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The People v. Vincent Michael Stipo

May 16, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
VINCENT MICHAEL STIPO, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Thomas C. Falls, Judge Superior Court County of Los Angeles (Super. Ct. No. KA085681-01)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbert, P.J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Los Angeles County

A subscriber has no expectation of privacy in the subscriber information he supplies to his Internet provider. Therefore, his challenge to a warrant requiring his Internet provider to identify him through his Internet Protocol (IP) number has no merit.

Vincent Michael Stipo appeals a judgment following his no contest pleas to wiretapping (Pen. Code, § 631, subd. (a)) and unlawfully accessing computer information (§ 502, subd. (c)(2)).*fn1 The trial court denied Stipo's motions to suppress evidence that the police obtained in two searches. We conclude, among other things, that 1) Stipo lacks standing to challenge a search warrant served on Time Warner Cable (Time Warner) directing it to provide subscriber information, and 2) the absence of an incorporation by reference clause for an exhibit to a search warrant affidavit is not a substantial defect. We affirm.

FACTS

In January 2008, a computer hacker unlawfully entered the Hacienda La Puente High School District (District) computer network. The hacker gained control of the District's "routers," changed their "configuration," and installed "unauthorized tunnels" to route the data on the network to the hacker's computer. This gave him access to payroll and employee records, birthdates, social security numbers, and other confidential data.

Michael Droe, the District's computer expert, was able to identify the hacker's IP address as 76-174-58-173 within the Time Warner Roadrunner network.

Police Officer Rene Mesta applied for a search warrant to require Time Warner to identify the subscriber who had IP address 76-174-58-173 at the time of the unauthorized access. Mesta attached to the search warrant affidavit: exhibit one, Droe's summary of facts, and exhibit two, Mesta's investigation report which notes Droe's identification of the suspect's IP address as 76-174-58-173.

The search warrant issued on January 28. Time Warner identified the IP address as Stipo's; it provided his street address and verified that he had a current account with the company. Mesta received this information on May 2.

This, in turn, led to the application and issuance of a warrant on August 1 to search Stipo's residence. Mesta wrote in his affidavit that computer crimes were committed at Stipo's residence and "items sought in connection with the crime . . . will be found" there. At Stipo's residence, the police found a diagram that "mapped the intrusion" into the District's network and digital evidence on his laptop that connected him to the crime.

Stipo moved to quash the search warrants and to suppress evidence the police obtained from his residence and to suppress the IP subscriber information they obtained from Time Warner. (§ 1538.5.) He claimed, among other things, that Mesta's affidavits were insufficient to establish probable cause, exhibits were not properly incorporated into the affidavits, one affidavit listed an incorrect time for the computer intrusion, and the good faith exception to the warrant requirement did not apply. The trial court denied the motions.

DISCUSSION

Expectation of ...


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