Search For "Foolproof Suffocation" Missed In Casey Anthony Case 379

Posted by samzenpus
from the day-late-and-a-dollar-short dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Orlando Sentinel reports that a google search was made for the term 'foolproof suffocation' on the Anthony family's computer the day Casey Anthony's 2-year-old daughter Caylee was last seen alive by her family — a search that did not surface at Casey Anthony's trial for first degree murder. In the notorious 31 days which followed, Casey Anthony repeatedly lied about her and her daughter's whereabouts and at Anthony's trial, her defense attorney argued that her daughter drowned accidentally in the family's pool. Anthony was acquitted on all major charges in her daughter's death, including murder. Though computer searches were a key issue at Anthony's murder trial, the term 'foolproof suffocation' never came up. 'Our investigation reveals the person most likely at the computer was Casey Anthony,' says investigative reporter Tony Pipitone. Lead sheriff's Investigator Yuri Melich sent prosecutors a spreadsheet that contained less than 2 percent of the computer's Internet activity that day and included only Internet data from the computer's Internet Explorer browser – one Casey Anthony apparently stopped using months earlier — and failed to list 1,247 entries recorded on the Mozilla Firefox browser that day — including the search for 'foolproof suffocation.' Prosecutor Jeff Ashton said in a statement to WKMG that it's 'a shame we didn't have it. (It would have) put the accidental death claim in serious question.'"
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Search For "Foolproof Suffocation" Missed In Casey Anthony Case

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  • No Death Penalty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:03PM (#42087595) Homepage Journal

    In this case the prosecutors and justice system were incompetent to prove this person was the killer.

    In other cases they're incompetent to tell that the prosecutors and justice system have failed to prove the person was the killer.

    When we execute convicted people there is no chance to catch the errors that are executing people who are not guilty. Not guilty people are killed because the system isn't adequate to execute only the guilty.

    We shouldn't execute people, because we're not really sure that we're killing someone who's guilty.

  • Re:First (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:05PM (#42087605)
    Bitches be crazy ?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:15PM (#42087677)

    Easy to answer. Cases are closed after execution and cannot be opened again, so no person is exonerated after execution.

    However, the fact that 130 people have been exonerated while awaiting their death should give you a good estimate.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:18PM (#42087703)

    Could you please link to a single person who was exonerated after being executed in the U.S. in the last 20 years or so (when DNA evidence became popular)? Thanks!

    This is not a fair request. When DNA analysis of evidence first became available, many executed people were posthumously exonerated. This doesn't happen anymore because, obviously, we do the DNA analysis before their conviction. So you are implying that "now the system is perfect and we don't execute innocent people anymore", but I think a better interpretation is that "the system is deeply flawed, and the emergence of DNA evidence just exposed some of those flaws." For most criminal cases DNA evidence plays no role, and there is no reason to believe those people are less likely to be innocent.

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:22PM (#42087727)

    We shouldn't execute people, because we're not really sure that we're killing someone who's guilty.

    Maybe we shouldn't execute people because it's wrong.

  • by dwye (1127395) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:25PM (#42087743)

    Bad example, but still proves the point. This datum of a search would not be enough to shift someone from not guilty by reason that I am not sure to absolutely guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. This WOULD be worth something in a Wrongful Death lawsuit, where the standard is merely the preponderence of evidence, but no one has standing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:25PM (#42087747)

    What is the /. interest in this story? It already kinda disgusting how these local crime stories dominate the national media, but now that the case is over with double-jeopardy attached, it appears on /. just because a search term was involved? Big whoop.

  • by bugs2squash (1132591) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:26PM (#42087749)
    No, we shouldn't kill people because we're perfectly capable of keeping them locked up indefinitely. If we were some tinpot nation with no means to do so then execution or outsourcing the incarceration would be more of a necessity, but we're not, we're the most powerful nation on earth, so there's no need. I personally don't believe in capital punishment as a deterrent (it's not why I choose not to kill people at least) and so that really only leaves revenge. Maybe I'd think about it differently if someone killed my kids, but it does not seem like a good enough reason to keep execution on the books.
  • by guises (2423402) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:32PM (#42087785)

    She may actually be guilty.

    No, she's innocent. She wasn't proven guilty. Why is this so hard to understand?

  • by guises (2423402) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:35PM (#42087807)

    There is no statement about the innocence of the person.

    Yes, there is. A person is presumed innocent until the jury finds a guilty verdict, an acquittal is simply a confirmation of this assumption.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:43PM (#42087861)

    Your guilt or innocence is a matter of fact, not opinion. You either killed someone or you didn't. No arbitrary number of people sitting on a stand can change reality.

