Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen: Gear and Computers Seized By Police
San Mateo Sheriff's Office Execute Warrant For Fremont Home of Editor Jason Chen - iPhone 4G mentioned in Warrant
The police in California are taking the lost iphone 4G prototype that was obtained by Gizmodo for $5,000 as potential felony.
Last Friday night, California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team entered editor Jason Chen's home without him present, seizing four computers and two servers. They did so using a warrant by Judge of Superior Court of San Mateo. According to Gaby Darbyshire, COO of Gawker Media LLC, the search warrant to remove these computers was invalid under section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code.
According to Jason Chen on a Gizmodo Blog post, police from the San Mateo Sheriff's office entered Chen's home while he and his wife were out for supper. They returned around 9:45 pm and saw the police making an inventory of all the gear and computers they were taking. The warrant mentioned photos of the iphone for 4G.
Gizmodo is taking the position that the search warrant was invalid because Chen is a journalist. Gabby Darbyshire the COO of Gawker the parent company of Gizmodo quoting sections of the California Criminal and Evidence codes, in particular, section 1524(g) of the CA Penal Code and section 1070 of the CA Evidence Code.
The Penal Code states: "No warrant shall issue for any item or items described in Section 1070 of the Evidence Code", while the Evidence Code section quoted covers the protection of journalists and publishers from having to disclose information on sources, and unpublished information, including "all notes, outtakes, photographs, tapes or other data"
Darbyshire says it's "abundantly clear" that the search warrant was invalid, that a subpoena should have been issued instead, and that Chen should get all his gear back pronto... The warrant however, invalid or not, gives a clear indication of the way the cops' minds are drifting. The warrant claims that there is probable cause that the seized property was lawfully seizable under Section 1524 in that "it was used as the means of committing a felony [and] it tends to show that a felony has been committed or that a particular person has committed a felony".