- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) - A judge on Friday threw out a criminal case against the former head of the Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force, saying investigators destroyed evidence in the case by ignoring computer search protocol.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Kelly Ravassipour dismissed the charges against former Central Point police Lt. Josh Moulin, ruling that investigators deviated from established policy and did so in bad faith, reports the Medford Mail Tribune (https://bit.ly/1Jdwtu2 ).

“This is not a case where a lay person negligently turned a computer on; this is a case where trained forensics examiners blatantly disregarded all protocols and training and went on a fishing expedition in a forensically unsound manner,” Ravassipour wrote in her decision.

The dismissal said Moulin’s 13-inch MacBook was seized from an office desk in 2012 and opened and searched two weeks later.

Prosecutors argued that the search by city IT specialist Jeff McJunkin and Klamath Falls Police Department Detective Mike Anderson was conducted before Moulin was subject to a criminal investigation.

In her dismissal, Ravassipour also said the investigators did not follow strict in-house procedures that would have preserved the computer’s contents.

A Central Point City statement called some of Ravassipour’s language “surprising and contrary to our internally held opinions.”

City Manager Chris Clayton said the city was a third party to the case and did not desire any particular outcome, but would not elaborate because of the possibility that the ruling could be appealed.

One of Moulin’s defense attorneys, Kristen Winemiller, said she does not expect the state to appeal because “there’s no public value in pursuing this.”

Winemiller said Moulin admitted to deleting some personal information like family computer passwords and bank information before turning the computer over to the city.

She says that would have been proven if the computer had not been opened.

Moulin resigned from the department in July 2012 and has moved to Nevada. He did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

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Information from: Mail Tribune, https://www.mailtribune.com/

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