9
   

Computers as evidence

 
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 10:03 am
@Setanta,
I understand that in many cases searching a computer is completely reasonable.

In this case it seems not so reasonable. In fact, searching the guys house seems like a waste of time and resources.

If I drove drunk and killed some people would they need to search my house? I just don't understand what they could possibly hope to find in my house or on my computer that would be related to my crime.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 10:54 am
@boomerang,
Well, apparently the authorities were able to convince a judge that the warrant was justified I think i may say, without fear of offending you (i hope), that they had more information than you do. If this joker's got a good attorney, and there was not in fact probable cause for a search, anything found in that search could be declared inadmissible.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 11:01 am
@Setanta,
I'm not offended at all. I'm positive they have more information than me.

It just seems strange to me.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 11:12 am
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 01:08 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
I understand that in many cases searching a computer is completely reasonable.

In this case it seems not so reasonable. In fact, searching the guys house seems like a waste of time and resources.

They raided/searched his home because they were looking for him. At the time of the article in your OP they knew who he was, but I'm not sure they knew where he was. They may have removed the computer and documents to seek info to help find him--they already knew he was high when operating the equipment, and the accident killed 6 people. An arrest warrant was issued after the raid because they didn't find him.
Quote:
Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said a toxicology report showed evidence that Benschop was high on marijuana. That finding, combined with witness statements and evidence from the scene, led to the decision Friday to raid his North Philadelphia home and later seek an arrest warrant, he said.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/08/sean-benschop-charges-philadelphia-building-collapse_n_3407485.html

Quote:
If I drove drunk and killed some people would they need to search my house? I just don't understand what they could possibly hope to find in my house or on my computer that would be related to my crime.

Alcohol is a legal substance. This man had an illegal drug in his system, as well as past criminal convictions for drug trafficking.
Quote:
Benschop, who also goes by the name Kary Roberts, has been arrested at least 11 times since 1994 on charges ranging from drugs to theft to weapons possession, according to court records. He was twice sentenced to prison in the 1990s after being convicted on drug trafficking charges. Benschop's last arrest, on a charge of aggravated assault, came in January 2012, but the case was dismissed for lack of evidence
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/08/sean-benschop-charges-philadelphia-building-collapse_n_3407485.html

So they might have taken the computer and documents from the home to look for evidence related to any purchase/sale of illegal drugs.
Also, they removed the computer and documents, but it's not clear whether they searched them. They might have just taken them from the home to keep them from being destroyed as future potential evidence in other aspects of this case. For instance, the computer and documents might contain communications with his employer, the people who hired him, and what they knew about him before they hired him, because they may be criminally or civally liable in this situation.
Quote:
Mayor Michael Nutter, in a statement Saturday night, called for harsh charges and punishment for Benschop.

"It is my hope that the harshest level of charges are brought against Sean Benschop and he is punished accordingly," Nutter said. "We must also seek answers from property owners Richard Basciano and Griffin T. Campbell who hired Benschop to do the significant job of operating heavy equipment. These three individuals bear the ultimate and sole responsibility for this tragedy
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/08/sean-benschop-charges-philadelphia-building-collapse_n_3407485.html.

I'm just guessing with all of the above. I'm with Setanta, we just don't have all of the info.

The investigation into the matter of the building collapse is widening--it goes beyond this one man. It even goes beyond the two people who hired him. It's going to look into city agencies and policies.
Quote:
Philadelphia Building Collapse: City Council Probes Incident As Sean Benschop Faces Charges
By JOANN LOVIGLIO
06/10/13

PHILADELPHIA — The city's top prosecutor announced Monday he would convene an investigating grand jury to look into a building collapse that killed six people and injured 13 others last week.

District Attorney Seth Williams said the "scope and depth" of the grand jury process will help prosecutors, the city and others to "completely and appropriately investigate" what happened when a downtown building under demolition collapsed onto a neighboring Salvation Army Thrift Store, killing two employees and four customers.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/10/philadelphia-building-collapse-sean-benschop_n_3414640.html
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Jun, 2013 10:57 am
The twists and turns in this case continue. Now there is another death--a suicide.

Quote:
June 13, 2013
Inspector in Philadelphia Collapse Commits Suicide
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHILADELPHIA — A veteran inspector who surveyed a downtown building weeks before it collapsed, killing 6 people, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound a week after the accident, authorities said Thursday.

Ronald Wagenhoffer, 52, was found shot in the chest in a pickup truck around 9 p.m. Wednesday. A longtime employee with the Department of Licenses and Inspections, Wagenhoffer had inspected the building May 14 and signed off on demolition work underway, after getting complaints about the site from the public, Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said.

That was three weeks before the vacant four-story building collapsed onto a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store on June 5, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 other people.

"With the building collapse a week ago, we have now lost seven lives in connection with this tragedy," Gillison said at a news conference, adding that Wagenhoffer leaves behind a wife and son. "This man did nothing wrong. The department did what it was supposed to do."

Department employees were informed of the death Thursday morning. Wagenhoffer was a 16-year city employee who had started with the Department of Public Property and worked his way up through the ranks to building inspector, according to city officials. He had worked until 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The department's head, Carlton Williams, said Wagenhoffer did everything he could to protect people.

"We strive to protect our citizens by enforcing the building codes. And that's what Ron did," Williams said. "He was a dedicated civil servant who loved his job."

Investigators say a heavy equipment operator with a lengthy rap sheet was high on marijuana when the building collapsed. The operator, Sean Benschop, faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter, 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of risking a catastrophe. His attorney has said he was being made a scapegoat.

The city's top prosecutor has convened a grand jury to investigate whether anyone else should face criminal charges. A half-dozen survivors have filed lawsuits against the contractor and the building's owner.

A demolition permit indicates that contractor Griffin Campbell was being paid $10,000 for the job. Campbell's lawyer has called him despondent but "absolutely not responsible" for the deaths. On Thursday, he released a statement expressing condolences to the families of the inspector and the victims.

"Our heartfelt condolences go to the family of the inspector," attorney Kenneth Edelin said in a statement. "We also continue to pray for the families of those that were lost, and for the health and speedy recovery of those that were injured."
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2013/06/13/us/ap-us-building-collapse.html?hp
0 Replies
 
ilikefollows
 
  0  
Reply Sat 15 Jun, 2013 04:25 am
@boomerang,
Hi I would like to add a point computer is now almost every place and such a crime get caught on it so its good.
0 Replies
 
 

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