Thursday, December 7, 2006
The Evolution of Crime in the 21st Century conference of the Continuing Legal Education of Georgia had some fascinating programs yesterday. Ken Morris and Jake Waldrop of the Federal Public Defender's Office gave a superb overview of Computer Forensics and Internet Based Sex Crimes at the Federal Level. They discussed "what a lawyer needs to know about electronic evidence," computer forensics like acquisition ("usually when law enforcement makes the biggest mistakes"), and common myths related to technology (e.g., "delete means delete").
Another program that caught my eye was Mortgage Fraud: A Modern Crime Wave. As the Circuit is where the McFarland case rests ( 30 year sentence to an attorney who is a first offender) (see post here), it was interesting to hear the take of players in this area of the law. The panel consisted of AUSA Barbara Nelson, David McLaughlin - an Asst. AG in Georgia, Daniel Griffin (Miller & Martin); and Holly A. Pierson (NelsonMullins). Paul Kish, the moderator of this panel, and co-chair of the program, asked some very telling questions. Two major cases are in the pipeline here and they will clearly be cases to watch. One question raised among the group was whether jurors understand this type of fraud case. Do they get bogged down with the documentation and recall just being in the room when they too signed mortgage papers without really reading them? Or, is it that the public is tired of their community taxes going up or property values going down because of mortgage failures in the community, and are thus ready to convict for these types of crimes. One thing is for certain --- taking the risk of trial can result in an astronomically high sentence because of the existing federal sentencing scheme being used.