Second Bradley appeal to be heard Aug. 15
An en banc meeting of the Delaware Supreme Court will be held on Aug. 15 in Dover. The appeal was first heard before three state Supreme Court judges on June 13. A week later, the court informed attorneys that they would hold another appeal hearing before all five of the court’s justices, with Chancellor Leo Strine sitting in for Justice Randy Holland, who recused himself.
The court declined to comment as to why Holland recused himself from the appeal hearing.
Last August, Bradley — a former Lewes pediatrician — was sentenced to 14 life sentences, plus an additional 164 years in prison, on five counts of assault in the second degree and five counts of sexual exploitation of a child resulting from incidents involving patients.
In the June 13 appeal, public defender Robert Goff argued before Justice Carolyn Berger, Justice Jack B. Jacobs and Justice Henry duPont Ridgely that the police search of Bradley’s Lewes office in 2009 — which yield a digital “thumb drive” containing child pornography — was not covered under the search warrant. He argued that the warrant had sought only medical files related to the treatment of Bradley’s alleged victims.
Goff argued that, although a 2008 search warrant had included child pornography as an item police could search for and seize, the Dec. 14, 2009, search warrant did not include child pornography, but rather only allowed police to take medical files related to the treatment of eight alleged victims.
During the search, police entered an outbuilding that was not attached to Bradley’s medical practice. That building housed a desk with a computer — to which the thumb drive was attached — along with a plethora of other items.
Goff argued that police did not have grounds to search the building, as “It did not look like a medical office. … It was filled with toys and doodads — nothing pertaining to a medical office.”
Paul Wallace, chief of appeals for the Attorney General’s Office, argued that the police made a “reasonable inference” entering the building, as it had been reported that at least one child had been carried into the building and that Bradley’s “staff pointed to Building B and said that was his workspace.”
“In reality, what they found was an office that looked like a scene out of ‘Hoarders,” Wallace explained.
In the outbuilding’s computer, police found the thumb drive upon which files existed that were discovered to contain child pornography Bradley had allegedly recorded of his patients. The files were simply labeled with dates.
“We’re talking about a doctor’s own notes, a doctor’s own records, and whether or not he’s keeping computer records as part of it. And certainly a thumb drive is something, in today’s day and age, people use,” said Wallace of such records. He said that, once police initially saw the evidence thereupon of Bradley assaulting a child, they stopped viewing it immediately, stopped the search and sought a second warrant, as is protocol.
Goff argued that the dates on the files were not reason enough to allow police to assume they were related to the former pediatrician’s medical practice.
Goff also argued that, without a clear definition of what medical files were, “Each police officer [was] able to define the warrant.” He added that the executors of the warrant did not have a list of the names of the children mentioned in the warrant and therefore could not properly know what records they were searching for.
The appeal will take place in the Dover Courthouse at 1:30 p.m.