Warrantless Search of a Computer

Computer searches by a private person, as opposed to law enforcement, may result in admissible evidence. The “Virtual Certainty Rule” means that evidence viewed by a private person and shown to police was identical.

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“Virtual Certinanty Rule” Versus “Plain Search Doctrine”

In United States v Lichtenberger, 786 F3d 478 (6th Cir. May 20, 2015) addressed the “private search doctrine” regarding computers. Defendant’s girlfriend found child pornography on his computer and notified the police. The police came and were shown images from the defendant’s computer. At the suppression hearing, the girlfriend testified that she did not recall whether she initially showed the police officer the same pictures on the computer that she saw. The court determined that there must be “virtual certainty” that the same files the girlfriend saw were the ones the police officer saw. If that was not the case, then a warrant was required. So the judge suppressed the evidence from the search. Judges must not tolerate the warrantless search of a computer or other types of police misconduct. Overzealous police officers, special agents, and prosecutors will trample a defendant’s rights if a tough, intelligent lawyer doesn’t stand up to them.

Courts are often reluctant to change existing laws. However, there must be changes and updates as the times and technology change. An experienced attorney must review a situation to determine if a change in the current law is viable or if there was an improper, warrantless search of a computer. Creative thinking criminal defense lawyers precipitated the requirement for Miranda warnings and much of the law relative to searches and seizures.

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You need an experienced and passionate Michigan criminal defense attorney.

A commonly asked question of a criminal defense attorney is, “how can you defend someone you know is guilty?” There are several answers to that question. The first is that it does not matter what the criminal defense attorney thinks – what matters is what the judge and jury think. Every person charged with a crime deserves the most vigorous possible defense! The second and probably most important answer is that a criminal defense attorney defends the guilty to protect the innocent. As Sir William Blackstone stated in 1765, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.” It is crucial to our society that the government be kept in line and checked.

A warrantless computer search is only one example of law enforcement officers taking advantage of their power. That is the job of the criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. take that obligation very seriously. The government has overreached and overstepped many times, and criminal defense attorneys have protected citizens from the government’s wrongful actions. The work of creative and forward-thinking criminal defense attorneys results in the modification of laws to meet the needs and concerns of the general public. There is no more important job than ensuring that the government does not interfere with the life of a citizen without first meeting all the appropriate standards and requirements to do so.

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The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. come from different backgrounds and experiences, but what they all have in common is the burning desire to help people charged with criminal offenses. Their goal is to protect and defend a person’s rights and ensure that the government does not overreach. Defending people accused of felony and misdemeanor wrongdoing is a hugely important job. It entails going up against virtually unlimited resources that prosecutors routinely use to steamroll a person into a conviction. The lawyers who practice for LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are passionate about their work. The United States Constitution promises, “no one should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,” and LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. protects their client’s rights every time. If you are in legal trouble, and your rights might have been violated by a warrantless search of a computer or in any other way, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has the experience, drive, passion, and commitment to help.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

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