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The Computer Ate the Evidence- Sangamon County Jail

The credibility of employees at the Sangamon County jail has been questioned by attorneys for the estate of Amon Paul Carlock, who died after a struggle with jailers in 2007. In addition, emails that might have pertained to Carlock have been destroyed.

During a three-day hearing that ended last week, county employees who maintain the system testified that emails were automatically deleted after six months, and they didn’t know that emails generated by jail staff were supposed to be preserved as evidence in a lawsuit filed by Carlock’s widow.

At the conclusion of the hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Sue E. Myerscough said that she was inclined to believe that ignorance, not bad faith, explained why emails were destroyed.
If Myerscough ultimately rules that emails were erased in bad faith, a jury, once a trial begins, could be instructed that missing data must be assumed detrimental to the county’s position.

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