Friday, May 28, 2010

Computers, Wireless Networks, the Internet and the Law

Wireless routers have enabled computer users to "unplug" and access the internet from anywhere within the router's range. This range continues to increase as technology advances and the use of range boosters becomes more widespread. For example, there are systems available for farmers that allow the range of their wireless router to extend to approximately two miles. For the typical user, it is sufficient if the range extends to all areas of the home.

Accessing the Internet by way of a wireless router provides the user with the freedom and convenience of mobility. However, if precautions are not taken, there are risks associated with the use of a wireless router. First, the signal from most modern wireless networks extends beyond the boundaries of a particular residence. This means that neighbors may be utilizing your WiFI network, if it is left unsecure and open. This may seem harmless at first. However, it can lead to disasterous consequences.

In this Blog I will limit my discussion to the possible criminal exposure one might encounter when operating a wireless network that is unsecured. As a criminal defense lawyer, I have represented many citizen's who have had their homes raided by law enforcement, pursuant to a search warrant. Law enforcement removes all of the person's computers and data storage devices pursuant to the warrant and informs the person that they are under investigation for an Internet or computer crime. The crimes range anywhere from Fraud and Theft, to Pandering Obscenity. Obviously, this causes serious problems for the person whose home has been raided. First, the neighbors will question why all the police were outside the home. The allegations alone may cause the person to lose relationships with family or friends. Further, the person is obviously left without his or her computers and whatever other data storage devices law enforcement confiscated, including but not limited to cell phones and digital cameras. Finally, the person, if innocent of any wrongdoing, will obviously be left frustrated and left guessing as to why his or her home was raided and what is going to happen next.

As I discussed in a previous Blog concerning search warrants and computers, there is often a lapse of time between the execution of a search warrant and the completion of the forensic investigation by law enforcement. Depending upon how many computers are removed from the home, the lapse between the search and the results of the investigation can span a period of many months. this is obviously a discouraging time for a citizen who has not committed a crime.

How does this happen? If you fail to limit access to your wireless network by securing it and taking proper precautions, you run the risk that someone else may utilize your network to access the Internet. This seems relatively harmless, however, if that unauthorized user engages in criminal activity via your Internet connection, you will likely be the person targeted at the beginning of the investigation. Law enforcement will typically identify an IP address and trace it back to the Internet subscriber by issuing a subpoena to the Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP will comply with the Subpoena and provide law enforcement with the name and address of the person that pays the bills for a particualr IP address. It is that person that will then likely be subject to a search warrant execution, even if that person did not engage in any wrongdoing.

What to do? Make sure that your wireless network is secure as possible. If you do not have the time or inclination to review all of the manuals that come with your router, I recommend consulting with a technician who specializes in this area. Fortunately, occurances such as this are rare and in many cases, where a client has been subject to a search warrant because of the wrongdoing of others, the forensic examination by law enforcement can sometimes lead them to conclude that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the client. Unfortunately, although law enforcement may ultimately catch the person who committed the worngdoing, at that point, much damage to the innocent client may already have been done.

In sum, secure your wireless networks. If you or someone you know has been subject to a search warrant execution and would like to discuss the matter in greater detail with a criminal defense lawyer, please feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation at (440)537-0299.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Search Warrants & Allegations of Computer Crime

A search warrant is essentially a court order that authorizes law enforcement to conduct a search of a particular place, thing, or person. Search warrants are issued after a law enforcement agent demonstrates to a neutral and detached magistrate that there is probable cause to justify a search and seizure.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I often receive calls from citizens who have had their homes searched and property removed. Sometimes law enforcement conducts the search, seizes the property, but does not make an arrest at that time. This is especially common in cases where data storage devices such as cell phones and computers are removed from a residence. If law enforcement is searching for evidence of a computer or internet crime, or they have probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is going to be found on a computer, they will often seize the computers but not effectuate an arrest at that time. Typically, the computers and other data storage devices are subject to a forensic examination by law enforcement. This process is often conducted pursuant to the terms of the search warrant itself. Forensic examinations can take time and law enforcement may wait until all evidence is extracted and reviewed before determining what criminal charges, if any, are warranted.

If you, or someone you know, have had a search warrant executed and property seized, you may have questions concerning your rights and the process going forward. You may also want to know what steps, if any, can or should be taken. Please feel free to contact Cleveland, Ohio criminal defense lawyer Ron Frey for a free initial consultation at: (440) 537-0299.

Computer Forensics and Criminal Law

It's no secret, computer technology has impacted all aspects of modern life. As a criminal defense lawyer I have witnessed the vital role technology can play in the prosecution and defense of criminal cases. This Blog will address the impact of data storage devices and how a forensic evaluation of such devices can make or break a case.

I use the term data storage device to include any technology that records and stores data. A personal computer is a rather obvious example of a data storage device. Within the criminal justice system, data storage devices can play a pivotal role because, you guessed it, the data they record can be of great value to the prosecutor or defense attorney.

As potential evidence of a crime can be found within data storage devices, it is now commonplace for law enforcement to seize and search data storage devices as part of their investigation. These searches are often conducted pursuant to a search warrant. For instance, in drug cases it is common for a suspect's cell phone to be seized and searched in order to identify evidence of drug trafficking.

As the capabilities of modern data storage devices continue to expand, so does their potential evidentiary value. As such, an independent forensic examination of the data storage device by a qualified expert can be an integral component in preparing a defense strategy. This is especially true in cases where law enforcement has seized evidence of a crime from a computer hard drive.

