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Searches and Seizure of Computers and Electronic Evidence:Legal and Testimonial Considerations for Law Enforcement


Course Description:

A 3 day hands on course for the law enforcement officers . This course provides basic information to the street-level investigator and search personnel in the proper procedures for seizing computer systems used in the commission of a crime. It explains the special needs of the field examiner or forensic expert and includes some legal issues such as probable cause and evidence preservation peculiar to seizing computer systems.
The course is a prelude to forensic instruction on retrieving or recovering data from the system.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, the officer will be able to explain how computers, the internet and digital storage media can be utilized in criminal activity.
The officer will be able to identify a variety of computers, network equipment and digital storage devices which may be encountered in connection with criminal investigations.
The officer will be able to correctly draft a search warrant affidavit to seize digital evidence.
The officer will be able to correctly plan and execute a search warrant for digital evidence including: a search plan, initial entry, survey, site documentation, interviews, computer system documentation, searches for computer related computer information, photographing computer systems, securing computer systems and  storage media, packaging, storage and transportation of digital evidence.
The officer will be able to explain the roles, responsibilities and limitations of computer  to forensic examiners, analysts and investigators

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Course  Requirements

All delegates must complete 7S LF-105 or have permission from our course director before taking this course.

Course Topics:

Topics in this course include the following:

  • Overview of Cyber Crimes
  • Introduction to Forensics/Sources of Digital Evidence
  • Search and Seizure of Computers and Obtaining Electronic Evidence
  • Elements of a Valid Search Warrant
  • office policies – computer searches
  • Comp. search planning
  • Operations orders and checklists
  • Search execution
  • Packing, transporting, and storage of digital evidence

Establishing Probable Cause –

Part #A: Is there Probable Cause to Believe that Evidence is on a Known Suspect's Computer?
Part #B: Given a Known Crime, Identifying the Person Who Committed it by Using Electronic Evidence
Part #C: Is there Probable Cause to believe that Evidence is on a Known Suspect's Computer?

  • Search Strategies and Warrant Execution Issues
  • Mock computer search warrant
  • Private Searches and Expectations of Privacy
  • Exigent Circumstances
  • Consent Searches
  • Common Scenarios in Computer Crime Investigations
  • Overview of a Motions Hearing
  • Affidavits – Elements of, Expertise of Affiant, Drafting Exercise
  • Testimony &Moot Court demo
  • Assessment test

Completion Conditions:

A delegate is considered to have completed this course if he/she attends all three days, and satisfactorily completes the assigned exercises/tasks/tests. On completion each delegate is presented with a certificate of completion for 7 S LF 206.