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A Cell Phone Saves the Day

In today's high-tech society, most of us can't imagine surviving without a cell phone. And for one criminal defendant, a cell phone -- or at least cell phone records -- spared him a conviction and jail time, as reported in this article, Cellphone Records Help to Clear a Murder Suspect (8/24/07). In July 2006, Eric Wright was arrested and charged with fatally shooting Tyrell Pope in east New York in Brooklyn. Wright told his lawyers that he'd been in New Jersey at the time of the shooting (and, indeed, claimed that he heard the shots being fired while on his cell phone with a friend who was in east New York). Wright's attorney obtained a copy of the cell phone records, which, sure enough, showed that he'd been in Newark, N.J., at the time of the shooting. Initially, the prosecution minimized the significance of the cell phone records, arguing that there was no proof that Wright was using the phone. But when other evidence emerged that called Wright's involvement into question, the prosecution dismissed the case. 

Of course, as with other potentially exculpatory evidence, like DNA, there's also a downside to cell phone records: Just as they may exonerate defendants, cell phone records can just as easily implicate them as well.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on August 24, 2007 at 06:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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