If your gag reflex is even slightly weak, prepare to do some serious barfing. State authorities have charged a Delaware pediatrician by the name of Earl Bradley, whose practice was in Kent County (Lewes to be precise), with sexually molesting 103 children. And now he’s claiming—or at least his attorneys are doing so—that the search of his office was illegal.
This is standard fare for defense attorneys, but this case is light-years from standard fare. Some of these children were as young as 3-months old and the digital images are sickening beyond description. There’s no question of his guilt and people around this state are lining up to throw away the key to his prison cell.
The article mentions his private defense team headed by Delaware attorney Eugene Maurer. Gene is one of the regions finest, not to mention, most respected criminal defense attorneys. However, he’s off the case. Since that article’s publication, Delaware’s Attorney General, Beau Biden, has frozen ALL of the good doctor’s assets. So, his defense team now consists of a couple of very competent public defenders. God, that 6th Amendment can be so inconvenient at times!
Anyway, the case has made the national news and has monopolized much of the local Delaware news for several months now. I’m including an account of it so that you’ll understand the nature of what’s going on. Just recently, though, The News Journal, Delaware’s best opportunity for unseating the king of the gossip rags, the Globe, published an article designed to infuriate most of the state’s citizenry.
The doctor’s current defense team is challenging the constitutionality of the police evidence search that uncovered the heart of the case against him: the digital image files. WOW! Talk about stirring the pot. There isn’t much chance the appeal will survive, but, hey, they have to sell newspapers somehow.
Regardless, people need to CALM DOWN! Nothing stirs emotional knee jerking like reading “between-the-lines” stuff that isn’t there, especially myriad legally baseless conclusions. It amazes me how people can claim the ability to mind-read the Founding Fathers’ intent as they were WRITING the Constitution, but seem completely baffled by what the exemptions to the Exclusionary Rule relative to the 4th Amendment provide.
In the defendant’s corner, wearing attorney garb gray are the defendant’s Constitutional rights granted by the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments. The attorneys representing the defendant will do all in their power to nit-pick the hell out of these Constitutional rights. IT’S THEIR JOB!
The 6th Amendment MAKES it their job. Not only does this Amendment grant the defendant the right to criminal defense counsel; it grants the right to EFFECTIVE counsel. And, when it turns out to be otherwise, the appeals proliferate like flies on doo-doo. As well, if the claims of ineffective counsel turn out to be substantive, all the work done to secure the original conviction goes right down the tube.
The 4th Amendment, however, contains the exclusionary rule that renders ALL evidence seized during illegal searches inadmissible in court. Illegal searches are not just warrantless searches, but searches in areas not covered by a warrant. Futile or not, his legal defense team will fulfill the dictates of the 6th Amendment in every way available to them.
In the State’s corner, wearing the garb of the people in search of justice, fairness, blah… blah… blah… is the United States Supreme Court that has, in a stunning display of wisdom, recognized several EXEMPTIONS to the exclusionary rule. I won’t list all of the precedent here, but I will list two rulings that are critical to defeating defense team motions of 4th Amendment violations.
In United States v. Leon (1984), the Court ruled that if police officers believe the search warrant they are executing is legal, if they are acting in “good faith,” then the evidence may be admitted in court even if the warrant is later discovered to be invalid on technical grounds. This will rule the day in this case. I’ll explain why below.
In Nix v. Williams (1984), the Court announced the “inevitable discovery” exception, holding that evidence will not be excluded if police can prove that they would have found it independently of the illegal search. This one may also play a role. I don’t think it will, though.
In this case, there were no legal defects with the warrant. The police exercised exemplary diligence in establishing the probable cause necessary to have a judge sign the warrant. As such, the police were acting under the reasonable assumption of a legal warrant and they were acting in “good faith.”
In order for the defense motion on the exclusionary rule to prevail here, the defense team would have to prove that the video images depict some sort of misinterpreted analysis as to the manner in which the doctor was examining those patients. The problem is that the images show, conclusively, what the doctor was doing, as well as the fact that it was sexually stimulating for him and grossly painful for the children. They show a level of perversion at its worst!
The News Journal—and not just THAT paper—wants to sell hardcopy. And, stirring emotions is ONE sure way to do it. Yes, they have reporters on staff very capable of reporting what I’m telling you here. But, the fact is that EDITORS affix the headline and adjust the stories for maximum sales impact.
Doctor Earl Bradley is a monster in the truest sense of the word. Judge Bill Carpenter is not a mindless idiot. People around here have never confused the Delaware State Police with F-Troop, the prosecutors involved with this case are not incompetents, and the defense attorneys will continue doing their level best to uphold the provisions of the 6th Amendment.
ALL the participants are doing their jobs as mandated constitutionally. And, when it’s all over, Dr. Earl Bradley, if he manages to live through all of it, will NOT be going free! Bill Carpenter, while not a typical “hanging” judge, is not at all allergic to stringing together multiple consecutive sentences whenever crimes call for it.
I understand that emotions are running sky-high relative to this matter. But, the people who don’t understand the constitutional impact of what’s taking place need to stop condemning the “JUDICIAL PROCESS;” it just makes them look silly.
This is not another O. J. Simpson case in the making as some people have suggested. In a survey to find the most hated entities on this planet, child molesters would win unanimously. Everybody hates them: young people, old people, smart people, stupid people, religious people, their own families, and every convict within the confines of the nation’s prisons. The man is not going to beat the rap.
Of course, newspapers are only going to print the negatives and that’s the reason people assume the worse. Calm down; sit back; and take a deep breath.
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.