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IPFS News Link • Criminal Justice System

Punishing Suspects without Proving Guilt


Rather than share the now-classified technological means that investigators used to locate a child porn suspect, federal prosecutors in Washington state have dropped all charges against a man accused of accessing Playpen, a notorious and now-shuttered website.

The case, United States v. Jay Michaud, is one of nearly 200 cases nationwide that have raised new questions about the appropriate limitations on the government's ability to hack criminal suspects. Michaud marks just the second time that prosecutors have asked that case be dismissed.

Of course, the government left an out for itself. Double jeopardy is a concept under United States law that protects individuals from being prosecuted for the same crime twice. However, like all concepts that appear to protect the people from the government, there are loopholes that allow double jeopardy to be bypassed. A case can be dismissed with either with or without prejudice. If a case is dismissed with prejudice then it is done. If a case is dismissed without prejudice then it can be brought back into the courtroom at a later date.