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TRI In The News

Privacy Issue in Albemarle County Supervisor's Sex Case


Original article available here

An Ipad is at the center of the latest legal maneuvering in the felony sex case against Albemarle County Supervisor Christopher Dumler. The device was issued by the county and in early November police obtained a search warrant for it, along with Dumler's laptop.

In a motion filed Tuesday, defense attorney Andrew Sneathern asks the Albemarle County General District Court to limit the scope of the search warrant.

"According to the lawyers, Mr. Dumler has already been cooperative with officials by turning over relevant materials, like his Ipad and cell phone and Facebook," said Charlottesville defense attorney Scott Goodman. "They say in this attempt to seize his computer, they are just fishing for anything they can find."

With regards to the motions to quash the search warrant and to suppress, Special Prosecutor Jeff Haislip said, "information in the motion is inaccurate." Haislip also said they are moving forward with the search.

"It's not difficult to allow search warrants to be upheld, " Goodman said. "They don't have to prove he's guilty, they just have to show some basis for the belief there will be some evidence possibly pertaining to a criminal act."

Dumler isn't the first public figure to have his private information accessed during an investigation. Even though General David Petraeus wasn't involved in a criminal activity, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency lost his job over inappropriate emails.

The president of the Rutherford Institute calls this a warning and a sign of the times. "The message here is be careful what you do on computers, Ipads, and cellphones," said John Whitehead. "If you're texting or sending emails there is a high likelihood someone somewhere has seen it."

Dumler's defense attorney, Andrew Sneathern, said he is in the process of scheduling a hearing on the newly filed motions. Dumler is set to appear in court on December 13.