Saturday, April 08, 2006

Will The Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree Doctrine Spoil The Pellicano Wiretap Prosecutions?

Certainly not for those who took sweet plea deals to become snitches. Pellicano and the other holdouts may yet find themselves freed because of tainted evidence. The evidence here may have been infected by law enforcement personnel exceeding legal limitations of the laws and rules of investigative searches.

When the cops raided Pellicano they were looking for evidence of threats or extortion involving freelance reporter Anita Busch. The search warrants used were like all warrants. They had to specifically detail what evidence they were going to find and where it would be located.

Searching Pellicano’s files related to other clients should have been off limits for a couple of reasons. For one the investigator’s other files were work product from litigation investigations protected by the lawyer client confidential privilege. The other is that they don’t have a link to the Busch case. These are not insignificant issues.

Was the motivation of the additional fishing expedition searching and computer encryption code breaking beyond the scope of the original warrant? Were the law enforcement raiders tempted to stick their noses into a gossipmonger’s treasure trove of salacious Hollywood cases? That’s a question that will have to be answered by the judge assigned to this case.

There will be Motions To Suppress Evidence on this issue and we can expect a huge fight to over the searches that may prove to undermine the entire case.

Pellicano may have limited funds to litigate these days but there are plenty of other defendants in this case with the deep pockets needed to pay for whatever is required to overcome the scope of the damaging searches.

Should the Judge rule that there is one simple violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment that led to the Indictments, it will all become fruit of the poisonous tree. As such all evidence uncovered by the misconduct must be suppressed. The prosecution will be over. Should that happen there would be those that say, they beat the case over a technicality. Our Bill of Rights is no technicality.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You made a good guess her Paul. The motions are going to take up a great deal of the court's time.

I don't expect the case to survive a close examination. The defendants that plead out early should get their legal fee retainers refunded.