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District Attorney Critiques Gizmodo Emails In iPhone 4 Prototype Case

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the stay-classy dept.

Government 155

lee1 writes "After the police broke in to a Gizmodo editor's home and collected emails from computers found there as part of the investigation of the stolen 2010 iPhone prototype, the San Mateo District Attorney's office petitioned the court to withdraw the search warrant, because it violated a law intended to protect journalists. Nevertheless, the DA, rather than apologize for the illegal search and seizure, issued a critique of the seized emails, commenting that they were 'juvenile' and that 'It was obvious that they were angry with the company about not being invited to ... some big Apple event. ... this is like 15-year-old children talking.''"

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155 comments

First post! (3, Funny)

prxp (1023979) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725684)

What about that for "juvenile"!

Re:First post! (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725696)

What about that for "juvenile"!

Less 'juvenile' than the DA's behavior. And that's pretty sad.

Re:First post! (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726432)

I made a comment a few weeks ago about how judges who were Apple fans should be recused from patent cases because of the seemingly 'religious' lack of objectivity. Perhaps I didn't go quite far enough. It certainly takes some of the amazement out of how their getting the sale of Samsung products banned.

Re:First post! (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726836)

IS NOT YOU POOPYHEAD!

Re:First post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726380)

If "juvenile" commentary is illegal now, Slashdotters need to watch out.

not even joking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37725702)

haha oh wow
It's not surprising that apple fanboys whine about everything like a couple of children

lawsuit (2, Troll)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725708)

Coming any minute for the way they treated him and seizure of non related materials. Someone forgot to tell the DA that when an Apple employee leaves a prototype phone in a bar or resturant it's usually just to hype the newest Idevice.

Re:lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37725812)

"Usually?" It's happened once.

Re:lawsuit (3, Informative)

xavdeman (946931) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725834)

Re:lawsuit (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725860)

At the time it had been once and it was assumed to be an accident. Now that it has happened again you have to wonder...

Re:lawsuit (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726004)

In that second case no prototype was ever recovered. All there was was a lot of speculation and insinuations.

Re:lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726038)

wow, apple bitches are out early today!

Re:lawsuit (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727212)

they never sleep in fear someone might say something truthful about their precious shiny toys

Re:lawsuit (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726216)

At the time it had been once and it was assumed to be an accident. Now that it has happened again you have to wonder...

Indeed, at *most* twice.

People like to speculate, and the extreme secretiveness of Apple tends to let wild ideas like these grow.

But the facts are that there has never been any conclusive proof or even marginally believable solid evidence that either of these incidents are anything more than drunk yuppie Apple engineers in alcohol and cocaine induced stupors leaving their test phones places they shouldn't - bay area martini bars.

It's an extremely believable scenario verses the cloak-and-dagger pseudo-marketing being envisioned by the Apple Anti-Fanboys.

A tale of two cities (5, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725724)

What are the chances of the government going to such lengths if an ordinary person gets robbed? The ordinary response from police is that's nice, we'll look into it if we have nothing better to do. The crimes they were alleging are not different than the crimes that would be applicable if this were to happen to an ordinary person instead of a powerful corporation.

And then, the chutzpah of the DA's to call out the Gizmodo editors (who may or may not have deserved it) after conducting an illegal search...

Re:A tale of two cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37725780)

Probably they would go to such lengths if the item in question that was stolen was worth a billion dollars.

Re:A tale of two cities (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725806)

The actual item was worth a billion dollars?

Oh, imaginary property value. Then this post is worth ten billion.

Re:A tale of two cities (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725960)

Then this post is worth ten billion.

Oh yeah?! This post is worth eleventy billion! Take that!!

Shit, do I have to pay usage fees to quote your post????

Re:A tale of two cities (1)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726300)

Yes, but the good news is that you get to pay him in imaginary currency.

Re:A tale of two cities (4, Funny)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726840)

Finally a use for bitcoin!

Re:A tale of two cities (2, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725976)

Worth a billion dollars in terms of what?

Value of the device itself? Hardly.
Value of the device on the open-market to others? 10k is what they were able to fetch for it from Gizmodo
Value of the device to the victim, Apple? The police hardly take that into consideration when a starving artist has their laptop stolen containing all the work they need to make a living.

Value of the victim in terms of its political clout? Ah, that makes sense.

If the crime that is being alleged is the same, and the real-world value of the stolen property is the same, I don't see a reason off-hand why it's right that the police should be playing favorites.

