John Balazs is an attorney in Sacramento, California, specializing in criminal defense, including appeals, habeas corpus, pardons, expungements, and civil forfeiture actions. After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1989, he clerked for Judge Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. John was an Assistant Federal Defender in Fresno and Sacramento from 1992-2001. He currently serves as an adjunct professor in clinical trial advocacy at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Please email EDCA items of interest to Balazslaw@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter @balazslaw.
This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated. Do your own research or consult with an attorney.
On July 21, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Matthew Keys's motion for bail pending appeal. He's to surrender to start serving his sentence today while his appeal proceeds. Here's his letter seeking executive clemency. My prior case posts are here.
According to the LA Times and Sacramento Bee, Judge Mueller sentenced journalist Matthew Keys today to two years in prison on his conviction for conspiring to hack into the LA Times computer system. A motion for bail pending appeal is forthcoming.
Arstechnica summarizes the parties' sentencing positions for Matthew Keys, the journalist convicted after a jury trial of three counts involving computer hacking. The government seeks a 5-year sentence; the defense requests probation. Here are links to the governments's 12-page Sentencing Memorandum and the defense's 69-page Brief. Sentencing is set for March 23 before Judge Mueller.
The trial of former KTXL Fox40 Web producer Matthew Keys in Sacramento federal court appears to be approaching its anticlimax.
The 27-year-old blogger and journalist is accused of helping hackers break into the Los Angeles Times website, where they changed the headline of a story. Keys has even confessed to the substance of the crime, though it hardly qualifies as misdemeanor vandalism. So why make a federal case out of it? Couldn’t Department of Justice resources be better directed elsewhere?
The district court denied Keys's motion to suppress in this Order (see Wired summary) and a further status conference is set for May 21, 2014.
Here's an excerpt from this Guardian piece on yesterday's hearing on the Matthew Keys motion to suppress before Judge Mueller (which I spotted on Keys twitter feed @matthewkeyslive):
Federal agents have been accused of carrying out an improper search of documents contained on the computer of a former Reuters journalist who has been charged with conspiring with hackers to deface the website of the Los Angeles Times.
Matthew Keys, 26, has been indicted for providing a username and password to the hacker group Anonymous that allowed it to hack into the Los Angeles Times website and alter a headline.
At the US district court in Sacramento on Wednesday, an attorney for Keys, Jay Leiderman, said federal agents carried out a trawl of files on Keys's computer in 2012 that was not allowed under their search warrant. He asked that information taken from the computer be suppressed by the court.
* * *
The prosecution argued that agents carried out a broad search of the computer because they were concerned relevant files could have been moved or hidden. They further argued that child pornography cases, in which entire hard drives are seized and used as evidence, set a precedent for such indiscriminate searches.
Leiderman responded by saying, as a journalist, Keys would be unlikely to move or tamper with files relating to an ongoing story and rejected the idea that child pornography cases are analogous to this case.
Judge Kimberly Mueller is expected to give her decision on the legality of the search on 26 February.
Yesterday, the Matthew Keys defense team filed their motion to suppress evidence and statements. Keys is the former Reuters social media editor charged with assisting the Anonymous group with hacking into the LA Times website. See my 3/17/13 post. The motion to suppress is available here; other publicly-filed case documents can be found on scribd here.
As a journalist known for his social media savvy and author of the news blog The Desk, it's probably not surprising (though unusual) that Keys posts documents and sometimes his personal thoughts on his case at his twitter news feed @MatthewKeysLive, such as these tweets on the motion to suppress:
Report: FBI told prosecutors "Keys probably did not hack into the P2P server," prosecutor "unconvinced" - pic.twitter.com/464lkgTUWY
Last week, the parties stipulated to a schedule for journalist defendant Matthew Keys's motion to suppress in United States v. Keys, 2:13-CR-0082-KJM. The defense motion is due December 13, 2013, to be heard on January 29, 2014 before Judge Mueller.