Thursday, April 08, 2010

Mohave County Search Warrant 2010-00020

My first observation would be, Mohave County doesn't have a lot to do, this is only the 20th search warrant in that county this year. The rest are as follows:

Though I have often observed that Matt Smith is serving as a Tool for Texas, Matt Smith is also no fool nor does he seem to be fundamentally dishonest. Right away Matt attends to good police work by taking great care to be specific as to what persons, places, devices and vehicles he is looking for, plans to search, and why. There was a long run up to this investigation, dating back to January of 2008, before YFZ and involving records stretching back to 2004. If you contrast what Smith does, to what Walther did at YFZ, she and her cohorts do indeed look like Keystone Cops led by Barney Fife.

I am of course, no lawyer, but it looks like probable cause is well established, particularly if IPODS and underwear cannot be shown to be a legitimate purchase for the fire districts. It may be that later, a legitimate cause is found. A good deal of the "evidence" that Mohave County has will probably be explained away, but it looks like he has something.

Time may also show that funds were used and replaced in an ethical but procedurally improper way, in which case no crime of any consequence was committed and what crimes did occur, may be beyond prosecution. I'm still going to say Matt HAD probable cause.*

On the other hand though, there is the probably unknowable cause of Matt's motive. Having served as a Tool for Texas before, Matt is probably answering the call of handlers yet once again, and if he were asked directly, Matt would most likely play dumb. It's safe to say without smoking gun evidence that Matt sat down in conspiratorial fashion and picked out this particular group of people for tighty whitey investigations, the warrant will stand. Matt probably could investigate every county office for similar offenses and strike oil. Since he started investigating before YFZ, you can't say he saw YFZ evidence and looked here as a result.

Matt, if he is looking for something connected to Warren's prosecution, ultimately, has picked up an investigation thread, that is clean. Maybe not as to his unknowable personal motive, but clean as to all exterior appearances. At least, that's the way it looks now.

I would expect a good attorney to howl nonetheless that YFZ (blah, blah, blah) had something to do with this raid, because if the connection can be made, maybe this warrant goes out with the bathwater too. Worth a shot. It's a really long one though.

Here's the really relevant section of the Warrant:
"It is necessary to use the appropriate software to 'open' and view the contents of each file; the file name in the directory is not a reliable indicator of the nature of its contents, especially where there may be a desire on the user's part to conceal certain records."
Or; "I'm going to look at every speck of data contained on every device."
"It is likely that any digital device seized will contain data of a non-evidentiary value belonging to both the target and third parties. This review of this non-evidentiary data will be minimized to the extent that it falls within the scope of the warrant."
Or; "I'll try not to look at stuff I wasn't looking for, according to the warrant, I promise. We both know it's going to be there though, you know, the stuff I don't know anything about, that I'd like to see, that I'm 'not looking for.' "
"Specialized computer forensic software will be utilized to narrow the files and remnants of files by employing the use of search terms and other filters to comply with the scope of the warrant. Only those files or remnants of files that appear to fall within the scope of teh warrant will be provided to the case agent for further review. In computer forensics, hashing is a way to represent a piece of digital data (i.e. a file, a folder, a logical volume, a physical volume) with a unique numerical value by applying a mathematical algorithm to the data. When applied, a hash will generate a mathematical representation to a fingerprint. Two files with exactly the same bit patterns should hash to the same value using the same hashing algorithm. Hashing tools can be utilized to help exclude non-evidentiary items such as operation system files. There will be no use of hashing tools to search for known contraband such as child pornography without specific authorization by the court by probable cause. Should evidence of other crimes be discovered in 'plain view' while conducing a lawful search of the data, further search authorization will be sought from the court."
Or; "If there is a file I'm 'not looking for' in this warrant, I won't use it's unique characteristics that I already know, to go see if it's there, and then stumble upon it 'accidentally' and say 'Aha!' For instance, if there is a picture of Merriane Jessop on the computer, like the one at YFZ, it has a "fingerprint" and I (ahem) 'won't be looking for that." Similarly, if there is a known picture of a Playboy Playmate, I won't be looking for that either. I'll just have to have a reason to look at it, and then, well, look at it."
"There is no need for the extra expense of a 'wall' and 'review team' or 'filter team' in this matter as there is no known spouse, attorney, clergy, or physician privileged materials of the target or third parties expected to be located. In the event that such materials are located, they will be segregated and not viewed by the investigators. Therefore, it is appropriate for computer forensic examiners from the Attorney General's office and/or the DPS Computer Forensics Lab at which they are assigned to forensically process these digital devices."
Or; "I don't plan to have anyone looking over my shoulder either, the rationale is that it's 'too expensive,' and I am of course, trustworthy. You can trust me. Really. The reason you know I won't be looking at the data for stuff 'I don't "know" about' is because you can trust me. Really. I'm not on a (cough) 'fishing expedition.' TRUST ME!"
"At present, your Affiant has no intention of reading any electronic mail other than that of email pertaining to the specific violations listed in this affidavit. In the course of the continuing investigation, if it appears that there is probable cause to believe that the electronic mail of the targe or of other persons may contain evidence of other offenses; further application will be made ot this court."
Or; "Really and truly we all know I'm going to scour these files for every little thing I know about, suspect or don't 'officially know about.'

If I find something I'm looking for that 'I'm not looking for,' you'll be the first to know because I'll go to court, and tell them I found it, and apply to use it."

I'd advise the FLDS to do whatever they can to stop the examination of the evidence, and apply to have their own investigators present while the data is being looked at. That way it won't cost the state that inconvenient extra expense. We all know times are tough.

The reality may be that Matt just wanted into "Jake" Barlow and David Darger's houses. The rest is just for show. Anything found in the course of the "primary" investigation may just be a bonus.

* Apparently I am no longer an "FLDS Apologist."

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1 comment:

I_hate_bigots said...

I have years of experience working with situations like these.

When dealing with government agencies, usually the lack of documentation to support the expense is enough to bring charges.

Usually there is some type of law which states the agency has to provide documentation for the expense.

If the person refuses to provide additional explanation, then if the dollar amount is large enough, charges are filed.

No raid was ever needed or computer files searched. Can you say over broad?