Re:A tale of two cities (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726044)

How much did Gizmodo make in extra revenue due to traffic to their site ? How much was the advertising worth when their pictures with their watermark were plastered all over the web and traditional media ? How much did Apple lose because their hand was tipped to their competitors allowing them to more quickly react ?

A billion is overdoing it but maybe a couple of hundred thousand, which is quite enough to warrant police intervention.

Re:A tale of two cities (2)

RingDev (879105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726364)

So the starving artist who had his laptop stolen can claim that he's out billions too because it was his lifes work and it would have sold billions?

Come on. It's a friggin tort. Proof of damages or it didn't happen.

-Rick

Re:A tale of two cities (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727580)

So the starving artist who had his laptop stolen can claim that he's out billions too because it was his lifes work and it would have sold billions?

Come on. It's a friggin tort. Proof of damages or it didn't happen.

-Rick

The worth of a manuscript of a starving artist is unclear, the worth of a prototype work by the worlds largest public company of a product that sells in the millions is indisputable. It is called industrial espionage [wikipedia.org] .

"Information can make the difference between success and failure; if a trade secret is stolen, the competitive playing field is leveled or even tipped in favor of a competitor. Although a lot of information-gathering is accomplished legally through competitive intelligence, at times corporations feel the best way to get information is to take it. Economic or industrial espionage is a threat to any business whose livelihood depends on information."

Re:A tale of two cities (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726390)

which is quite enough to warrant police intervention.

There is a difference between intervention and corruption.

An investigation is fine. Violating the rights of the Gizmodo editor in such a cavalier way with no remorse or accountability only furthers the public's disillusionment with law enforcement as being their to truly serve and protect The People. Being snarky about it afterwards only digs the hole deeper.

It also reminds me of the Skylarov case. Law enforcement was at the beck and call of Adobe, and acted as nothing more than a private security force. Ultimately, it was determined that Skylarov did nothing wrong, yet I don't see an apology from the FBI or Adobe on that either. Keep in mind, the man was held against his will in a foreign country for nearly 6 months for doing nothing wrong.

How about the mentally challenged work program at the FBI? That's about the only thing that can explain how an FBI agent all hopped up could seize every system in a datacenter causing extreme harm to such a large number of corporations that were innocent bystanders. Effectively, it was no different than arresting a whole neighborhood of citizens due to the behavior of one person in one house.

The problem is not the investigations. It is the actions of the investigators.

Re:A tale of two cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726426)

You mean the same Gizmodo that was trafficking in stolen goods? Just because he's a journalist doesn't mean he is except from the law. The search warrant was valid no matter how much the anti-Apple fanboi's may like to whine about it. The evidence was in relation to them making a deal to buy stolen goods. Not some 'freedom of speech'. Save your support for someone that earns it.

Re:A tale of two cities (2)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726630)

You mean the same Gizmodo that was trafficking in stolen goods? Just because he's a journalist doesn't mean he is except from the law. The search warrant was valid no matter how much the anti-Apple fanboi's may like to whine about it. The evidence was in relation to them making a deal to buy stolen goods. Not some 'freedom of speech'. Save your support for someone that earns it.

My support is not for any particular company in this case. It is for proper behavior by law enforcement.

If any of what you said was true, then why was the search warrant overturned? The search warrant was invalid and I am not an anti-Apple fanboi, or a fanboi of anything.

Re:A tale of two cities (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727618)

There is a difference between intervention and corruption.

An investigation is fine. Violating the rights of the Gizmodo editor in such a cavalier way with no remorse or accountability only furthers the public's disillusionment with law enforcement as being their to truly serve and protect The People.

There was an obvious need for an investigation, that the police botched it is their problem. And yours if you're a US citizen.

The problem is not the investigations. It is the actions of the investigators.

I agree. I'm not commenting on the specifics of how the investigation was run, rather I'm reacting to the people who feel Apple got special treatment or feel this shouldn't have been investigated at all.

Re:A tale of two cities (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726434)

Reminds me of the incident with Palin's personal email account. She got the full attention of a federal investigation to find the password-guesser, who was easily caught, convicted and jailed. Do you think that would happen if he had just gotten into the emails of some nobody? It wasn't even a government account - it was purely personal, and she was forbidden by state open-records law from using it for government business. Indeed, the whole point of him breaking in was to investigate previously untested rumors that she was doing just that.