If you have questions concerning the role of computer forensics in the criminal justice system, or if you or someone you know are facing criminal charges that might involve digital evidence and data storage devices, please call Cleveland, Ohio criminal defense lawyer Ron Frey for a free consultation at (440) 537-0299.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Criminal Law within the Rocky River Municipal Court, Ohio

As a criminal defense attorney, I frequently represent citizens charged with criminal offenses in the Rocky River Municipal Court. The Rocky River Municipal Court in Rocky River, Ohio serves the communities of Bay Village, Fairview Park, North Olmsted, Rocky River, Westlake, and the Metroparks. As such, if a person is charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense within one of these communities, their case will likely be heard in the Rocky River Municipal Court.

The Court is located at 21012 Hilliard, Boulevard, Rocky River, Ohio. In 2009, over 23,000 criminal cases were filed with the court. The severity of the criminal cases range from Felony level charges that initiate within the jurisdiction, to misdemeanor traffic tickets. The number of criminal and traffic filings from the various jurisdictions range widely. For instance, North Olmsted filed over 8,600 criminal and traffic cases, while Bay Village filed less than 700.

The Court addresses a variety of criminal charges, including, but not limited to the following: Menacing, Assault, Carrying Concealed Weapons, Drug Abuse, Disorderly Conduct, Domestic Violence, Menacing, Theft, Public Indecency, Receiving Stolen Property, Burglary, Identity Theft, Robbery, Resisting Arrest, Possession of Drugs, Sexual Imposition and OVI just to name a few.

If you, or someone you know, is facing a criminal charge within the Rocky River Municipal Court you may wish to discuss the matter in greater detail with a criminal defense lawyer. As such, please feel free to call me anytime for a free initial consultation at: (440) 537-0299 .

Berea Municipal Court, Berea, Ohio - Criminal Defense Lawyer

Berea Municipal Court - Berea, Ohio Criminal Lawyer
By +Ron Frey

Berea, Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer
Attorney +Ron Frey 

As a criminal defense lawyer I have the privilege of practicing in many courts, including the Berea Municipal Court. The Berea Muncipal Court is located at 11 Berea Commons in Berea, Ohio. The Court handles criminal cases that stem from multiple jursidictions, including cases from Berea, Brook Park, Middleburg Heights, Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Township, Strongsville, and the Metro Parks. Further, cases that involve the Ohio State Patrol within these jurisdictions report to berea as well. As such, if you are charged with a misdemeanor in one of the above jurisdictions, your case will likely be held in Berea.

Like many courts, the Berea Municipal Court is equipped with video conferencing technology. This technology facilitates communication and allows criminal defendants to appear in court, via video, from the various jails. This technology is often utilized during a criminal defendant's first appearance in order for the Judge to address bond and sometimes arraign the defendant. Oftentimes, the criminal defense attorney will appear in court and the criminal defendant will be on the video screen live from the jail. The criminal defendant is able to see and hear what is taking place within the court room, and is able to communicate effectively with both the lawyer and the Judge.

If you, or someone you know, is facing a criminal charge within the Berea Municipal Court you may wish to discuss the matter in greater detail with a criminal defense lawyer. As such, please feel free to  call the Berea, Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyers at Friedman & Frey, L.L.C. for a free initial consultation at: (216) 928-7700.

Berea, Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyers
Friedman & Frey, L.L.C.
+Friedman & Frey, L.L.C. - Criminal Defense Lawyers 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Limewire, Gnutella & Computer Crime

As a criminal defense attorney in Cleveland, Ohio I represent a multitude of citizen's charged with crimes that were allegedly committed through their utilization of Limewire software. LimeWire enables a user to access the Gnutella file-sharing network. The Gnutella file-sharing network is essentially a peer to peer network "P2P network". The Gnutella file-sharing network does not have a central server for the files on the network. Rather, the files and information contained within the network are essentially stored within each individiual user's computer.

On the Limewire website, there is a disclaimer that Limewire software cannot control what content may exist in the Gnutella network and can only attempt to filter out certain illegal or objectionable content as requested by you via the various filtering options. Limewire makes very clear that "It is your responsibility to use the program in a responsible and safe manner."

If you, or someone you know, have been charged with a crime, or are under investigation as a result of utilizing Limewire software, please feel free to contact Cleveland, Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Ron Frey for a free initial consultation: (440) 537-0299.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Peer Spectre Software & Computer Investigations in Cuyahoga County, Cleveland, Ohio

Peer Spectre Software was developed by William Wiltse, a former police detective for the City of Salem, Oregon. The application was created as part of an investigative effort known as Operation Fairplay. The software is only made available to law enforcement officers.

Peer Spectre was initially released in January of 2008 and is currently employed by law enforcement investigators throughout the United States and around the world. The software has been designed to automate the investigation of individuals committing computer crimes while utilizing peer to peer networks and applications, such as Limewire.

Since its release, Peer Spectre has been utilized in the investigation and prosecution of individuals in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. There is much more that can be said concerning this software and the investigative methods that are employed. If law enforcement has conducted a search of your residence, or has commenced an investigation against you, or a friend, or relative of yours, or if you have been charged with a computer crime as a result of an investigation that utilized software such as Peer Spectre, you may have questions or be seeking legal representation.

If you have questions, please call Criminal Defense Lawyer Ron Frey for a free consultation at (440) 537-0299.