Warrantless Search of a Computer

Computer searches by a private person, as opposed to law enforcement, may or may not result in admissible evidence. The “Virtual CertaintyRule” means that there must be a virtual certainty 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” as it relates to computers. Defendant’s girlfriend found child pornography on his computer and notified 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 showed the police officer the same pictures on the computer that she saw initially.  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 evidence from the search was suppressed.

Court’s are often reluctant to change existing law. 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. It is creative thinking criminal defense lawyers that gave us the Miranda warnings and much of the law relative to searches and seizures.

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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 that one innocent suffer.”  It is crucial to our society that the government be kept in line and in check. 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 it has been the criminal defense attorneys that have protected citizens from the government’s wrongful actions.  It is the creative and forward-thinking criminal defense attorney that has modernized our laws to meet the needs and concerns of the general public. There is no more important job then the job of making sure 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.  It is their goal to protect and defend a person’s rights and make sure 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 that practice for LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are passionate about what they do. As 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 single time.  If you are in legal trouble, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has the experience, drive, passion, and commitment to help.

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