Turned out she was, but only on a very small scale. Just two conversations, for the sake of convenience rather than deliberate cover-up. Still, it goes to show what everyone here knows: The law may protect everyone, but it'll work a lot harder to protect those who are wealthy or influencial enough to demand the VIP treatment.

Re:A tale of two cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726644)

Worth a billion dollars in terms of what?

Competitors getting a hold of it and band-aiding features into their own products to deaden the impact of Apple's launch.

I really don't see billions here, but millions easily.

Re:A tale of two cities (0)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725914)

And then, the chutzpah of the DA's to call out the Gizmodo editors (who may or may not have deserved it) after conducting an illegal search...

Illegal according to who? The guy that wrote the article? [eff.org] Jason Chen had stolen property and the police are perfectly within their rights to search for that property, the reason some people are calling it "illegal" is because they believe journalist are above the law: [eff.org] "it violated California Penal Code section 1524(g)'s prohibition against the issuance of warrants for "unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving or processing of information for communication to the public.""

EFF is interpreting the law incorrectly, I'm pretty sure having a press pass doesn't mean I get to steal your stuff and laugh at the police when they come looking for it.

Exactly, when did theft become so praiseworthy? (2, Insightful)

Brannon (221550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726122)

Gizmodo stopped being protected by any journalism shield the moment they actively participated in theft of private property. There also appears to be evidence of malicious motives on their part. I don't see journalism anywhere around this case.

Re:Exactly, when did theft become so praiseworthy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726526)

Gizmodo stopped being protected by any journalism shield the moment they actively participated in theft of private property.

They can be stripped of journalistic protection when, and if, they are found guilty of theft in a court of law.

It was a legal search, there was probable cause (1)

Brannon (221550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727602)

and a search warrant was issued. The judge took into account the journalism angle and concluded (properly) that being a journalist doesn't make you immune to being prosecuted for theft, and being prosecuted for theft requires the same kinds of searches for stolen goods and other evidence of being complicit in a crime. They are free to argue that such evidence isn't admissible in a trial, but they are going to lose that fight (if they haven't already).

Basically, a crime was committed here.

Re:Exactly, when did theft become so praiseworthy? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726684)

I don't see journalism anywhere around this case.

Especially since it involves Gizmodo...

Re:Exactly, when did theft become so praiseworthy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37727006)

As opposed to...fox news?

Re:Exactly, when did theft become so praiseworthy? (4, Interesting)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726712)

Gizmodo stopped being protected by any journalism shield the moment they actively participated in theft of private property.

Just as a note here, purchasing a stolen good is not the same as being accessory to the theft. Usually, purchasing a stolen good is only punished by forfeiture of the item (without any refund). Yes, knowingly purchasing stolen goods (which Gizmodo clearly did) can be treated more harshly but it apparently has to have a value of more than $5,000 (convenient selling price you used there Gizmodo...)

But still, in order for the act to be accessory to the theft, the theft would have to be done at the request of the purchaser. As this was clearly a theft of opportunity, Gizmodo could have not participated in the theft, but rather only committed a separate crime. (And likely not even then, because the value wasn't high enough.)

Re:Exactly, when did theft become so praiseworthy? (1)

flosofl (626809) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726884)

Actually in CA I believe it is considered being an accessory if you know it was not obtained legitimately.

Re:A tale of two cities (1)

ebs16 (1069862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726208)

I think that the criticisms of the search rest on the fact that Apple employees allegedly participated.

Re:A tale of two cities (2)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727324)

I don't think its theft, if you call the company, and try to return it, multiple times.... (they were trying to get apple to confirm it was one of their phones)

Re:A tale of two cities (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37727366)

Remember an apple guy left the phone a bar. It wasn't taken by barging into somebody's house like a bunch of corporate controlled government thugs.

Re:A tale of two cities (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726108)

The crimes they were alleging are not different than the crimes that would be applicable if this were to happen to an ordinary person instead of a powerful corporation

Uh, yes they were. The potential damage caused by the phone getting out could have reached into the millions. That's the sort of thing where Motorola goes "Hold the launch of our next phone and put in a ... uh.. whatever a Retina Display is!"

It's fun to poo poo Apple and all but before you start crying 'unfair treatment' you need to think about why anybody would pay 5k for a phone to begin with. Just the ad-views alone on a blog site were worth that.

