The Court stated that it was clear from his testimony that Lewis knew he was expandingthe scope of his search when he sought to open the JPG files. Moreover, at that point, he wasin the same position as the officers had been when they first wanted to search the contents ofthe computers for drug-related evidence. They were aware they had to obtain a search warrantand did so. These circumstances suggest Lewis knew clearly he was acting without judicialauthority when he abandoned his search for evidence of drug dealing.The Court stated:Although the question of what constitutes “plain view” in the context of computer files isintriguing and appears to be an issue of first impression for this court, and many others, we donot need to reach it here. Judging this case only by its own facts, we conclude the items seizedwere not authorized by the warrant. Further, they were in closed files and thus not in plain view.WILSON,CYNTHIA10498
512Chapter 26Evidence Issues Involved in Prosecuting Internet CrimeThe Court of Appeals noted that since the case involved images stored in a computer,the file cabinet analogy may be inadequate since electronic storage is likely to contain agreater quantity and variety of information than any previous storage method, computersmake tempting targets in searches for incriminating information. According to the Court,relying on analogies to closed containers or file cabinets may lead courts to oversimplify acomplex area of Fourth Amendment doctrines and ignore the realities of massive moderncomputer storage.In United States v. Turner(1999 WL 90209 (1st Cir. February 26, 1999)), the defen-dant’s neighbor was the victim of a nighttime assault in her apartment, and police officersobtained the defendant’s consent to search his apartment for signs of the intruder and for evi-dence of the assault itself. While searching the apartment, an officer noticed the defendant’scomputer screen suddenly illuminate with a photograph of a nude woman resembling theassault victim. He then sat at the computer and itemized the files most recently accessed.Several of the files had the suffix “.jpg,” denoting a file containing a photograph. The officeropened these files and found photographs of nude blonde women in bondage. After callingthe district attorney’s office for guidance, the officer copied these adult pornography filesonto a floppy disk and then searched the computer hard drive for other incriminating files.He opened a folder labeled “G-Images” and noted several files with names such as “young”and “young with breasts.” After opening one of these files and observing child pornography,the officer shut down and seized the computer, and the defendant was charged in a singlecount of possessing child pornography. The government contended the “consent was sobroad—authorizing search of all the defendant’s ‘personal property’ that it necessarilyencompassed a comprehensive search of his computer files.” But the First Circuit Court of
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