Prosecutors Bail on Xbox Modding Case

December 2, 2010 -

Federal Prosecutors in the nation’s first jury trial to test the anti-circumvention provisions of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act abruptly asked that the case be dismissed today. Today's news comes on the heels of a tumultuous day in Federal Court yesterday. The presiding judge berated prosecutors for a litany of holes and contradictions in the government's case. The judge's strong words caused the prosecution to take a recess to decide whether to even bother to continue. They decided to forge ahead, and watched as their first witness ruined the case.

That first witness was Tony Rosario, an undercover agent with the Entertainment Software Association, who secretly recorded the defendant Matthew Crippen modding an Xbox. Rosario paid Crippen $60 bucks for the modification. Rosario had responded to an ad Crippen put on the internet, and met him at his Anaheim house. The government was trying to prove that Crippen was violating a provision in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act by modding consoles. They also alleged that the hotel car-parking manager ran a small business from his Anaheim home.

So far so good for the prosecution, but here is where the case really unraveled, according to Wired (thanks E. Zachary Knight):

All of that had been laid out in pre-trial motions. But during his testimony, Rosario also said Crippen inserted a pirated video game into the console to verify that the hack worked. That was a new detail that helped the government meet an obligation imposed by the judge that very morning, when Gutierrez ruled that the government had to prove Crippen knew he was breaking the law by modding Xboxes.

But nowhere in Rosario’s reports or sworn declarations was it mentioned that Crippen put a pirated game into the console. Shortly before Rosario’s testimony during opening statements, defense attorney Koren Bell told jurors that there would be no evidence of that kind.

Defense attorney Callie Steele objected to the new testimony. And as court was to get underway here early Thursday, prosecutor Chiu told the judge that he first learned of Rosario’s newfound recollection days before trial. Chiu conceded he never forwarded that information to the defense.

Defense attorney Callie Steele objected to the new testimony because the information was never disclosed to the defense. The prosecution said that it had learned of these new facts on Sunday, but conceded that the information was never forwarded to the defense.

Prosecutor Allen Chiu asked that the case be dismissed because of the omission, and in the interest of "fairness and justice."

After the case was dismissed Crippen said: "It still has not hit me yet." When asked what he planned to do now that the case was behind him, Crippen added "I’m going back to school."

Crippen has a year left to earn a liberal arts degree from Cal State Fullerton. He wants to be a high school special-education and math teacher.


Comments

Re: Prosecutors Bail on Xbox Modding Case

I for one am very glad it went this way.The guy was looking at 10 years for this.I know of rapists and child molesters that do less time than that.No matter your opinion on the whole modding/piracy issue, there is no way to justify this guy spending more time in jail than a rapist.

Re: Prosecutors Bail on Xbox Modding Case

The judge tells them they are missing a component needed to argue the alleged crime and the next day a key witness "remembers" that, "oh wait, that really important key thing, it DID happen. Scouts honor". Makes me SICK. These people are corrupt, dishonest, scum bags. I hope they rot.

Re: Prosecutors Bail on Xbox Modding Case

Oh, I'm SURE the single most incriminating fact in the case just slipped his mind until right after the judge told them they had no case.

Re: Prosecutors Bail on Xbox Modding Case

The prosecutors thought that they were going to hang the guy dry, and when they saw that they were going to lose, they preferred to bail out rather than letting this sit jurisprudence.

Fairness and justice?. Hah. Like any of the MAFIAA's lawyers know what any of those two words mean.

Re: Prosecutors Bail on Xbox Modding Case

Exactly.  This way they can blame one bad witness, cut their losses, and leave it with no precedent set so that they can lie in wait for the NEXT guy to sue and make a stronger case then.

Still, it's a big win for the good guys.

Re: Prosecutors Bail on Xbox Modding Case

This video sums up the proscution pretty well

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMWN-HSR-rM

Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

America has just became its own version of the Jerry Springer Show after a bizarre moment in Florida involving a carnival worker.

 
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PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
Adam802Leland Yee and Jackson get trial date: http://sfbay.ca/2014/12/18/leland-yee-keith-jackson-get-trial-date/12/19/2014 - 5:24pm
MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
MaskedPixelanteSeriously, the so-called "Last Chance" sale was up to 80% off, while this one time only return sale goes for a flat 85% off with a 90% off upgrade if you buy the whole catalogue.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
Papa MidnightAh, so it was downtime. I've been seeing post appear in my RSS feed, but I was unable to access GamePolitics today across several ISPs.12/18/2014 - 6:06pm
james_fudgeSorry for the downtime today, folks.12/18/2014 - 5:54pm
 

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