If you’ve followed the case of Camden County Prosecutor v. Whistleblower Bruce Aristeo, then you’ve read how Fox News, Courier Post, and NJ PEN only give praise to the Camden County High Tech Crimes Unit. But what you haven’t read in the media is the extent at which the Unit’s Commander Sgt. Thomas Di Nunzio, and comrade-in-arms Detective Christopher Auletto, will go to raise the Unit’s conviction rate… even to cover up foul-play.
In the last blog titled High Tech Crimes Unit Camden: Search and Destroy, we revealed a search warrant application demonstrating Sgt. Thomas Di Nunzio and Detective Chris Auletto attempt to access digital evidence (iPhone data) prior to seeking a warrant.
CAMDEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR: BRADY VIOLATION
Their attempt to access the device resulted in erasing the Apple iPhone, which prompted Auletto to seek a Search Warrant and Court Order for data extraction through Apple Headquarters. That failed, and nearly a year later Tracy A. Cogan pursued a second warrant for her investigation.
As documents show, over the period of nearly three-years, Tracy A. Cogan deliberately withheld the status of the iPhone data. The “withholding” or “destruction” of evidence known to the prosecutor is a violation on many levels.
Under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), prosecutors are required to disclose all evidence in the government’s possession to the defense. If the prosecution does not disclose material evidence favorable to the accused, then under this rule the evidence will be suppressed.
Additionally, Officers who withhold evidence can be sued for a Brady Violation. It also means that you potentially have a Civil Rights Action against any police officers, prosecutors. and anyone who withheld the favorable evidence or who manufactured evidence against the accused.
Layman’s Terms: All evidence must be shared, especially evidence to demonstrate the accused may be innocent.
I believe the warrant below, obtained by the Camden County Prosecutor, speaks volumes. As before, I extracted and highlighted the pertinent text under the warrant.
A WARRANT OF FALSE STATEMENTS
Be sure to note four things: 1) Nearly a year passed before getting a second warrant, 2) Tracy Cogan finds it necessary (cover her ass) to mention her compliance to guidelines set forth by the Attorney General, 3) The new search shall be conducted by the officers and Unit that originally destroyed the data, and 4) Scroll quickly to the last page (#25) and read, “The search of the Black Apple Cellular Telephone did not have any retrievable data to be examined.”
b. Authorization is also requested to execute this warrant and to conduct forensic examination performed by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office on all aforementioned items until such examination is complete.
c. Authorization is also requested to access files that have been “hidden”, erased, compressed, password protected, coded or encrypted.
d. This affidavit and attached Search Warrant / Communications Data Warrant have not been submitted to any other court.
e. On December 3, 2014, Assistant Prosecutor Tracy A. Cogan of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office has reviewed the instant application, and according to the guidelines promulgated by the Attorney General of New Jersey, has approved its presentation to the Court.
Again… Law enforcement officers are prohibited from 1) fully accessing computer devices prior to obtaining a warrant, 2) the device foregoes a forensics examination that securely extracts data from the hard drives, and 3) the data is duplicated onto a separate drive.
The original device is secured, and information necessary for the case is accessed from the separate drive, thus leaving the original device untouched. This standard procedure secures the integrity of the evidence, if any, from contamination, tampering, or its intentional deletion. The actual text from the New Jersey Computer Evidence Search & Seizure Manual:
Therefore, it is essential that the state preserve the electronic evidence in exactly the condition it was in at the time of the seizure. Investigators who examine electronic evidence must document exactly what steps they took to examine the electronic data, so that years later, they will be able to testify credibly that they did not alter it.
The mandates for executing a search and seizure warrant is found on the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice website within the Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive No. 2002-2.
COURT RULES: DESIGNED TO PROTECT
And… Designed to safeguard the rights of citizens to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, under the United States and New Jersey Constitutions, New Jersey Court Rule 3:5-5, states:
The officer taking property under the warrant shall give to the person whose property is taken, a copy of the warrant and a receipt for the property. The seized property shall be returned promptly and shall be accompanied by a written inventory of any property taken. The inventory shall be verified by the officer executing the warrant in the presence of the person whose property is taken or, in the presence of some other person.
Here, in the presence of the other person means Sgt. Thomas Di Nunzio or Detective Christopher Auletto, of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office.
The facts are before you here, and the statements made by the assistant prosecutor and detective are unsubstantiated.
Question: If the officer(s) accidentally destroyed data, devices, or other property containing evidence, why would they expend their energies on NOT presenting the facts and the truth on a search application?