Re:A tale of two cities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726574)

The internet is filled with stories of people stealing other people's phones/laptops/whathaveyou and posting evidence against themselves online only to be arrested and charged. And yes, I believe they would go to such lengths if those charged were sicking the EFF on them...

Normal communications.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37725760)

rather than apologize for the illegal search and seizure, issued a critique of the seized emails, commenting that they were 'juvenile'

Everyone does that.
At a formal meeting with participants from multiple departments or with customers/vendors, everyone is professional. After the meeting while you are walking to the elevator or calling your immediate co-workers to duiscuss the details, you comment on everyone else was clueless, "those guys" are a bunch of fucking idiots, what where they thinking etc... What is so juvenile about that? When you are around your own people that you are comfortable with, you act differently. I'd bet my left testicle that the San Mateo District Attorney and people in his office do the same thing.

Re:Normal communications.. (4, Insightful)

The0retical (307064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725844)

Granted everyone makes those types of comments however the problem with this situation is that you have an official from an agency established to serve the tax payers deriding one of their constituents to a journalist on record.

There is such a thing as discretion and this DA just stick his foot in his mouth because this is going to be thrown back at him. Hopefully there will be consequences when the next elections come around and constituents finally decide that they cannot have their rights further eroded.

Re:Normal communications.. (1)

Grave (8234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727258)

constituents finally decide that they cannot have their rights further eroded

Good luck with that one. :/

Re:Normal communications.. (1)

Sun (104778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726130)

You say that to your co-workers, in private. You do not go on record saying that to a reporter.

Shachar

Re:Normal communications.. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727944)

I don't. where I worked they stressed we could be under court order to produce any documents in our possession relating to a case and not to be stupid with email. I would never email something like that out. That would be stupid if it ever came out in court.

Gizmodo juvenile? (3, Funny)

metamatic (202216) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725782)

Next you'll be telling me bears defecate in forested areas.

Gizwho? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37725822)

As of late, that's been the direction Gizmodo has been heading. I used to visit there site all the time, now they're just obnoxiuos.

Re:Gizwho? (2)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726134)

"20-something douche bags full of themselves" is a more apt description...

Re:Gizwho? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726400)

"20-something douche bags full of themselves" is a more apt description...

Get off my lawn.

Re:Gizwho? (0)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726412)

...that watch too much Nancy Grace. Quit reading after one too many stories bashing cops using tasers. Wish Apple would've sued them into the ground. Fuckin fucks.

Re:Gizwho? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726688)

Of late? It's been that way awhile and it's spreading to other parts of the Gawker network.

Jesus Diaz in particular reminds me of nothing more than a belligerant 3-year-old. He's the reason I never visit Gizmodo and I never even interacted with him directly. He was a complete and utter unprofessional jackass about the whole iPhone 4 thing.

The commenting system there makes /.'s system look like a work of art. You say the wrong thing and you get ban-hammered. You say the right thing and no one hears you because you aren't starred. I talk to myself without all the typing, so I don't see the point in bothering to post.

And then there is Lifehacker. They had a 'tip' to use the tab on your half-silvered rear-view mirror when someone behind you is using their brights. Then they defended that as obscure and useful information when called out on it. (I *was* astounded at how many people seemed to have no clue about it. Makes me wonder if that same ignorance is why no one in California can use their turn signals.)

io9 still seems pretty okay, but the rest of the network leaves such a bad taste in my mouth I don't really feel like visiting there either.

Re:Gizwho? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726768)

And.... then you came to Slashdot...? O_o

Blogger != Journalist (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37725832)

That is all.

Re:Blogger != Journalist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726556)

Ok, I'll bite:

what is a journalist? who gets to define it?

Freedom of the press is designed to apply to anyone who cares to get themselves a (printing)press. By proxy, we consider any device capable of disseminating information to be a "printing press" in the eyes of the law. Just because the barrier to entry has fallen, does not mean anything. Think about how much the barrier to entry fell with just the Gutenberg press in the 1440s, over scribes hand copying documents, and then again with rotary presses in 1847. It's clear that internet publication is just the next evolution.

Re:Blogger != Journalist (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726812)

what is a journalist? who gets to define it?

In the real world, a journalist is whomever the large, aggressive, not-so-bright, sometimes corrupt, uniformed men with shiny bits of metal on their chests that have lots and lots of guns, armored vehicles, helicopters, combat armor, tasers, pepper spray, snipers, and PMITA prisons to throw you in says they are...or are not.

