Man and Police Argue about Fate of Computer in Obscenity Case
Byline: Charles Keeshan and Adam Kovac
Michael A. Jones is a free man after McHenry County prosecutors earlier this year reluctantly dismissed child pornography and obscenity charges against him.
Jones' computer may not be so lucky.
A McHenry County judge is scheduled to decide next month whether authorities can destroy the Wonder Lake man's computer and copies of its hard drive to eliminate images they say constitute child pornography and obscenity.
In court papers seeking the items' destruction, Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Tiffany Davis says there is no other way to get rid of the illegal materials.
"It's not possible for these images to ever be deleted from the hard drive of the computer," she states. "The only way to destroy those images is to destroy the computer itself and the copies of the hard drives."
Besides Jones' computer, prosecutors are asking the defense to turn over copies of the hard drive they received in pre-trial preparation for destruction.
Jones' attorneys are fighting the state's request, arguing that there are ways to eliminate the images in question without eliminating the computer. The computer and its hard drive, they say, contain numerous business records and other completely legal items important to their client.
Jones, 48, was charged with several counts of child pornography and obscenity in 2001 following a police raid on his home and photography studio in the small McHenry County village of Greenwood. At the time, Jones was running a business that distributed pornographic images to publishers and Web-site operators.
Prosecutors were forced to abandon the case after a judge ruled the search warrant police used to conduct the raid violated Jones' First Amendment protections. …