- Timothy J. Conlon is an experienced divorce attorney in Providence, Rhode Island...
Rhode Island Family Court issues order for forensic back up of husband's computer where spyware was installed on wife's laptop.
Feelings run high in divorces, and unfortunately, some people try do-it-yourself remedies when it comes to computer discovery in divorce. Often, an amateur investigation can not only fail, it can result in a criminal prosecution.
Many of us heard of the Detroit husband charged criminally when he accessed his wife's email during custody litigation, allegedly obtaining her password without authorization. http://knowledgebase.findlaw.com/kb/2011/Jan/260409.html. Nowadays In divorces, what better way to find out what a spouse is up to than to see their email?
There is a right way and a wrong way to go about electronic discovery. A client recently found that spyware had been installed on her computer, and that it had sent regular 'blasts' of data secretly to her ex-husband. They had on-going litigation in the Rhode Island Family Court, and her ex certainly seemed to know her every move.
Until the day of Court.
Working with a computer forensics consultant, we documented the installation and use of spyware on the wife's computer, and filed an emergency motion causing the Court to order a immediate forensic back up of the husband's cell phone and computers on the spot. He surrendered his phone to his lawyer in the court house, who in turn tendered it for forensic examination. The technician then left with the husband to take possession of 2 terabytes of hard drive data, which was preserved to further investigate the hack.
The takeaway - computer forensics and electronic discovery in divorce is not a do-it-yourself project.