Evidence from Warrantless Computer Search Correctly Suppressed
Most people understand that for the most part, a warrant is required if the police want to search your belongings. Like you’ve seen on movies and television, the police often need to possess a warrant in order to enter your home, search your car, or examine your belongings. This isn’t always the case, of course, but in the great majority of instances a warrant has to come before the search.
When police officers fail to acquire a warrant the evidence they retrieve can sometimes be suppressed in court. Take, for example, this recent ruling out of the Michigan Supreme Court: a man charged with the possession of child pornography had the evidenced suppressed in court due to the sheriff who searched the computer failing to obtain a search warrant. His criminal defense attorney in Michigan successfully lobbied the court to remove the evidence from the proceedings.
The defendant dropped his computer off for repair at a local Best Buy store. The technician working at the store noticed file names he suspected to be child pornography and contacted the police. Police then came down to the Best Buy and asked the technician to open the files. While pornography involving minors was indeed discovered on the defendant’s computer, at no point did the responding police officers attempt to get a warrant to search those files. Thus, any evidence acquired during that search is not eligible for review in court.
The original court that saw the case elected to suppress the evidence pulled from the computer due to the lack of a warrant. When this decision was challenged (all the way to the Supreme Court), it was upheld. This is one reason enlisting a criminal defense attorney in Michigan is so immensely critical — you must be made aware of any lapses in the law committed by arresting officers or officers on the scene.
If you find yourself in similar circumstances or are seeking a reputable and experienced criminal defense attorney in Michigan, contact The Law Office of Attorney Peter J. Johnson at 269.982.1100 or visit www.attorneypeterjohnson.com for more information.