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criminal-investigation Archives

NJ Supreme Court Compels Defendant to Provide Cellphone Password

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Criminal Investigation, Investigation, Warrant, Fifth Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Law Enforcement on Monday, August 10, 2020

In an extremely controversial 4-3 opinion, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld trial and Appellate Division rulings compelling a defendant to provide his cellphone passcode pursuant to a search warrant. The defendant was an Essex County Sheriff’s Officer accused of providing a drug dealer confidential information about an investigation into the dealer and his co-conspirators. The drug dealer gave evidence establishing that the sheriff’s officer provided him information about undercover surveillance of his vehicle and phones, as well as other case related information. Law enforcement confirmed there were numerous texts and calls between the sheriff’s officer and the drug dealer. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the officer’s cellphones, but were unable to access them without the defendant’s passcodes or PINs.  

Tags: Criminal Investigation, Investigation, Warrant, Fifth Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Law Enforcement

Government Wiretaps Versus Your End-to-End Encryption

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Criminal Investigation, Criminal Discovery, 4th Amendment, Fourth Amendment on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A new, just released report shows the number of federal and state-authorized wiretaps conducted in 2019. A wiretap is a court-authorized warrant, allowing law enforcement to listen to and record conversations and/or text messages on a target’s phone. In most jurisdictions, the law enforcement agency applying for such an order must demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that the target is engaged in a specified unlawful activity, that he uses the particular phone to conduct his illegal activity, that traditional methods of investigation have been tried or would not likely be successful, and that the wiretap is necessary to uncover the full extent of the target’s criminal activity, and/or the other coconspirators’. Such authorizations are usually limited to a 30-day period, but can be extended by a court under certain circumstances. Many individuals in the United States use encrypted messaging to protect their privacy – some for innocuous reasons, others for more illicit ones. Encryption may not, however, protect messages and conversations from being produced pursuant to a wiretap.

Tags: Criminal Investigation, Criminal Discovery, 4th Amendment, Fourth Amendment

Department of Justice Prosecutions of COVID-19 PPE Fraud

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Fraud, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Law, Health Care Fraud, Healthcare Fraud, Coronavirus on Thursday, June 25, 2020

As discussed in a prior post, the Department of Justice has formed a nationwide task force comprised of AUSAs from each of the 93 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, as well as Main Justice. Together they total more than 100 federal prosecutors, to investigate and prosecute fraud related to the ongoing pandemic. The District of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito spearheads this effort.

Tags: Fraud, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Law, Health Care Fraud, Healthcare Fraud, Coronavirus

Coronavirus and Related-Fraud Prosecutions are on the Rise

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Fraud, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Law, Health Care Fraud, Healthcare Fraud, Coronavirus on Monday, March 30, 2020

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and various state agencies have announced that they will aggressively pursue fraudulent schemes related to COVID-19. On March 16, Attorney General William Barr directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to prioritize the detection, investigation, and prosecution of all criminal conduct related to the Coronavirus pandemic. Each office was directed to appoint a COVID-19 fraud coordinator to serve as the liaison between the local Department of Justice and their state and local counterparts.

Tags: Fraud, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Law, Health Care Fraud, Healthcare Fraud, Coronavirus

Coronavirus: What it Means for the Courts and Legal Representation

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Defense Process, Prosecution, Coronavirus on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Many federal, state, and municipal courts have limited the number and types of cases they will be handling in the near term. Some have adjourned jury trials for several weeks and in some cases even months to see what happens after a period of isolation. Courts have summarily waived Speedy Trial Act rights and ordered continuances for a period of time. State courts in particular are promoting the use of video and teleconferencing in lieu of appearing in court. Municipal courts have adjourned court appearances for motor vehicle summonses and code violations. Detention has been waived in certain cases depending on the type of crime, the age of the offender, and other relevant factors.

Tags: Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Defense Process, Prosecution, Coronavirus

Agencies are Selling Your Cell Phone Location Data to Law Enforcement

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Fourth Amendment, Cell Site Location Information on Monday, March 9, 2020

Despite the United States Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. United States requiring law enforcement to obtain a court authorized warrant for historic and current cellphone location data, four main cellphone carriers have continued to sell real-time location data to a host of entities, including federal law enforcement agencies. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing fines of up to $200 million against these carriers for the violations.

Tags: Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Fourth Amendment, Cell Site Location Information

Agreeing to Meet: Target Proffers and Reverse Proffers

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Discovery, Criminal Law, Proffer on Tuesday, February 11, 2020

When a person is a target of a federal or state criminal investigation, they are often contacted − either directly if unrepresented or through counsel if represented − to attend either a proffer or a reverse proffer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, State Attorney General’s Office, or County Prosecutor’s Office. 

Tags: Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Discovery, Criminal Law, Proffer

Sexting, Revenge Porn, and Cyberbullying Can Result in Serious Criminal Penalties

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Cyber Crimes, Criminal Law on Tuesday, October 22, 2019

With our societal addiction to the internet, smartphones, and computers, today’s teens face growing exposure to new forms of harassment and bullying. These can sometimes lead to criminal charges for those engaging in this conduct, and potentially anxiety, depression and, suicidal thoughts for the recipients.

Tags: Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Cyber Crimes, Criminal Law

Target Letters and Proffer Agreements

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Criminal Defense, Federal Crimes, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Defense Process, Criminal Law, Federal Investigation on Tuesday, May 7, 2019

We receive many calls over the course of the year from potential clients, telling us they received a “target letter” from the U.S. Attorney’s Office or State Attorney General’s Office and that they are considering whether to go to an interview with law enforcement under a “proffer agreement.”  

Tags: Criminal Defense, Federal Crimes, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Defense Process, Criminal Law, Federal Investigation

Google Tracking of Cellphones Used in Criminal Investigations

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Criminal Investigation, cellphone, GPS on Wednesday, April 17, 2019

I have written a number of times about modern technology being used in criminal investigations, from cellphone towers tracking our phones, to Alexa and other smart home devices used to record internet searches and conversations, to security cameras used to spy on their homeowners. Recently, the New York Times and other media outlets reported that Google has the ability to track which cellphones are in the area of a crime scene at a particular time. Once law enforcement narrows down which phones they are interested in, they obtain a warrant for the particular cellphone owner’s information.

Tags: Criminal Investigation, cellphone, GPS

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