Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Brad Cooper: WRAL report on today's appeal court hearing; Whether judge should have permitted defence to call a witness to testify as an expert on Google map evidence was very much in issue;

GIST: The North Carolina Court of Appeals heard oral arguments for about an hour Tuesday morning in the high-profile case of a Cary man serving life in prison for strangling his wife and dumping her body in an unfinished housing development nearly five years ago......... The judge ruled that two witnesses the defense presented to support their argument, however, could not testify. Jay Ward was a network security professional but was found by the trial court not to be qualified as a forensics computer analyst. Giovanni Masucci wasn't allowed, partly because the judge found that his name was not on a potential witness list, as required by law. "The defendant has a constitutional right to present his defense," appellate attorney Ann Peterson told the panel of judges. "The Google Maps (evidence) was his defense. Mr. Ward or Mr. Massuci was his defense, and the jury heard none of it."
The judges' questioning focused partly on the definition of a forensics computer analyst. "Jay Ward specifically said he was not one," Assistant Attorney General Latoya Powell, said, noting that Ward also admitted that he had no training to use any of the forensic tools he had borrowed to work on the Cooper case. Peterson argued, however, that even though he didn't hold the title of a forensics examiner, his career expertise qualified him to explain the data and results to the jury. She likened the situation to a medical examiner testifying about bullet wounds. "He's not a ballistics expert, but he gets to testify because he sees it all the time, He works with it all the time, and his knowledge is better than the jurors," she said. "There's no question that Mr. Ward was not certified, but he had worked with that data for 20 years. He knew those computers inside and out. He was the super-expert, and he wasn't allowed to testify."......... The jury foreman said a month after the trial that the map evidence "drove the outcome" of the case and caused "a lot of the other circumstantial evidence to become relevant and credible." Brad Cooper's defense attorney, Howard Kurtz has said he is hopeful for an appeal and believes "we have a tremendously good chance." As for Brad Cooper, he awaits an appellate decision – which could be rendered in the next three months – at Central Prison in Raleigh, where he has been since his conviction, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety."

The entire story can be found at:


News Observer report: "In the hearing on Tuesday, three appeals court judges spent an hour listening to arguments and asking questions of their own. They asked what should classify someone as an “expert.” Attorneys representing the state disputed the claims that Cooper’s defense was weakened by the rulings. They contend the computer evidence was seized legally and that Cooper could have called others to testify to raise doubt about the evidence. They also argued that there was an overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence that would have led the jury to the same verdict."

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/09/2813257/nc-appeals-court-hears-arguments.html#storylink=cpy



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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:


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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.