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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

SFPD Returns Laptops to DJ, Party Guest (from The Snitch)

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 4:52 PM

TOM DOUGHERTY
  • Tom Dougherty
Fellow SF Weekly reporter Joe Eskenazi followed up on the story I broke Nov. 16 about problems DJs and partygoers were having with the SFPD seizing laptops and DJ equipment. This morning, Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jennifer Granick represented a DJ and a partygoer from a SOMA Halloween party (Justin Credible and Matthew Higgins) in a hearing with the SFPD and both finally got their computers back, after a month of them being held for no apparent reason.

Joe reports:

Following a hearing at San Francisco Superior Court today, however, two

more aggrieved party-goers had their purloined computers handed back to

them. Justin Credible and Matthew Higgins

-- both of whom were featured in Maerz' original story -- received what

their lawyer referred to as "their illegally seized laptops."


"This

is great news, and a real relief to the pair who have been without

their machines for a month," continued attorney Jennifer Grannick of

the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Both DJs had been at an underground

Halloween party; Credible told SF Weekly she hadn't even been

using her laptop to play music when the party was raided but was

instructed to remove it from her bag and hand it over nevertheless.

Granick noted that, at today's hearing, the police department's

attorney admitted that no charges were ever going to be filed against

either DJ -- yet the laptops were still seized. "San Francisco law

currently requires after-hours parties with live DJs to get a permit,

and failure to do so can be punished as a misdemeanor," continued

Granick. "But DJing an unpermitted party is not a crime, and certainly

not one for which one's laptop could be forfeited."

Check out Joe's full piece on today's hearing over at our sister blog, The Snitch. 

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Ian S. Port

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