Google Searches Used To Convict Hit-And-Run Driver

from the google-searches-in-a-court-of-law dept

In the past, we’ve noted various lawsuits where Google searches done by the accused were used against them in a court of law. There was the guy who searched on “neck snap break,” days before his wife was murdered, and then there was the woman who searched on “how to commit murder” and other rather damning phrases like “instant poison” and “undetectable poisons,” before her husband was murdered. In yet another such case, an investment banker has been convicted of a hit-and-run that killed a woman, after his Google searches soon after the accident turned up the phrase “hit and run.” The guy had claimed that he believed he hit a deer, but his Google searches suggested he knew it was a person. Beyond just searching for the phrase hit and run, he also did searches on: “auto glass reporting requirements to law enforcement,” “auto glass, Las Vegas,” auto parts, auto theft, and the Moraga Police Department. Since the incident was in California, the thinking was he was looking to get the damage to his car repaired out of state to avoid any suspicion from the auto repair place. While the guy appealed the ruling saying that even with those searches he didn’t have any actual knowledge he had hit a person, the appeals court didn’t find that to be very convincing.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Google Searches Used To Convict Hit-And-Run Driver”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
zcat says:

Re: New privacy feature slogan

Not really. If the police had strong enough suspicions to persuade a judge and get a warrant I’m pretty sure google would hand over the search records. And I know the ISP would help them tie the IP address to the customer ‘cos they’ll do that for the MAFIAA even without a warrant.

If I planned to murder anyone and used teh intarweb for any of the planning, I’d be sure to use tor first and dban afterwards..

Bill says:

cicumstantial evidence

If the foundation of the case was his use of google it seems extremely flimsy to me. I use google all the time and if someone were to pick & choose key words I’m sure they could make my searches fit any case they want to throw at me. Likewise, I think the guy got shafted, tossed in the pokey on circumstancial evidence that shouldn’t hold water. Unless someone can get him to confess or he fails a polygraph – no one really has a clue as to what he knew. The searches can infer his thought process at the time, but it alone should not be construed as intent.

David says:

Missing information???

I dont think any judge would convict on this flimsy evidence. We are probly missing information here. They Probly had other evidence against him but this evidence was used to make the conviction more harsh. Hit and run thinking you hit a deer chance of getting manslauter which carries a liter sentance. Hit and run trying to hide from police nowing you hit a persone if found hit and run to be accidental Murder 2nd dagree. I could be wrong.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...