Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

Internet

February 3, 2005

Tainted Porn

Procedural problems in prosecuting with pictures.

Gnuts

Prosecutors in Arkansas dropped a case against a man accused of possessing child pornography after all of the evidence in the case was ruled inadmissible, according to an article in the local paper, the Times Record.

In violation of state law, prosecutors examined the suspect's computer directly, instead of a backup of the hard drive, which they failed to create. All of the images—allegedly more than a thousand—were ruled inadmissible when a forensic computer expert showed that others had accessed the computer besides the suspect.

There were still CDs confiscated from the suspect's house that allegedly contained more sexually explicit images of minors, but the sheriff's office lost them. Or, to be more precise, they returned them to the suspect by mistake. "Basically, all of our evidence was given back or improperly examined, which tainted it," prosecuting attorney Mark McCune said. "So we don't have any evidence."

Nontheless, the Time Record had no compunction about printing the suspect's name, age, general location, and tons of detail about the alleged crime.







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