  • by cvtan (752695) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:46PM (#42087883)
    Keep in mind that the jury does not find anyone innocent. They get to say guilty or not guilty; there is no innocent. Not guilty does not mean innocent.
  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:50PM (#42087909) Homepage Journal

    She may actually be guilty.

    No, she's innocent. She wasn't proven guilty. Why is this so hard to understand?

    Acquittal != innocence.

    Similarly, conviction != guilt.

    The goal of the system is to approximate accuracy, with a strong bias towards acquittal where the situation is in doubt. Hopefully, you can assume that a conviction is a very strong indicator of guilt, but you can't assume that an acquittal indicates innocence.

  • by flimflammer (956759) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:52PM (#42087917)

    But that would be taking the argument too far. The world isn't black and white. Death is the ultimate punishment. You can't make up for taking someone's life once they're already dead.

  •     No, it's that Slashdot has gone the way of all other mainstream media. If it involves any piece of technology, it falls into that mysterious "tech" category. Oohh, high tech, they used not one but *two* browsers. Someone in the house searched that intertube thing for something. They even used it to send private messages like "what r u up 2?" She must have been conspiring with the illumanti to distract from [some other bigger BS conspiracy]. It's the NWO washing your brain...

        I'm sorry, I can't continue. It's hard to lower myself to that level of stupidity. It hurts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:00PM (#42087963)

    She's innocent - just like OJ.

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:03PM (#42087985) Homepage Journal

    You could have just said "No, I can't name a single person who has been wrongfully executed recently."

    The statement is meaningless.

    Lack of knowledge of error says nothing about lack of error -- it just means we don't know we're screwing up. More precisely, we do know we're screwing up... we just don't know which verdicts are wrong. Perhaps new technologies will edge us a little closer, but it's likely there will always be room for mistakes.

    FWIW, I'm not particularly bothered by the death penalty. I think there are people who are beyond any hope of rehabilitation, who should never be allowed to be free, and I don't see the point in paying to keep them locked up for decades, so we might as well kill them. But the existence of errors in the process is inevitable, and the fact that there is no possibility of recourse after execution is a valid point, as is the fact that, at least the way we do it, it's arguably cheaper to lock them up until they die of natural causes than it is to kill them.

  • by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me&hotmail,com> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:03PM (#42087987) Homepage Journal

    DNA isn't the be all end all for a conviction either. It's quite possible to find DNA at a crime scene and NOT have it belong to a killer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_of_Heilbronn [wikipedia.org]

    We have to be very careful about being lazy when a new tool is introduced as it very well may NOT prove what we think it does. Investigation still has to be done by investigators that have a clue. Sadly it looks like they used an amateur for this investigation.

    Frankly, the fact that they failed to recognize more than one browser was on this machine and in use is criminal in and of itself. Whoever did the forensic examination of this machine was an idiot and ought to be fired! they could easily have imaged the workstation, run the image, and explored it to figure out what was and wasn't in use. This could just as easily have been evidence to exonerate someone that was missed, this is disgusting!

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:10PM (#42088063) Journal
    So the sanctity of life rests on COST??????? Fuck you.
  • by guises (2423402) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:37PM (#42088229)
    There's something that a lot of people in this thread seem to be missing. You, as many people here, are equating guilt and innocence with "something which did or did not happen" and this is not the way the system works. Guilt and innocence are not provable facts in the rigorous sense and, as such, are not facts at all in the way that a person commonly thinks of that term.

    The jurors' official roles in court are as the "finders of fact." The system operates under the necessary assumption that the jurors are correct when they find someone to be not guilty, not because the jurors are always right but because operating under this assumption is the only way to hold a real trial where an accused person who hasn't committed a crime can walk away at the end.

    The important thing here is that this does not end in the courtroom, the assumption of innocence is a sadly neglected obligation that the population holds as well. Our justice system relies on the idea that a person can be tried and found not guilty and be unharmed by the process. This can only happen if that person's friends and neighbors hold to the presumption of innocence just as the court does. Unfortunately the media circumvents this, and for that reason reporting on pending court cases is banned or partially banned in many countries.
  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:46PM (#42088299) Homepage Journal
    Tut-tut. The law says she wasn't found guilty. The law can't say whether or not she really is guilty. I assume you haven't taken any statistics courses.
  • by Rhywden (1940872) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:49PM (#42088309)

    You could also make the argument that forcing him to watch his "1000 year dominion" crumble to dust in a matter of decades would also be plenty of punishment.

