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Judge offers 3 reasons why alleged child porn should be tossed

| May 23, 2017 | Sex Crimes

When law enforcement or any other agent of the government performs a search or seizure that is objectively unreasonable, any evidence they obtain can be suppressed. In other words, the government can’t use tainted evidence against defendants.

If a private party does something unreasonable and obtains evidence for the prosecution, however, there usually isn’t any stain on the evidence. Unless, of course, the private party was actually in collusion with the government. Law enforcement can’t bring in third parties just to get around the Constitution.

A federal judge did find such collusion between Best Buy’s Geek Squad and the FBI, but that’s not the reason he suppressed the evidence in a child pornography prosecution recently. The FBI had also obtained a warrant by using misleading information. That also wasn’t the reason for the suppression, however.

Best Buy technicians find questionable image, forward it to the FBI

According to the ABA Journal, the man took his laptop to Best Buy, which sent it to an analysis facility in Kentucky. The federal judge in the case had previously ruled that some Best Buy technicians were acting as official sources for the FBI. Some have even received payments, according to the judge.

However, people who bring their computers in to the Geek Squad can’t have evidence against them suppressed for that reason. Why? Best Buy’s Geek Squad contracts tell you right up front that they’ll forward any child pornography they find to the FBI. They were warned.

In this case, though, the single questionable image was found in a part of the man’s computer called “unallocated space.” This is apparently an area that can’t even be accessed without special tools. It may be that this was a shadow image left after the man intentionally wiped his computer; but it could just as easily be something he wasn’t even aware of. And, considering that he brought in his computer for repair, he probably wasn’t the type who knew how to wipe a computer hard drive.

But that wasn’t what brought down the case.

The reason the image was suppressed? It wasn’t even child pornography.

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