Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney Ian N. Friedman, who is also a law professor, has been interviewed by multiple media outlets about a case that has raised questions concerning our rights to keep our computer passwords private. One of those media outlets was Kent, Ohio public radio station WKSU (89.7 FM), which included legal insight from Attorney Friedman in its March 11 news story.
The news story is about a Bedford Heights, Ohio judge who is charged with prostitution and corruption for allegedly acting as pimp for prostitutes whose cases were handled in his courtroom, and for allegedly taking bribes. The judge willingly handed over his computer for investigation, but the investigators hit a roadblock when they could not access a part of the hard drive that was encrypted.
While prosecutors are asking a Cuyahoga County court to issue an order that would legally require the judge to give investigators the password, the judge and his attorneys are claiming that this would be a violation of the defendant's Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.
Attorney Friedman, who teaches at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, noted that this issue (the Fifth Amendment being used to protect people from having to hand over computer passwords) is relatively new. It has only become more prominent within the last five years, and courts have ruled on both sides of the issue, he said in the interview.
In discussing the nature of computer searches, Mr. Friedman compared this to the search of someone's home. He explained how extensive a home search can really be, as this may be a home filled with books containing thousands of pages, photos, tapes and things that reveal all types of information about an individual's personal life. Because of the broad consequences that can occur from a court decision such as this one, Attorney Friedman noted that this is a case that should garner a high level of public interest.In his role as an adjunct professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Mr. Friedman teaches Computer & Criminal Law. He has also taught on legal topics before other attorneys all over the nation. Ian N. Friedman, Attorney at Law offers high-quality defense in all kinds of criminal cases. Contact our firm for help fighting your criminal charges!