04 Oct Why You Need A Computer Forensics Expert
Chances are, if you were trying a murder case, you’d want to see evidence first hand of a body and a murder weapon. I am sure you’d like to know about motives and alibis and who else might have wanted to commit such a crime. Why would it be any different if your client was accused of child pornography? Would you be convinced of his guilt because on his computer was the term lolita? Would you take the word of the investigators and the prosecutor that your client tried to share his images without understanding the methodology used and seeing definitive proof? Would you be okay with the male owner of a house being charged of this crime while his brother-in-law, his wife seeking divorce and his two teenage boys were living in the same house without any direct evidence linking him to the crime? Why are lawyers so quick to roll over and suggest pleas if they haven’t looked at all the facts, especially the digital evidence, in it’s proper context?
He was always so kind to me and my family...
So many people in today’s society are quick to defend friends and relatives when they are charged with a violent crime. “Oh, he never came across as that type of person” or “He was always so kind to me and my family” are phrases readily uttered when someone we know is charged with a violent crime.
But accuse someone of child pornography it’s “Burn the S.O.B.” without any due process. And the due process is not only not allowed to happen by the public but it is often restricted and in some cases, trampled upon by the government, over-zealous prosecutors and investigators with little understanding of computer forensics and their positions allow them little leeway to find innocence.
A defensive review of digital evidence is absolutely necessary in so many cases these days. Phones, laptops, PCs, gaming systems, etc, can hold all kinds of valuable evidence, and some that evidence is not apparent or even thought to be residing on the device. Law enforcement runs these devices through many analytical tools to find evidence to implicate your client. Powerful software can recover deleted files, paint a picture of what was happening on the computer at the time of the crime and reveal valuable communications around the time of the crime. We run the same software to find the exculpatory evidence.
We have examined many digital devices in over 500 cases. In some instances the evidence forces us to tell the client that there is so much on his computer to link him to the crime that our work would be detrimental to his case. There are some instances where a plea to the crime is necessary. But there are many cases where the evidence is not quite what the prosecution says it is. While there may be some question of guilt or innocence, the evidence in these matters need to be presented in the proper light.
Then there are the cases where the evidence proves the client is completely innocent. Massachusetts v. Fiola was such a case. After being provided with a virus infected laptop by his government employer, he was turned into law enforcement by that very same employer with accusations he was downloading child pornography. After years of professing his innocence, fighting with the State and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, the state finally agreed that the findings of Loehrs & Associates was indisputable. That his laptop was indeed infected with viruses that caused numerous atrocities to occur on his computer without his knowledge including hacking and the downloading of child pornography. Mr. Fiola was finally deemed innocent and all charges were dropped. However, at that point it was too late because he was already deemed guilt in the eyes of nearly everyone who heard about the allegations. Had a review of the digital evidence been properly done by the State before condeming Mr. Fiola, his losses could have been prevented. Had a proper review not been done by a qualified computer forensics expert such as Loehrs, Mr. Fiola would most likely be in jail today. See tarnished reputation
What we need to take away today is that it’s very imprudent to not have a proper computer forensic evaluation done by a qualified expert on all the digital devices seized. The data that might exonerate your client may very well be hidden on those devices and only an expert, like the experts here at Loehrs & Associates, can find that evidence for you. With over 50 cases dismissed or found not guilty along with many others that resulted in lesser charges because of our work is proof positive we may be able to find the exculpatory evidence on your case.
Up next time….we look at getting digital evidence to review, the issues in getting it into our lab and the many roadblocks thrown up that try to stop us from finding the truth.