Forgetting passwords for an electronic device could be an option for suspects to avoid complying with a court order, but sometimes things can go wrong.
US judges have other opinions to punish suspects that decide to don’t collaborate with law enforcement refusing to unlock their smartphones.
Last week, a defendant was punished with six months jail for allegedly refusing to reveal his iPhone passcode, while a second defendant walks through after he claimed he forgot his passcode.
A Florida court judge ruled last week that child abuse defendant Christopher Wheeler, 41, must serve 180 days in jail for not handing over his correct iPhone passcode to police. The man insisted that the passcode he provided to the police to unlock the mobile phone was correct.
“I swear, under oath, I’ve given [the detectives] the password,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler is accused of mistreatment against her daughter, the man was arrested and he was taken into custody in a Broward Circuit Court on Tuesday after the police were not able to access the content of his iPhone using the passcode he provided.
Investigators believe that the iPhone may contain photos of Wheeler child’s injuries,
“Detectives believe that his phone contains images of repeated injuries to the child, which could prove evidence in the case. A Broward judge earlier authorized a search warrant for Wheeler’s iPhone, but detectives had been unable to get in.” states the Miami Herald
“When a judge ordered him to provide the pass code, it didn’t work. Rothschild held him in criminal contempt earlier this month.”
This isn’t the unique case in which defendant refused to give the passcode.
In a different court, a Florida judge was facing an extortion case in which defendant that claimed to have forgotten the passcode for his BlackBerry phone.
In this second case, Wesley Victor and his girlfriend Hencha Voigt (a reality TV star) are accused of threatening to release sex tapes stolen from local social media celeb YesJulz unless she paid $18,000.
The sex tapes were published online, but in order to demonstrate that Victor and Voigt posted them online investigators need to access the iPhone.
“The judge made the right call,” Victor’s lawyer Zeljka Bozanic said. “My client testified he did not remember. It’s been almost a year. Many people, including myself, can’t remember passwords from a year ago.”
According to the Fifth Amendment, defendants have the rights to not to say anything that could be used against them. A passcode or any other personal information are protected by the amendment, considering that the number of similar cases is increasing it is expected a final judgment from the United States Supreme Court before.
(Security Affairs – iPhone passcode, hacking)