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State ex rel Tuller v. Crawford

January 25, 2007

STATE OF MISSOURI EX REL. MATTHEW TULLER, RELATOR,
v.
THE HONORABLE WILLIAM C. CRAWFORD, RESPONDENT.



Appeal From: Original Proceeding in Prohibition.

Per curiam.

Opinion

Opinion Vote: Garrison, Barney, and Lynch, JJ., concur.

Opinion:

Matthew Tuller ("Relator"), filed a petition for writ of mandamus and/or prohibition in this Court seeking an order to compel the Honorable William C. Crawford, Judge of the Circuit Court of Jasper County ("Respondent"), to direct the State of Missouri to produce to Relator a true and accurate bit image copy of certain computer disc drives and digital and magnetic storage media seized and held by the State in connection with criminal charges pending against Relator. We issued a preliminary order directing Respondent to file an answer. Respondent has not filed an answer or other responsive pleading in this Court. In the interest of justice, we dispense with briefing and argument and issue our peremptory writ in prohibition.

See Rule 84.24(j).*fn1

Factual and Procedural Background

Relator is charged in the Circuit Court of Jasper County with the class B felony of promoting child pornography in the first degree, in violation of Section 573.025. On August 4, 2006, Relator filed a "Motion to Produce" in the trial court seeking an order "directing the State to provide counsel for defendant with a true ENCASE image copy of each hard drive, floppy disk, CD ROM and any other magnetic/digital media recovered from [Relator]" by law enforcement officers in connection with the charges pending against him. Relator's motion stated that the ENCASE image copies were needed "for the purpose of examination and submission to experts" in preparation of Relator's defense.

Initially, on August 22, 2006, Respondent sustained Relator's motion and ordered the State to "produce to [Relator's] counsel a true and accurate bit image copy utilizing EnCase[] forensic software" of specific computer disc drives and digital and magnetic media seized in connection with the case. On September 13, 2006, the State filed a response to Relator's motion to produce asking the trial court to withdraw its order of August 22, 2006, for the reason that compliance with the order would require the State to violate federal law. Specifically, the State referred to Section 504 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (referred hereafter as "Section 504"),*fn2 which provides as follows:

sec. 504. prevention of distribution of child pornography used as evidence in prosecutions.

Section 3509 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

"(m) Prohibition on Reproduction of Child Pornography.--

"(1) In any criminal proceeding, any property or material that constitutes child pornography (as defined by section 2256 of this title) shall remain in the care, custody, and control of either the Government or the court.

"(2)(A) Notwithstanding Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a court shall deny, in any criminal proceeding, any request by the defendant to copy, photograph, duplicate, or otherwise reproduce any property or material that constitutes child pornography (as defined by section 2256 of this title), so long as ...


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