26 September 2015

Well, This Helps with 5th Amendment Rights

In an insider trading scandal, a judge has ruled that prosecutors cannot force suspects to unlock their phones.

Basically, he said that the prosecution was asking for it "Just Because", and that was not sufficient reason:
The Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination would be breached if two insider trading suspects were forced to turn over the passcodes of their locked mobile phones to the Securities and Exchange Commission, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

"We find, as the SEC is not seeking business records but Defendants' personal thought processes, Defendants may properly invoke their Fifth Amendment right," US District Judge Mark Kearney of Pennsylvania wrote.


In the latest case, the SEC is investigating two former Capital One data analysts who allegedly used insider information associated with their jobs to trade stocks—in this case, a $150,000 investment allegedly turned into $2.8 million. Regulators suspect the mobile devices are holding evidence of insider trading and demanded that the two turn over their passcodes.

The defendants balked at supplying their passcodes, saying the Fifth Amendment protected them. The judge agreed and said that the government was going on a fishing expedition:
Here, the SEC proffers no evidence rising to a “reasonable particularity” any of the documents it alleges reside in the passcode protected phones. Instead, it argues only possession of the smartphones and Defendants were the sole users and possessors of their respective work-issued smartphones. SEC does not show the “existence” of any requested documents actually existing on the smartphones. Merely possessing the smartphones is insufficient if the SEC cannot show what is actually on the device.
The prosecution is not looking for evidence here.

What they are looking for is statements that impeach the defendants, and force them to cut a plea deal.

They want to find texts where these guys call their clients morons, or some such, knowing that they can then present this to a jury in order to make the jury hostile to their defense.

I wholeheartedly approve of this ruling.


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