Mass. Court Orders Defendant to Unencrypt His Computer
The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has ordered a defendant to decrypt his computer after he told police during a post-arrest interview, he had the ability to do so.
Because Gelfgatt already admitted to police that he owned and controlled the seized computers and had the ability to decrypt them, the court found that the act of decryption would not reveal anything new to the police. Therefore, the act of compelled decryption was not “testimonial.” Normally, the Fifth Amendment privilege prevents the government from forcing a witness to disclose incriminating information in his mind (like a password not written down anywhere else)—but only if that is information the police do not already know.
The defendant is a lawyer charged with mortgage fraud. He should have known better. Miranda rights are there for a reason -- use them or lose them.
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