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Crime The Courts Your Rights Online

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

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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  • First (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why didn't she just put the kid up for adoption?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Bitches be crazy ?
  • 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.

    • If I were to be mistakenly held in prison for life, I'd rather die painlessly.
      • Then allow life prisoners to request execution, rather than automatically execute specific people regardless of our knowing whether they're really innocent or not.

        The same should be applied to terminal patients, too. If they want to die rather than suffer a horrible end, they should have the option. We think we can condemn people we think are murderers to death, but we refuse to allow people out of needless torture at the end of their life? What a weird society we've become.

        • Re:No Death Penalty (Score:4, Interesting)

          by BrianH ( 13460 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:15AM (#42091001)

          I've always thought that this was the simplest solution to it. Keep the death penalty, but remove the power of the judiciary to apply it. A judge can sentence a killer to life in prison, but the killer has the power to decide how long that will be. They can spend the rest of their lives in a cage, or they can request execution if they want the easy way out. If you want to remove the possibility of a decision made under duress, or want to enforce a mandatory minimum punishment, just stipulate that they can't request it for 10 years or so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dachannien ( 617929 )

      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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        and why is that exactly?
      • by Alomex ( 148003 )

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

        Frankly, I think it would be morally wrong if we had captured Hitler alive and we hadn't executed him.

      • Re:No Death Penalty (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:03PM (#42088397)

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

        I'm against it because it gives the state too much power.

        I will say it's odd how a lot of people who claim to be for more limited government tend to also be for giving government the ability to end a life.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          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
        • I will say it's odd how a lot of people who claim to be for more limited government tend to also be for giving government the ability to end a life.

          People rarely decide things based on a single factor. When you characterize their decisions in terms of that single factor, you usually arrive at an incorrect assessment of their motivations. Unfortunately, it's become popular to pick the one factor which makes people with opposing viewpoints look the worst, and then boldly claim that that's their sole motiva

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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
      • Whether or not we can keep them locked up indefinately doesnt address whether it is just or not, and as for the notion of deterrent, I would just offer up these thoughts:

        According to the Humanitarian theory, to punish a man because he deserves it, and as much as he deserves, is mere revenge, and, therefore, barbarous and immoral. It is maintained that the only legitimate motives for punishing are the desire to deter others by example or to mend the criminal......
        My contention is that this doctrine, merciful though it appears, really means that each one of us, from the moment he breaks the law, is deprived of the rights of a human being.

        The reason is this. The Humanitarian theory removes from Punishment the concept of Desert.

        But the concept of Desert is the only connecting link between punishment and justice. It is only as deserved or undeserved that a sentence can be just or unjust.....There is no sense in talking about a ‘just deterrent’ or a ‘just cure’. We demand of a deterrent not whether it is just but whether it will deter. We demand of a cure not whether it is just but whether it succeeds. Thus when we cease to consider what the criminal deserves and consider only what will cure him or deter others, we have tacitly removed him from the sphere of justice altogether; instead of a person, a subject of rights, we now have a mere object, a patient, a ‘case’.

        --CS Lewis, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment []

    • The exact some logic could be used to say we should not imprison people, or punish them in any way. "Because they might be innocent".

      • 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.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )
          You can't return years for wrongful imprisonment either. Nor the pain of being punished for something you didn't do.
          • No, you're right. But things can be done to help, and they still have their life to live from that moment onward, of which they can work to piece their world back together again. Once you're dead, that's it.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      You assume that the chance of convicting an innocent man is the same as the chance of letting a guilty man run. In reality, the latter is big exactly because the justice system wants to be completely sure before convicting someone, in order to minimize the former.

    • 'Til the infallibility of human judgements shall have been proved to me, I shall demand the abolition of the penalty of death.' - Marquis de Sade.
  • by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:05PM (#42087607)
    She was found innocent, and a bunch of big media dipshits, and powerful figures are still trying to lynch her. Why? She's poor, and in all this rubble, they want one big poor villian to crucify, so they can shift the focus away.