The upside is that you might be able to dispute their decision later in a court of law...*if* you survive.

Strat

Stephen "I Know Nothing" Wagstaffe (4, Informative)

theodp (442580) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725858)

"I don't know if Apple is on the [REACT] steering committee," Stephen Wagstaffe told Yahoo! News [yahoo.com] when asked about a link between Apple and the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) Task Force that entered Jason Chen's home and seized four computers and two servers as evidence in a felony investigation. Documents revealed that Apple did indeed sit on REACT's steering committee [flickr.com] , which provided 'direction and oversight' to the law enforcement agency.

Quailty of writing (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725862)

Since when does ones quality of writing play into if you are 'the press' or not? Scary precedent here.

Broke in? (1)

ToastedRhino (2015614) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725882)

Whether you agree with the reasoning behind it or not, and in spite of the fact that it was later withdrawn because it was illegal, the police served a search warrant on a Gizmodo editor's home, they didn't break in. Pretending those are the same is one of the things that makes having a conversation about truly illegal searches and seizures so difficult in the US. If they have a search warrant you blame the judge that issued it, not the police who executed it.

Re:Broke in? (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725942)

It's a matter of perspective: If you disagreed with what the police did, it's "breaking in." If you agree, then it's serving a warrant. Also this tidbit:

It turns out that prosecutors concluded that neither Chen nor Gizmodo did anything wrong after all. Legally, that is. Speaking to CNET.com earlier this week, San Mateo County District Attorney Steven Wagstaffe said that there was not sufficient evidence to charge anyone associated with the tech site with "possession of stolen property" or "extortion."

There is a difference in the DA not having enough evidence to proceed further and the Gizmodo not doing anything wrong. There are many cases where the DA has to drop the case for lack of evidence.

Re:Broke in? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726454)

It turns out that prosecutors concluded that neither Chen nor Gizmodo did anything wrong after all. Legally, that is. Speaking to CNET.com earlier this week, San Mateo County District Attorney Steven Wagstaffe said that there was not sufficient evidence to charge anyone associated with the tech site with "possession of stolen property" or "extortion."

There is a difference in the DA not having enough evidence to proceed further and the Gizmodo not doing anything wrong. There are many cases where the DA has to drop the case for lack of evidence.

For the DA, saying "lack of evidence" is an easy way to avoid admitting that he was in the wrong. There is no doubt that the Gizmodo editors had the phone, and that they bought it. They knew how the seller got it. What possible more evidence is required?

Re:Broke in? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726718)

For the DA, saying "lack of evidence" is an easy way to avoid admitting that he was in the wrong. There is no doubt that the Gizmodo editors had the phone, and that they bought it. They knew how the seller got it. What possible more evidence is required?

Since when? So when mobsters had their cases dropped because witnesses mysteriously disappeared, the DAs in those cases were in the wrong? Gizmodo is still sticking to their story they purchased the story and not the phone. What may have been lacking is proof that Gizmodo knew they were purchasing the phone and would use the "purchasing a story" angle if caught.

Re:Broke in? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726862)

Since when? So when mobsters had their cases dropped because witnesses mysteriously disappeared, the DAs in those cases were in the wrong?

A witness disappeared in this case? That's news to me and everyone else. As for "purchasing the story", how did they end up with the phone? The offence is "receiving stolen property", not "buying stolen property", and the only question is whether they knew it was stolen. Since Gizmodo published the whole story of how they got the phone, proving knowledge is not going to be difficult.

Re:Broke in? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727062)

Proving intent is the problem. Can the DA prove the Gizmodo knew that they were breaking the law and that they planned to cover their tracks by going with a "purchasing the story" defense. If Gizmodo had pre-planned it and the left evidence, it is far easier to convict.

Re:Broke in? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727418)

Proving intent is the problem. Can the DA prove the Gizmodo knew that they were breaking the law and that they planned to cover their tracks by going with a "purchasing the story" defense. If Gizmodo had pre-planned it and the left evidence, it is far easier to convict.

As I mentioned before, don't let the facts get in the way of your argument. I already pointed out that the "purchasing the story" question was irrelevant because the crime is receiving stolen property. Intent isn't required. What needs to be proven are 3 facts: That the article was stolen, that the recipient knew it was stolen and that the recipient did receive the article. See intent in that list? See anything about buying the article? So, as I pointed out earlier, the "purchasing the story" defense is no defense.

