By Novpreet Shoker
The jury trial for Joseph Hernandez, Rakhem Bradford, and Joshua Givens reconvened on Wednesday afternoon as an expert forensic investigator, Dorothy Pearson, finished her testimony on digital evidence, which in this case would be the data retrieved from the co-defendants’ cell phones.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin continued with her questioning regarding the informational data that was extracted from the cell phones seized from the co-defendants during their arrests.
These men are held to answer on charges of several counts of burglary, as well as possession of stolen property and possession of marijuana.
Ms. Pearson explained how the information was organized in her formal report, and where these bodies of texts were recovered from each phone.
Deputy DA Serafin asked whether Ms. Pearson could figure out if the texts had been deleted off the phone or not, to which the witness responded that she can find out and that majority of the texts, if not all, were deleted.
In cross-examination by Bradford’s defense attorney, Ava Landers, Ms. Pearson also admitted that the program used to investigate this data, Cellebrite, can come across certain errors throughout the process. For instance, some of the data came up with the year 2005 which was illogical, and Ms. Pearson attributed that to technological error.
Ms. Landers then asked whether, if the year can be inaccurate in the data retrieved, other pieces of information such as time, phone numbers, and Apple IDs can also be inaccurate. Ms. Pearson explained that one has to look at the consistency of texts, and later on, after continued questioning, she admitted that one cannot be completely sure.
When Ms. Landers asked why it is that there can be errors, Ms. Pearson said that when Cellebrite is extracting deleted information, it can produce “garbage” and inaccurate information.
Cross-examination turned to Hernandez’s defense attorney.
At this time, Ms. Pearson explained the difference between text messages. She clarified that an SMS (Short Message Service) is simply a text message, an MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is a text message that has some type of multimedia attached to it, and an instant message is a type of text message sent through any instant platform, such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or iMessage on iPhones.
Ms. Pearson then described the details of her official report, which was given to Sergeant Michael Munoz sometime in February of 2014.
Later on came cross-examination by Attorney James Granucci, Givens’ defense lawyer. Mr. Granucci asked when Ms. Pearson was given the phones as evidence to investigate, and Ms. Pearson answered February 14.
When asked what she did with the evidence once she was done, