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IN A NY DIVORCE IF A LAPTOP HARD DRIVE WAS STOLEN FROM A ROOM I HAD EXCLUSIVE OCCUPANCE OF BY COURT CAN IT S DATA BE USED ??

Mineola, NY |

PRIOR TO THE START OF THE DIVORCE DURING MAIRRAGE I TOOK DATA FROM A FAMILY PC IN FAMILY ROOM OF HOME SAME PC MY YOUG KIDS PLAY ON I HAD HARD DRIVE COPPIED TO FIND OUT ABOUT AFFAIR AND PROOF OF PREPLANNING OF DIVORCE . A YEAR LATER AFTER FILING OF DIVORCE I HAD BY JUDGE EXCL OCCUPANCY OF A ROOM TO RETALIATE MY SPOUSE BROKE IN TO THE PADLOCKED BEDROOM STOLE HIDDEN LAPTOPS HARD DRIVE COMPLETELY REMOVING IT POLICE REPORT WAS FILED THIS LAPTOP I HAD PERSONAL AND BUSINESS DATA CAN ITS CONTENT BE USED IN DIVORCE TRIAL ? JUDGE GRANTED ORDER THAT I HAD EXCLUSIVE OCCUP OF THE ROOM SHE STOLE IT FROM? CAN THE ORIGINAL DATA I OBTAINED PRIOR TO THE START OF THE DIVORCE FROM A PC I OWNED IN THE FAMILY ROOM BE USED AT TRIAL ?? CAN THE DATA MY WIFE GOT FROM MY ROOM BE USED?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. First, all discoveralble items must be exchanged prior to trial. If the information stolen was going to be used at trial, you would have to file for a protective order. You will have the burden of showing that the item in question was stolen in violation of a court order and was illegally obtained. Generally, information obtained illegally is not admissible at trial.

    The opinion herein does not constitute legal representation in any way or establish an attorney-client relatioship.


  2. If evidence is obtained by illegal means the answer would usually be no, however you raise an interesting fact. The computer was in the family room and it was accessible to family members. Therefore the question becomes whether this is solely your property or marital and whether the was an expectation of privacy. If the information contained should have been turned over during discovery you also will want to ask yourself why did you not abide by a court order yourself.

    I think you should sit down with your attorney with whom you have privileged conversations and discuss your concerns.
    I hope you found this helpful.

    The above answer does not constitute an attorney client relationship and/ or retention of counsel. This answer is based upon the facts presented and may change if additional information is provided. The rules of the Bar for New York State may require me to advise that this could be construed as attorney advertisement.


  3. That depends upon the context. You should consult an attorney and discuss the specific issues raised by the data as well as the status of discovery.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.


  4. You might want to note the Court of Appeals holding in Sackler v. Sackler, 15 N.Y.2d
    40, 255 N.Y.S.2d 83, 203 N.E.2d 481 (1964), where proof of the wife’s adultery was secured by
    means of an illegal forcible entry into the wife's home by the husband and several private
    investigators employed by him was found to be admissible, on the grounds that the Fourth
    Amendment protections of privacy against unlawful searches and seizures is in applicable to searches and seizures by any persons other than government officers and agents. That suggest to me the evidence would be admissible, but you should still consult with a lawyer to see if there might a different basis for exclusion.


  5. Would this data have been available from another source? If the only way she could have gotten the data is illegally, she should be precluded from presenting that evidence. The key is how the issues are presented to the judge to get the proper result.


  6. Your question is too long and convoluted to be answered in an e-mail.
    Generally, however, the parties must exchange all data and information which they plan to use at trial. You then could make a motion to preclude (prevent) your wife from submitting any material she obtained illegally. I cannot say what the outcome of such a motion might be.

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