Re:Broke in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37727038)

I should add: but don't let any facts get in the way of your obvious Apple fanboyism. Your posting history betrays your biases.

Re:Broke in? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727066)

There are facts and there is the law. Intent matters in criminal cases but don't let your ignorance prevent you from insulting other people behind your cowardice.

Re:Broke in? (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726930)

There are many cases where the DA has to drop the case for lack of evidence.

And the only ethical thing the DA can do in these cases, is to shut up about it. Simply because nobody has to prove they are innocent - it's the prosecution which has to prove guilt.

Re:Broke in? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726032)

If they have a search warrant you blame the judge that issued it, not the police who executed it.

Why should you blame the judge if the police/DA present him with faulty or incorrect evidence and justification for the search warrant? The information is given under oath, so there is no reason for the judge not to think the information is accurate. Really, what this comes down to is police acting as corporate enforcers, which is wrong and not what police are supposed to be doing. And for the record, I am very pro-police, especially for slashdot. However, it seems that recently police seem to keep shooting themselves in the foot, even when they are trying to do (what they believe or are led to believe) is the right thing.

You know, this just made me wonder something. Maybe the story a few weeks ago about Apple employees lying and saying they were police to search someone's house came as a direct response to this? If you can't force/coerce/trick someone to do your dirty work for you, you have to do it yourself.

Re:Broke in? (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726206)

DA should be impeached.

1. Perjury during application for warrant.

2. Ethics violation for disclosing private information obtained via illegal warrant.

A SlashDot Poll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37725884)

"Which would you prefer if you were a district attorney?

O To be found " juvenile"?

O To be found " unprofessional"?

O To be found professionally incompetent?

O To be found a snarky twit?

O To be re-employed in 'Family Law', where juvenile, unprofessional and snarky are the norm?

O To wake up from such a horrible nightmare!"

This is the enternet (-1, Offtopic)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725894)

Everything sounds like 15-year-olds talking here, you queerfag n00b lol y u mad tho.

Re:This is the enternet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726068)

NO U [ohinternet.com]

consequences? (1)

greatgreygreengreasy (706454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725920)

I doubt he'll feel so smug when he's hit with a federal civil rights lawsuit and is disbarred. Hey a guy can dream can't he?

Right of privacy? (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37725932)

The DA illegally seized these emails, right? And prior to that illegal seuzure they were the privately held information of Gizmodo, right? So... he only knows about them because the law was broken, and now he's spewing their contents all over the press? If this doesn't violate some ethical standard, it should. I'd file an ethics complaint.

Re:Right of privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37725982)

The emails were acquired legally through the search warrant. Like ToastedRhino above states, if you want to debate the legality of it, you talk about the judge who authorized the search, not the DA looking at the collected evidence, or the police who collected it. The EFF is reaching a long ways by attacking the prosecutor. The sanctimonious writing in that article is, at best, incendiary.

This was commentary, which HE is protected under the first amendment to say, just as much as the dicks at Gizmodo.

The hypocrisy here is fucking astounding.

Re:Right of privacy? (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727676)

Are public officials protected under the 1st when discussing details of their job? Seriously, I don't know.

Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726014)

We're talking about a Gawker Media property. Sorry, but I'm not going to waste my brain cells being outraged about anything that happens to parts of the Gawker empire.

Call me when a responsible citizen's rights are being trampled, and I'll duly respond with all due outrage. But for these guys....live by the sword, die by the sword.

Re:Meh. (2)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727920)

We're talking about a Gawker Media property. Sorry, but I'm not going to waste my brain cells being outraged about anything that happens to parts of the Gawker empire.

Call me when a responsible citizen's rights are being trampled, and I'll duly respond with all due outrage. But for these guys....live by the sword, die by the sword.

I agree with your opinion of them, but civil liberties are required to be non-selective, or they serve little purpose.

I wonder what standards they were using? (1)

zenthax (737879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726218)

Seeing how using text speak seems to be standard operating procedure for high ranking goverment officials [arstechnica.com] . I would suspect "like 15-year-old children talking" would qualify you to hold a nice cushy post in goverment. Perhaps the goverment can look inward first before critiquing illegally seized evidence. Better yet why not just stop performing illegal search and seizures. Oh right, they are above the law, silly me.

Who's the real juvenile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726310)

Oh, they acted like juveniles. I guess that makes it okay that the authorities broke the law.

