“A computer hard drive is a tangible object. These drives were ‘obtained from or belonged to the defendant.’ The State had not used the computers at any time after it accessed them to create the EnCase mirror image copies. The State posits there is a chance the computer hard drives would fail if accessed by Dingman because they sat unused in State custody for some period of time. However, the State’s speculation about possible damage fails the test set out in Boyd: that the State show – rather than claim or allege – that it is placing appropriate restrictions on discovery. Even assuming the defense could damage a hard drive by turning a computer on, the State already has complete mirror images of the drives it created when it seized the hard drives. These mirror images could be used to check any discrepancies between the computer drives when accessed by the State and when accessed by the defense. The trial court erred in denying Dingman’s motion to access his hard drives.” Moreover, “In the event he was not allowed to access the drives, Dingman also requested mirror image copies made with the Ghost program, as his expert was not trained to use EnCase and that neither defense counsel nor the expert owned a version of EnCase. As previously noted, any potential alteration to the hard drives original condition that the Ghost software might cause can be detected because the State has the EnCase mirror image copies. Moreover, the State has a license to use Ghost. The State’s remaining related objections, that the conversion to Ghost would be time consuming and that it need not conform discovery to Dingman’s whims, are insufficient to overcome the goal of open discovery.” State v. Dingman, 202 P.3d 388 (Wash. App. 2009).
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