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Effort To Streamline Search And Seizure Process In Virginia Revisited

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Dozens of investigations involving child sexual predators sit on the books or are tossed out because of loopholes in the system. Now a bill, shot down during the last General Assembly session, is getting another look.

Sexual predators conduct a lot of their business on the Internet. The investigative and prosecutorial process can span multiple jurisdictions.

So when an officer from Northern Virginia, for instance, obtains a warrant for an offender in western Virginia, he must be very specific about what he's asking for, or risk losing his case. Del. Michael Webert says that's why the bill is needed.

"The bill as it stands now accomplishes the goal, which was to streamline the search and seizure process for state police on a computer, when they go in to search a computer for child porn," Webert says.

But it was referred to the Computer Crimes advisory panel due to some concerns.

"There were privacy concerns from businesses, such as Internet companies and banks," Webert says.

Webert says they believe the new language addresses all of the issues, and the bill will be resubmitted in the 2014 session, where he thinks it has a better chance of passing.


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