-
You broke the law.
DA: They acted like juveniles.
You broke the law.
DA: Cry babies.
You broke the law.
DA: na-na-na-na-na-na I can't hear you!

Apple and Steve Jobs are part of the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726356)

A large company with a lot of money and influence being capable of using law enforcement as their own personal security team? And that team still content with their actions despite them being proven illegal?

And people say OWS protesters have nothing to be protesting for.

Had there not been a crime... (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726396)

...the house wouldn't have been raided. Are we really saying journalists should be exempt from such laws but the government should be held to it? If I was going to pursue a career in politics for power, I'd drop it to go into journalism. Chen/Gizmodo bought stolen property when he should've been suspicious enough to know better. Fucking plain and simple. $5000 of stolen property to increase my advertising revenue 10x that? And the law is on my side about it? What a deal. Sorry, I'm not buying the demagoguery bullshit.

Re:Had there not been a crime... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726418)

Except that it was a fucking iPhone. If I had bought your stolen iPhone, the police wouldn't have given two shits to track me down. But Apple put pressure on them to get to the bottom of it. And I wouldn't be surprised if the station received a hefty contribution from Apple Inc. when it was all said and done.

This had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with abuse of power.

Re:Had there not been a crime... (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726844)

It was a *prototype, unreleased* iPhone, which everyone and their dog in the tech press were hunting for details on in the run up to a release.

But you knew that.

It wasn't just "some guy losing a phone". There was a lot of money to be made here. Gizmodo bought their advertising revenue for cheap - $5k for all those juicy ad impressions? A steal (pun intended).

Apple didn't "put pressure" on anyone - they reported it stolen and Gizmodo didn;t exactly hide the fact that they had it (they tried to hold it to ransom). What did you think law enforcement were going to do?

Re:Had there not been a crime... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727728)

If I had bought your stolen iPhone, the police wouldn't have given two shits to track me down.

No? Please paint us a picture of a plausible scenario where you would, while sober, pay several grand for somebody's stolen iPhone and not expect the police to go after you.

Re:Had there not been a crime... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727966)

"Had there not been a crime ... the house wouldn't have been raided."

Your naïveté is almost endearing. Look, regardless of the merits (or otherwise) of this particular case, by that comment you exhibit an unreasoning and undeserved trust in the judiciary and law enforcement. The unfortunate truth is that illegal searches and seizures are made all the time on warrants filed in bad faith by police, or upon bad information. Or both. In this case, apparently, the warrant issued was later invalidated. So much for due diligence. So much for a crime having been committed.

Whatever your opinion of Gizmodo, if the DA had had sufficient legally-obtained evidence of wrongdoing there'd be a trial scheduled. Apple, you can bet, was pushing for just that, if nothing else for the deterrent effect. But ... the DA dropped it. Not enough evidence. So as far as the law is concerned, there was no crime. So why the raid, if not for Apple Inc pressuring city officials to take illegal action? The real criminals here are those officials. Malfeasance in office at the very least.

Matter of fact, in some jurisdictions blank, signed warrants are available to police so that they can go on a raid without prior judicial oversight. Sure, if they screw up they can be in trouble later, but by then the damage is done. That's why a judge is supposed to be in the loop before the cops take any action. It wouldn't surprise me if that's what happened here: presumably a judge wouldn't have signed an illegal warrant in the first place.

In an event, assuming that every raid is the result of the commission of an actual crime is unwise.

Jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726430)

What is that DA? 14 years old?

The search was not illegal, imho (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726452)

Regardless of whether Chan was reporting on the stollen/lost iPhone, the fact that he participated in the crime (sale of property known to not belong to the seller) means he is no longer protected by the law that is intended to protect journalists reporting on other people's crimes.

D/A and court are juvenile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726464)

What is juvenile is the court or D/A commenting on possibly illegally obtained E-Mails, rather than commenting on the merits of the filing that Gizmodo has journalism protection. Private E-Mails have nothing to do with this protection whatsoever.

Nobody has mentioned HOW the warrant was served. (0, Redundant)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726590)

IANAL, but if I am not mistaken, if the issue does not involve imminent danger to the public, or (I think) high probability of escape in the case of felonies, warrants are typically supposed to be served when the property owner (or resident) is present, the warrant is supposed to be read to said property owner or resident before a search, and it is supposed to be served during daylight hours. This ain't CSI or SWAT. The fact that police on television shows regularly storm residences does not make it proper or legal procedure.

