How Computer Forensics Can Affect Your Divorce Case
People are spending an increasing amount of their lives on digital and electronic devices, such as laptops, smartphones, and computers. In many cases, such digital information can have a significant impact on divorces and child custody cases, such as by providing evidence of adultery or child neglect. Family law is responding to this increasing prevalence of digital information with the use of computer forensics. In the past, a divorce case may have involved evidence gathered by a private investigator. Nowadays, computer forensics is no different: hiring a computer forensics investigator can help unearth important information that can significantly affect the outcome of a divorce or child custody case.
What is computer forensics?
Computer forensics investigators are the private investigators of the digital world. These experts use high-tech hardware to retrieve digital information that is stored on an electronic device, such as on a smartphone or laptop. Computer forensics investigators are different from a simple computer expert that a person might use to fix a broken computer. For one, Texas law provides that computer forensics investigators must be licensed by the state’s Private Security Board. Furthermore, such investigators rely on software and hardware that simple computer experts do not have access to. For example, computer forensics experts may be able to retrieve digital information that has been deleted or damaged.
Computer forensics in divorce
While Texas grants no-fault divorces, meaning that a divorce can be granted without the need to prove fault on the part of one of the spouses, at-fault divorces are still possible under Texas law. An at-fault divorce can have a significant impact on how marital property and assets are divided between the divorcing spouses. One of the most common reasons for an at-fault divorce is adultery. However, adultery needs to be proven in order for a judge to rule that it serves as grounds for a divorce. A computer forensics investigator can help retrieve digital information, such as emails, text messages, voice mail, and call records, that can help prove adultery. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that adultery alone will not necessarily result in a greater share of the marital estate being distributed to a person whose spouse cheated on him or her. Instead, the spouse must prove that the adultery led to the breakup of the marriage or resulted in the cheating spouse taking a share of the marital estate to support his or her affair. For example, computer forensic evidence may be able to show that a cheating spouse used a portion of the marital estate to buy gifts for the person he or she was having an adulterous affair with. To prove that adultery was the cause of marital breakdown, a divorcing spouse should always consult with an experienced divorce attorney.
Child custody and support
Computer forensics can also have an important impact on child custody and support cases. For example, an investigator may be able to find digital evidence showing that one spouse has neglected to properly care for a child. Such evidence can include information stored on smartphones, such as photos, videos, texts, and emails. In some cases, even if the offending spouse has deleted such evidence a computer forensics investigator may still be able to retrieve that data. Additionally, even if neglect or abuse problems are not at issue in a child custody or support case, other factors may come to light through a computer forensics investigation. An investigation, for example, may uncover evidence that a parent who is subject to a child support order has been less than honest about his income. This evidence can be used to modify and potentially increase child support payments.
As digital and electronic information take on a bigger role in Texas divorce cases, it is important for any divorcing spouse to know how such evidence may impact their particular case. An experienced divorce attorney will not only explain how computer forensics may help a client’s divorce or child custody case, but he can also help clients get in touch with experienced and trusted computer forensics investigators.
The 5 Longest Prison Sentences Ever Handed Out
Prison sentences have been baffling and down right shocking for as long as the legal process has been active. Most prison sentences leave us wondering why. Some prison sentences make it seem like the criminal is getting away with murder (no pun intended) while others are given 1000’s of years for much smaller infractions. We decided to take a look at some of the bigger prison sentences and find out what nefarious act the perp committed to warrant such drastic prison sentences.
Here are the 5 longest prison sentences ever handed out.
On Halloween night in 1976, a man named Dudley Wayne Kyzer went to his mother-in-law’s house to confront his estranged wife, Diane. Upon entering the house, Kyzer encountered a college student visiting the house and shot him to death while he was on his knees begging for his life. Kyzer’s mother-in-law was in the bedroom trying to call police for help when she was shot pointblank in the forehead. Kyzer’s estranged wife, Diane tried to run with her six year old son but was shot in the chest. She made it to a neighbor’s yard where she collapsed and died while urging the boy to keep running. After a four day search, Kyzer was apprehended. A jury spent less than an hour to find him guilty and sentence him to death by electric chair.
But, In 1980, the Alabama Supreme Court decided his death penalty was unconstitutional because the jurors were not thoroughly instructed that a lesser sentence could have been issued. After four years on death row, Kyzer was given a new trial. Prosecuters decided that due to the death penalty laws being unclear, they would make sure Kyzer would never be released. On December 4,1981 in Alabama, Dudley Wayne Kyzer was handed a 10,000 year sentence and three life sentences for each of the victims he killed.
Our fourth longest prison sentence comes from Tulsa Oklahoma where a woman was driven off US Highway 75 by three men who ended up kidnapping the woman and driving her around the highways of Oklahoma where they eventually ended at the victim’s home where she was assaulted and raped repeatedly. She was able to get to a phone and call for help. In 1994, one of the men, Allan Wayne McLaurin was sentenced to 21,250 years. He was sentenced to 2,000 years on each count of rape, 2,000 years on each count of forcible sodomy, 1,750 years for assault with a deadly weapon, and 500 years for burglary, larceny, and robbery. On appeal, it was eventually reduced by 500 years, but still leaves him in the number 4 spot. On an interesting side note, one of his accomplices was a man named Darron Anderson who holds the number 8 spot for rape and kidnapping. Interestingly, Anderson was sentenced to 2,200 years and also appealed. He was found guilty again and sentenced to 11,250 years. His parole date is the year 12,744 AD. They were both sentenced by Judge Clifford Hopper, who told the jurors that their recommendations were appropriate and reflected their “disgust at the nature of the crimes committed.”
