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12-13-08, 12:30 AM #1
Restoration of Damaged Police Interview DVD Proves Instrumental in Multiple Rape Conviction
I see people laying CD's and DVD's upside down without envelopes on tables, trying to use sharp ink pens to write on the top, etc, all the time. I don't think they realize that the data on a CD is actually all under the top layer, not the bottom - And how little damage to the top layer is required to make the disk totally unusable (the cheap no-name CD's without a protective top coating are especially vulnerable - Always use a name brand)
With DVD's, CD's and memory cards replacing film for photos and video tape for dashcams, surveillance, interview videos, etc, it is important to remember to always put them in their envelope or case immediately after taking it out of a player or recorder, and always use a felt tip marker like a Sharpie to write in the top - Never anything with a hard point.
And memory cards can be destroyed with static electricity. Usually the little plastic case they come in has an anti-static coating to protect them, as well as providing physical protection to the thin card and delicate connectors.
Restored DVD key to conviction in rape case
Video testimony on the disk was unreadable; Seagate restored it
By Lucas Mearian
December 11, 2008 (Computerworld) The recovery of data from a damaged DVD helped convict a California man of multiple rapes earlier this year.
Michael Barnes, a 41-year-old convicted kidnapper, had been charged in a Santa Cruz, Calif., court with raping a woman while he was out on parole. In fact, three women -- not just one -- had accused Barnes of rape. But one of the victims' original police interviews was on a DVD that had become unreadable in the time between the interview and the trial, according to the Santa Cruz, Calif., District Attorney's Office.
After the judge in the trial ruled that the victim whose testimony was on the disk could not testify during the trial, prosecutors did not have enough evidence to build a case for multiple counts of rape against Barnes. The victim was not allowed to testify because of disputes over her original testimony, according to Santa Cruz District Attorney Andrew Isaac.
He said police recalled her statements -- the ones on the corrupted DVD -- as being different from what the victim planned to say during the trial, Isaac said. As a result, Barnes' lawyers claimed that the victim's original police interview, as police remembered it, would have been inconsistent with her trial testimony and therefore would be exculpatory evidence. "The loss of exculpatory evidence is a bad thing and the judge was inclined to punish us by not letting the witness testify because of the allegation that we'd lost the evidence," he said.
That made recovering the DVD data even more important. Two local data recovery firms had already said the videotaped interview on the DVD was unrecoverable. But by chance, Isaac's parents had a neighbor who was a retired Seagate employee. Having heard of Seagate, Isaac decided to contact the company about a medium they didn't even manufacture, hoping they could recover the data.
Seagate's i365 subsidiary has a data recovery service -- Seagate Recovery Services (SRS) -- that took on the job of trying to bring the November 2006 police interview back to life. SRS loaded the DVD into a player, but "there was nothing on the DVD.
"Our analysis showed there to be damage to the lead-in section of the data," Keith Gnagey, vice president of professional services for i365, said in an e-mail statement about the recovery effort. That meant any attempt "with normal playing software would not be able to get past the beginning of the data." But once SRS extracted an image of the data from the DVD, it was able to repair the damaged lead-in portion of the DVD, making the data -- which had always been intact -- viewable.
Once the DVD was restored, prosecutors had the evidence they needed to charge Barnes with multiple rapes involving three different women. Barnes was sentenced to 24 years in prison on Dec. 5.
"This combination was too much for the defense," Isaac said. "Mr. Barnes plead guilty, not 'no contest,' to raping all three women, waived his appeals and accepted a 24-year prison term -- a result wholeheartedly endorsed by all three survivors," Isaac said
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12-13-08, 05:02 AM #2
That's a name to remember. Great job on their part.
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
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12-13-08, 12:42 PM #3
Seagate typically makes hard drives, and decent ones at that. Good to know about their "crash and burn" data recovery service.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
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