I don't know what time of day it was, but from all appearances, and contrary to law, the police actively avoided confronting the resident and owner of the seized property, nor did they read him the warrant.

That should be very troubling to everyone here. Every time they get away with something like this, is one more example to the public that they CAN get away with it.

Because they illegally deprived Chen of the use of his property, and illegally searched his personal records (and, also illegally if I am not mistaken, made public comments about those illegally-seized private records), Chen and whoever is representing him should probably prosecute them under 18 USC, Section 242, "Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law" [justice.gov] .

That is a Federal law that applies to everybody, even State and Federal prosecutors, and it has teeth. Depending on what they did, the penalties range all the way up to death.

I strongly urge you to read the page at that link, because it is a very handy law to know about if you are ever harassed or victimized by the police or any government official. Don't threaten them, but if they are aware of this law (they probably are), and they know that YOU know about it, that alone could cause them to back off.

In my state, for example, it is no longer allowed to prosecute a policeman for any crime they commit against a citizen, unless actual malice can be shown. That was a well-intended law that has backfired and led to all kinds of police abuses. But they can still be prosecuted under the Federal statute, 18 USC 242.

Re:Nobody has mentioned HOW the warrant was served (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727994)

In my state, for example, it is no longer allowed to prosecute a policeman for any crime they commit against a citizen, unless actual malice can be shown. That was a well-intended law that has backfired and led to all kinds of police abuses. But they can still be prosecuted under the Federal statute, 18 USC 242.

Ha. That wouldn't be Illinois, would it? I know in that State the police cannot be taken to court for false arrest, and any number of other things.

It's funny, you would think that politicians would be very aware of the disease of unaccountability (most of them already being infected themselves) but apparently the idea of gun-toting cops with immunity from consequence being a problem never occurred to them.

Well that's standard for Gizmodo's editors (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726682)

I've had conversations with Gizmodo, IO9 and Kotaku's editors and writers in the past, "15 year olds" is a good way to describe their "professionalism".

only in the US.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37726710)

.. is it possible to have your home invaded by the Police, and then also be insulted over the information the police stole.
Fantastic.

That DA is a funny moron. (4, Interesting)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#37726720)

The emails were private. They were unlawfully seized. The DA takes those private, unlawfully seized emails and compounds the wrong by commenting upon them in the media in a derogatory way.

He has absolute immunity for being a prosecutor, but he has no immunity for making stupid-ass statements based on illegally obtained information.

This is an easy section 1983 case, albeit for limited damages. This stupid DA just cost his municipality a few thousand dollars.

Re:That DA is a funny moron. (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727196)

and a light scolding as he goes on in his career until retirement. pleasant thought isn't it?

Re:That DA is a funny moron. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37727924)

Do you realize that Gizmodo could have easily been dragged through court if the DA preferred? Rather than publicly making vague descriptions of the content of the emails, he could have not withdrawn the warrant and the content of the emails -- along with other things, not least of which is them knowingly buying stolen goods -- would have a decent chance of convicting them. At very least, decent enough to require Gizmodo to pay for many hours of lawyers fees. Which they kind of deserve, since they acted like douchebags rather than journalists.

Misinformed And Biased /. Article Stub (1, Troll)

Nerdorable (2485832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37727162)

The summary for this Slashdot article was so ignorant and biased that I actually registered just to comment on it.

"After the police broke in to a Gizmodo editor's home [...]"

They didn't "break in" -- they had a search warrant.

"[...] the San Mateo District Attorney's office petitioned the court to withdraw the search warrant [...]"

The San Mateo District Attorney's Office didn't petition the court to withdraw the search warrant. The San Mateo District Attorney's Office petitioned the court to issue the search warrant.

"[...] because it violated a law intended to protect journalists [...]"

The search warrant didn't violate any laws. Journalistic shield laws exist to protect the sources of journalists. The identities of Gizmodo's "sources" (or "sellers") were already known to police. They were in custody and cooperating with police. Journalistic shield laws do not exist so that journalists can purchase stolen goods.

It isn't a crime to execute a search warrant. It is a crime to purchase a stolen iPhone prototype, damage, and dissect it in order to publish trade secrets before the product has hit shelves, or even been announced to the public. It is damaging not only to Apple, but to their employees and shareholders.

"[...] Nevertheless, the DA, rather than apologize [...]"

Why should the DA apologize for doing his job? The DA deserves an apology from whoever authored this article stub.
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