    Part of the assault on her character includes the fact that case was concieved out of rape, something that would have every major neo-liberal "feminist" group up in arms if it was someone the system was protecting.

    I'll tell you something else. I'll contrast this to another femme fatale who got out of prison around the same time. "Amanda Knox"

    Looks like the media industry wasted no time revealing if you got money to spend on a PR campaign they could fix your broken character flaws and get murder raps thrown out.

    if its any more proof of just how biased the system is, and the system is run by hoardes of PR/advertising goons and lawyers, who seem to want nothing more than to shake you down for verbal and character protection money.

    Of course the real enemies of this system are those who can't raise enough money to pay for their services.

    Its sick, its real sick.
    • by Zouden ( 232738 )

      It doesn't matter if the media has decided she's guilty. She may actually be guilty. What makes you so certain that she's not?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cvtan ( 752695 )
      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 stevegee58 ( 1179505 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:09PM (#42087635) Journal
    "If the search didn't hit, then you must acquit."
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @01:17PM (#42087693) Homepage Journal
    Maybe she was planning some autoerotic asphyxiation and didn't know how to spell "asphyxiation!" Jeez, you people, always jumping to conclusions!
    • 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 Hentes ( 2461350 )

      You are right in that it's no proof in itself. What makes it suspicious is the timing.

      • You are right in that it's no proof in itself. What makes it suspicious is the timing.

        And even the combination of search and timing aren't proof. But that's why we have juries, whose job it is to weigh the totality of the evidence. If the jury was teetering on the edge of convicting but could find just enough doubt to call it reasonable, perhaps this bit of information would have pushed them the other direction. Or not. But it's the sort of thing that should have been presented to them.

    • You need to be very careful in using people's searches in court. As an example, I run role-playing games, some of which are set in the modern world. I've searched for all sorts of information on criminal activity.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • ObJwz: []

    That mork format was really something else. Whoever thought that having the browser history stored in an impenetrable format with no tools to read it should turn in their nerd badge.

  • Did the local newspaper actually get a copy of the hard drive?
    "Repeated requests by Local 6 beginning in 2009 for a copy of the hard drive that contained the Internet histories were denied by the state attorney's office, which claimed -- correctly, it turned out -- it did not have the data in its possession."

    This kind of request should be denied outright, not because they don't have it.

  • I've googled


    Doesn't mean I've killed a killed, raped, and videotaped the aftermath of a kid.

    I also have the old crappy anarchist cookbook, a ebook on better living through chemistry

    as well as googling how to assassinate the president and get away with it.

    also how to murder my wife in a dolcett fashion, or use ammonium nitrate and methanol to visibly protest against the city hall the raising of property taxes...

    google searches mean squat.

    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      Oh boy, how the Internet can get you trouble...

      OK, I admit to not being familiar with the term "dolcett fashion" and looked it up. Gah! I do not recommend this course of action.

      I believe it would be difficult to categorize a murder as "dolcett fashion" as this truely would be more likely a suicide, perhaps with the assistance of a lot of psychobabble and drugs. Dolcett seems to imply the willing cooperation of the participant.

      Again, I do not recommend researching this topic. If you ignore this you will

  • by Python ( 1141 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:58PM (#42088369)

    I wonder if this another case of certifications being treated as evidence of competence and experience. With the hundreds of infosec certs out there, and law enforcement agencies essentially being too ignorant to know the difference, or even to know if a certification has any value, I wonder if this happened because of incompetence disguised by a certification? Who doesn't know to look at all the browsers installed on the system? Seriously, that's such a boneheaded mistakes its frightening to think it happened.

    The follow up to this should be an investigation into the whole certification process for all digital forensics persons working on this case, and if the certification turn out to be a joke, banning them and everyone that has the cert.

  • 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 Doctor_Jest ( 688315 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @04:35PM (#42088847)

    Is for her to get into an armed robbery attempt to recover her sports memorabilia and she'll be doing time for what she deserves. :) Hope it doesn't take too long, though.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @04:49PM (#42088947)
    Damn. Must now resist urge to Google "foolproof suffocation."

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"