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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Matthew Wilson@info depends on the sector. for example, have you looked at how powerful unions are in the public sector? I will make the argument they have too much power in that sector.07/07/2015 - 12:39pm
InfophileIt's easy to worry about unions having too much power and causing harm. The odd thing is, why do people seem to worry about that more than the fact that business-owners can have too much power and do harm, particularly at a time when unions have no power?07/07/2015 - 12:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthe thing is unions earned their bad reputation in the US. the way unions oparate the better at your job you are, the likely you want to be in a union.07/07/2015 - 11:33am
InfophilePut that way, "right to work" seems to have BLEEP-all to do with gay rights. Thing is, union-negotiated contracts used to be one of the key ways to prevent employers from firing at will. Without union protection, nothing stops at-will firing.07/07/2015 - 11:06am
Infophilehas an incentive to pay dues if they're represented either way, so the union is starved for funds and dies, unless things are bad enough that people will pay dues anyway.07/07/2015 - 11:02am
InfophileFor those who don't know, "right to work" laws mean that it can't be a condition of an employment contract that you pay union dues. That is, the right to work without having to pay dues. Catch is, unions have to represent non-members as well, so no one...07/07/2015 - 11:01am
MechaCrashUnexpected? Seriously?07/07/2015 - 10:55am
Mattsworknamejob they wanted without the unions getting involved. The problem is, it has some unexpected side effects, like the ones Info mentioned07/07/2015 - 8:49am
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Infophile(cont'd) discriminatory. This can only be done for protected classes which are outlined in law (race, sex, religion, ethnicity everywhere, sexual orientation in some states). So, a gay person could be fired because they're gay and have no recourse there.07/07/2015 - 7:27am
Infophile@Goth: See here: http://www.snopes.com/politics/sexuality/firedforbeinggay.asp for a good discussion on it. Basically, the problem is that in the US, most states allow at will firing, and it's the burden of the fired person to prove the firing was ...07/07/2015 - 7:25am
Goth_SkunkAssuming that's true, then that is a fight worth fighting for.07/07/2015 - 6:58am
Yuuri@ Goth_Skunk, in many states being gay is not a protected status akin to say race or religion. It's also in the "Right to work" states. Those are the states where one can be fired for any reason (provided it isn't a "protected" one.)07/07/2015 - 6:07am
Goth_Skunkregarded as a beacon of liberty and freedom that is the envy of the world, would not have across-the-board Human Rights laws that don't at the very least equal those of my own country.07/07/2015 - 5:47am
Goth_SkunkI find that hard to believe, Infophile. I have difficulty believing employers can *still* fire people for being gay. I would need to see some evidence that this is fact, because as a Canadian, I can't believe that the United States,07/07/2015 - 5:46am
InfophileFor that matter, even women don't yet have full legal equality with men. The US government still places limits on the positions women can serve in the military. And that's just the legal side of things - the "culture wars" are more than just laws.07/07/2015 - 5:43am
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Goth_Skunkand now they've switched to battles that don't need to be fought.07/07/2015 - 5:37am
Goth_SkunkIn my opinion, it was the final legal hurdle denying homosexual couples final and recognized statuses as eligible spouses. But even though this war's been won, some people are still too keen to keep fighting battles,07/07/2015 - 5:28am
 

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