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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.
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thumbdrives and a portable hard drive was stolen by a former

Resolved Question:

thumbdrives and a portable hard drive was stolen by a former renter/roommate and turned in to the sheriff's office stating that there was photos of myself with my pet in a sex act. He did not have my permission to look in my house for those items that were hidden for the fact it was personal and private. Can I be charged with anything found on those drives when who knows what could have happened between the time they left my possession to the sheriff.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
Hi and thank you for using JustAnswer!

Please clarify: have you been contacted by the sheriff's office for questioning?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No I haven't. I've called them to find out if I could have my property returned since it was stolen out of my home.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. So long as the police do not have independent evidence which corroborates that those photos were created in an illegal fashion, there should be no charges.

In other words, there can be no admissions by you as to how the photos came about.

If there's no corroborating evidence, then no criminal charges should follow.

It has been my pleasure to assist you today with your information needs. It is my goal that you are satisfied and select the Happy Smiley Face. No expert can promise you an answer that is favorable to your circumstances. But I will do my very best to explain the legal principles that are related to the facts you’ve described so that you can better understand the “why” of things.

If you have a follow-up question, please reply and ask it.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was told by the sheriff that he needed a court order to have my property sent to the crime lab to view what was on there and from there that if there is anything ie photos and such that I could be charged. How can property stolen be open and viewed just on hearsay by the person who stole it?
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
The police didn't steal it -- they committed no legal wrong.

The hearsay of the third party is sufficient probable cause for a judge to sign an order. Search orders do not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt with admissible evidence -- they only require probable cause. It's a far lower burden of proof.

I hope this helps to clarify things.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Even tho the 3rd party is of questionable character himself and wanting to cause harm the sheriff office will still want to look into this? I guess I am wondering what the sheriff's office hope to gain by this. Even if the worse of the worse is there and I am not admitting that I've done anything what could the possible charges be and the sentence?
And is there anything I can do to gain my property back?
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 5 years ago.
You can contact a local attorney to assist in trying to get the property by via threats of a lawsuit.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court previously ruled that it is not a crime to create or sell depictions of animal cruelty. U.S. v. Stevens.

As a general matter, however, understand that having sex with an animal is considered to be a form of animal abuse.
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