Claiming the number three spot is Charles Scott Robinson. He is a convicted sex offender that was found guilty of assaulting a three year old. He was convicted of rape, two counts of forcible oral sodomy, and three counts of indecent or lewd acts with a child. When the jury was advised that they could not assess a life sentence without parole, they recommended 5,000 years on each of the six counts against him and District Court Judge Dan Owens agreed. He was sentenced to 30,000 years in prison.
Coming in at number two for the longest prison sentence on the books involves a criminal case in Thailand. In 1989, Chamoy Thipyaso was handed a prison sentence of 141,078 years. What was her crime? Corporate Fraud. Ms.Thipyaso actually holds the 2006 Guiness World Record for largest corporate fraud sentence. She was found guilty of defrauding more than 16,000 Thais in a pyramid scheme that was worth $204 million. In case you’re wondering, Bernard Madoff falls in at the 18th spot of the countdown.
And the Winner is……
Finally, our prison sentence winner is Gabriel March Grandos of Spain. It is safe to say that the government in Spain is not a fan of mail fraud. In 1972, 22 year old Gabriel Grandos failed to deliver 42,768 letters. He was convicted of fraud for not delivering them. How much is a life worth? I’m not sure of an exact value, but France has deemed a letter is equivalent to 9 years. Gabriel was sentenced to 9 years for every letter he did not deliver. Our longest prison sentence ever handed out goes to Mr. Grandos with a grand total of 384,912 years. I think everyone who’s been 22 years old has some regrets and maybe wishes they had a “do-over,” but Gabriel probably wishes that every single day of his life – behind bars.
Basics of the Divorce Process
When you get a divorce, you must do so through the court. Even so, the process does not necessarily need to be complicated. Typically there are only 10 basic steps are involved in getting a divorce.
1.)Separate from your spouse. People who are contemplating divorce sometimes separate on a trial basis. This type of separation is not true legal separation. It is merely a way for you and your spouse to decide whether you are happier apart. To get legally separated, you have to file a petition in court, just as you do for divorce – in fact, the legal separation process is similar to the divorce process overall. Not all states recognize legal separation.In these states, you have to file for divorce outright and get a temporary order of separation. Then, if you decide you don’t want to go through with the case, you can put the divorce on hold via your attorney while enjoying the protections of the temporary order.Regardless of whether you opt for trial or legal separation, you will need to meet the separation requirements for your state to get a divorce. This means you have to show you and your spouse were living apart for a specified period of time.
2.File the petition for divorce. Once you have met the separation requirements for your state, you can get an attorney to file a divorce petition for you, or you can file it with the court yourself. This petition sometimes is called the “Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage.” Within the petition, you must identify one or more grounds for the divorce, as well as list items that will be an issue through the divorce.
3.Serve your spouse with a copy of the petition. To get divorced, your partner has to be aware of your intent. Once you’ve filed your petition, you must present a copy of the petition to your spouse, which you normally do through a representative of your local sheriff’s office. If your spouse cannot be located, you may be able to serve your spouse via a public publication such as a newspaper in your jurisdiction. In either case, your attorney must present evidence of notification. States have individual requirements about how long you have to wait after serving your spouse to proceed with the divorce.
4.Wait for your spouse’s response. If your spouse agrees with the petition, he can sign a “Voluntary Appearance” document. This document is an acknowledgement of the filing that essentially states your spouse has no dispute with the petition. If your spouse doesn’t agree with the petition, he must write a formal response to the court, typically within 20 to 30 days of being served. If your spouse doesn’t respond at all, you can ask the court to issue a default judgment in your favor. Serving your spouse is also important because it starts the clock on your state’s waiting period –your divorce is not final until this waiting period is over. It establishes a formal date of separation and provides other benefits such as setting automatic restraining orders.
5.Petition for temporary orders. Temporary orders cover issues such as child custody or spousal support. These orders are legally binding, but they last only until such time as the divorce is finalized. The divorce agreement can pick up where the temporary orders left off.
6.Discovery. Discovery is a legal term for the period during which both parties in a divorce gather information about each other that the court needs. The data obtained shows your claims are truthful, what your situation is, and other factors such as what assets and property are involved.
7.Mediation. During mediation, you and your attorney meet with your spouse and his attorney, along with an independent mediator. You discuss issues surrounding the divorce and try to determine whether the divorce is still necessary. If you and your spouse want to go forward with the divorce, you try to settle any disputes. If all is amicable and you can reach an agreement, you do not need to take your divorce to trial.
8.Trial. If you and your spouse cannot agree on one or more issues surrounding the divorce, your divorce may go to trial. You will have an opportunity to present your case to a judge. The judge examines all the evidence presented by both you and your spouse to come to a final decision.
9.Creation of divorce agreement and issuance of Order of Dissolution. If your divorce is fairly amicable and you are able to avoid trial, you can create a formal divorce agreement with your spouse to handle issues such as alimony and then submit it to the judge. If you go to trial, the judge will look at what is best for both parties to create the agreement. Once the agreement is drafted, if you and your spouse agree to the terms, you and your spouse sign it. At this point, the judge will issue an Order of Dissolution.
10.Appeal. If you don’t agree with the judge’s decision, you have the right to appeal and request a new hearing. The likelihood of you winning an appeal is low, but if you lose, you can appeal to a higher court.
When there are children involved or during your marriage you have accumulated assets, you should not be surprised when the divorce seems to turn into a long, drawn out process. The Family Courts are trying to protect the interest of all parties involved in a divorce action, so be patient