Friday, May 7, 2010

Judge denies request to unseal warrant Gizmodo iPhone saga


A San Mateo County Judge has rejected a request from media organizations to unseal the search warrant affidavit used in the raid on Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's residence. Judge Stephen Hall denied the request for a hearing over the matter, although the initial decision appears to be based on technical grounds.

Judge Hall has reassigned the request to Judge Clifford Cretan, the judge who originally signed the search warrant used in the raid, according to a CNET report. The proceedings are expected to be delayed until the judge is done presiding over a separate trial.

The DA's office remains opposed to unsealing the affidavit, arguing that prosecutors have the right to "maintain the security of an ongoing investigation, which may well be compromised by the disclosure of the search warrant affidavit. The documents were allegedly sealed to protect the names of several additional persons of interest, until the police have a chance to contact them.

The raid has been criticized by the EFF and Gawker attorneys, as journalists receive special protection under state and federal law. The DA's office has defended its decision to go ahead with the search, although it agreed to halt further inspection of Chen's computers and other belongings until the matter has been resolved.

Prosecutors are pursuing the incident as a felony theft investigation initiated by Apple's request. Police have reportedly spoken with the individual who found the prototype, although formal charges have yet to be filed.

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