Law professor says accused Delaware pediatrician avoids bias, prejudice of jury

Earl Bradley’s case will not be heard by a jury, which could help him avoid the bias of jurors in the highly publicized sexual abuse case.

Bradley was at the New Castle County Courthouse on Monday, telling Judge William Carpenter that he wanted a bench trial instead of a jury trial.  

Professor Tom Reed, Professor Emeritus at Widener University School of Law says, “Bias and prejudice in this case, I’m afraid, would have been a real problem for the defendant on a jury trial, so I think that’s why they asked for a bench trial.”  He says it would have been difficult for jurors to follow instructions from the judge to wait until hearing all the evidence before making a decision, especially “given the widespread publicity and the types of crimes with which the doctor is charged.”  Reed says, “The other side of the coin is, the judge is- at least in theory- more likely to dispassionately weigh the pros and cons conviction then say a jury might in this case.”

Avoiding a jury trial will also likely speed up the process, avoiding the drawn out jury selection process.  Reed says a quicker trial may be exactly what Bradley’s defense team wants.  “I am thinking, and I may not be correct in this, that the defense team wants to have a trial before a judge so they can quickly get to the issue that hasn’t been decided yet in this case, and that’s the legality of the search at Dr. Bradley’s office.”  Judge Carpenter has already ruled that the search result will be allowed to be admitted during the trial, so the defense may be eager to appeal that decision following the trial.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal