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Murder retrial ordered after court records destroyed by virus


A convicted murderer has had his appeal for a retrial granted after the record of his trial, stored by the court stenographer, was apparently destroyed by a malware infection.

The convicted party, Randy Chaviano, 26, appealed against his 2009 conviction in a Florida court for shooting Charles Acosta during an alleged drug deal and when the Appeal Court discovered that almost no records of the trial still existed and the judge had no choice but to annul the conviction and order a retrial., the judge the struck down the conviction and ordered a retrial.

The court stenographer, present in 2009, was responsible for recording the minutes of trial but had accidentally deleted the manually taken primary records, and then to compound the issue, the electronic backup stored at a PC was also destroyed by malware.

“The overturning of a murder conviction always means terrible pain for the victim’s family and frustration for prosecutors and police officers,” Ed Griffith of the Miami-Dade Attorney’s Office was reported as saying.

“Overturning a murder conviction because of a court reporter’s problem creates a brand new level of pain and frustration,” he said.

Although data can be recovered from damaged or infected harddrives, authorities and specialised services have been unable to extract the necessary information.

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