Archive: March 18, 2009

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State has Obligation to Provide Defendants “Meaningful Access” to Copies of Seized Hard Drives

State has Obligation to Provide Defendants “Meaningful Access” to Copies of Seized Hard Drives

State v. Dingman, 202 P.3d 388 (Wash. App. 2009)

On appeal from his conviction for first degree theft and money laundering, Dingman argued that the trial court erred when it denied his repeated discovery requests for meaningful access to the hard drives seized from his house.  The appellate court agreed, and the case was reversed and remanded for a new trial.

On March 19, 2003, officers searched Dingman’s house and seized nine computers.  A detective then created mirror image copies of those computers using a program called EnCase.  Eventually, Dingman was charged with numerous counts of first degree theft and money laundering.

On January 1, 2004 the State provided Dingman with discovery, including a report containing information about the mirror images copies of his computers taken with EnCase.  In August of 2005, Dingman moved for additional discovery, requesting direct access to the computer hard drives or mirror image copies “created in a program used by the defendant’s computer expert.”

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