  • by Rhywden (1940872) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:51PM (#42088329)
    Right. Let's get rid of those "due process" shenanigans while we're at it. Death penalty is heavily biased anyway, so might as well admit to it and summarily execute people regardless of their actual guilt!
  • by Calydor (739835) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:03PM (#42088401)

    Why?

    Lock him up for life, no chance of parole, and have every last guard in the jail be Jewish. Not for them to take revenge, but simply so that every moment of his life behind bars would be at the whim of those he sought to wipe out. Poetic justice is the best kind.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @04:10PM (#42088727) Homepage

    Back before cars had emission controls there was a class of people known as "shadetree mechanics" that could actually fix a car without knowing much about what they were doing. No formal or even informal training, but they got by because of simplicity of the engines at the time. I know of someone in the computer forensics business that rails against "shadetree forensics" because it will be the downfall of computer forensic examination as a whole.

    Someone I know in the FBI has rather strong words about pushbutton forensics where if you click the right button you get an answer. Maybe not the right answer, but something to put in a report. In some ways, computer forensics tools are moving in that direction with more and more automation and less and less understanding. When it takes several weeks of intensive training to understand a tool it does in some ways open the doors to this sort of use.

    What we have here is very simply a case of pushbutton forensics. The examiner failed to conduct a proper examination of the computer and was misled by getting some easy results. These easy results were put in a report and passed on. Nobody ever questioned the examiner about what he or she might have missed - like the simple and obvious question of "What about alternative browsers?"

    This is altogether too common today. Yes, there is a lot of training out there for people and there are various certifications, but none of it means the person doing the examination is actually performing an examinations or just pushing buttons to see what pops out. No, the certifications are not a joke and it takes a lot of effort to get certified. Unfortunately, there is little followup once someone is certified it is just assumed that they know what they are doing and how to perform a correct examination.

    In defense of examiners I must say they all have huge backlogs and the pressure to deliver a report quickly is incredible. But that doesn't excuse being sloppy and at its core pushbutton forensics is just being sloppy.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Sunday November 25, 2012 @04:21PM (#42088797) Homepage Journal

    Looking it at from a different perspective, by executing people we may be simply pressing a reset button and pushing them around a big circle so they get another chance to learn from their mistakes, a chance that continuing on the same course - their current life - does not allow them.

    You're using imaginary thinking to justify killing people? #nohopeforhumanity

  • by kqs (1038910) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @04:28PM (#42088821)

    That plus the possibility that we might be wrong.

    And trials are 100% correct, except for the we're wrong.

    If the number of death penalty cases which have been overturned (long after conviction) doesn't bother you, then you have an incredible trust of the government. The problem isn't the number overturned, it's the number which should have been overturned. If we're so often wrong at the initial trial, we're also wrong later.

  • Re:First (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @05:29PM (#42089165)

    feeling

    You are assuming something for which there is little evidence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:26PM (#42089443)

    You're right, we should just kill them and make sure we don't get a chance to find them innocent.

    Your logic is awesome.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:54PM (#42089557)

    We're talking about people who've given up their right to life.

    Some of us believe that no one ever gives up that right. Governments should never, ever, be given the authority to kill their citizens.

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @07:42PM (#42089769) Homepage Journal

    Meanwhile, the US having more people in jail than any other means any errors of conviction without guilt are exaggerated.

    No, it means we criminalize a bunch of stuff that shouldn't be criminalized.

  • by satcomjimmy (1228562) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @08:15PM (#42089875)
    The state should be no more than a representative of the population, if the people in that state believe it is better to put down a rabid dog, or a serial rapist or a murdering mother, than it is not the state asserting power. It is the people stating that they believe there are things and people that are not capable of rehabilitation and not worth keeping alive indefinitely. If you actively catch someone in the act of murder and can justify killing them to save a life, then why is it so reprehensible for a jury to later point out that the same murderer has no right to further life?
  • Re:First (Score:4, Insightful)

    by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Monday November 26, 2012 @01:32AM (#42091297)

    In many species, including chimpanzees, when a male takes over leadership, it is common for him to kill infants because they are not his.

    What is irrational about killing someone else's unborn baby, and the traitorous mother bearing it, and leaving your own 4 year old child alive? It may be insane, it's certainly not very nice, but I don't see anything irrational about it, if the stabber is thinking only of propagating his own seed.

    Just because behavior violates every norm of civilization doesn't make it irrational.

    If someone is insane and thinks everyone is spying on him, it may be entirely rational to kill a bunch of them.

    If someone thinks a comet is an alien spaceship come to take away true believers, it may be entirely rational to kill oneself as an act of volunteering to travel with the aliens.

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