Evidence in a four-year-old child porn case was first presented to law enforcement by a trio of Geek Squad techs moonlighting as FBI informents. According to court documents, the Best Buy staffers regularly checked customers' hard drives for "evidence" that could earn them up to $500 per find. But the photo in question was found within the computer's unallocated "trash" space, meaning it could have been placed there unbeknownst to the owner, and more importantly, the case raises Fourth Amendment issues regarding warrantless government searches. [Best Buy says it has no relationship with the FBI and zero tolerance for employees who accept payment from the agency, but does have a moral and legal obligation to turn illicit material over to law enforcement if discovered unintentionally.]
"FBI agents and prosecutors usually strut inside Santa Ana's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, knowing they've focused the wrath of the criminal-justice system on a particular criminal. But an unusual child-pornography-possession case has placed officials on the defensive for nearly 26 months. Questions linger about law-enforcement honesty, unconstitutional searches, underhanded use of informants and twisted logic."