Bradley appeal heard before Delaware Supreme Court
Last week, the Delaware Supreme Court heard for the second time the appeal of former Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley.
In June, a three-judge panel heard the appeal; however, they could not come to a unanimous decision and called for an en banc hearing most of the Supreme Court justices.
Bradley, who was convicted last August of five counts of assault in the second degree and five counts of sexual exploitation of a child, was sentenced to 14 life sentences, plus an additional 164 years in prison, on those charges.
In his appeal, public defender Robert Goff argued that the police conducting the initial search of Bradley’s Lewes office did not stay within the “four corners” of the warrant when they searched an outbuilding that contained a computer and thumb drive.
“The police and law enforcement committed a bait-and-switch on the administrating magistrate,” Goff said.
He stated that the thumb drive recovered from the outbuilding behind Baybee’s Pediatrics was not covered under the warrant and therefore was inadmissible.
“‘Bait-and-switch’ is pretty strong language,” said Chancellor Leo Strine, who sat in for recused Justice Randy Holland.
Chief Justice Myron T. Steele said that the warrant covered the business’s “place.”
“How do we interpret ‘place?’” he asked. “If you take that old Southern reference to the ‘home place,’ it doesn’t just mean the home.”
Deputy Attorney General Paul Wallace said that the defense had never argued probable cause but rather whether or not the business practice included the multiple buildings surrounding the main office.
“What would you call it, if not his office?” asked Wallace of Building B, adding both that Bradley’s staff referred to the building as his office space and that the parent of a patient had seen Bradley carrying a child toward the building.
Wallace added that Building B was indeed the building for which the warrant was intended.
“The description that it was a checkerboard building starts and ends at [the defense’s] table. They’re the only ones who have ever called it that,” said Wallace, adding that “Building B” was indeed the bite outbuilding mentioned in the warrant.
He emphasized in an effort to “clarify” that police weren’t “simply rummaging,” that as soon as questionable evidence was found on a thumb drive, the search of the property was halted while police sought to clarify the legality of obtaining the files.
No date for judgment in the appeal has been set.