03 Jan 2012

Computer virus forces murder trial to restart

A Miami-Dade County court stenographer's computer was recently attacked by a virus, which completely erased notes from a murder trial, thereby forcing the restart of the trial, according to sources.

Randy Chaviano, 26, of Hialeah, Florida, was convicted of murder in July 2009, but now will get another trial because of the computer virus.

“The overturning of a murder conviction always means terrible pain for the victim’s family and frustration for prosecutors and police officers,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney’s spokesman Ed Griffith. “Overturning a murder conviction because of a court reporter’s problem creates a brand new level of pain and frustration.”

Chaviano had appealed the conviction, but due to the lack of transcripts the Third District Court of Appeals said he would get a new trail in front of a jury. Court reporter Terlesa Cowart was fired from her firm Goldman, Naccarato, Patterson and Associates, according to the Miami Herald. She allegedly did not bring enough rolls of paper for her machine and had to store it on her computer, which was then affected by a virus.

Individuals who store valuable information on their laptops or desktop computers should make sure to have the latest antivirus software installed in order to better protect themselves from malicious viruses and cyber attacks.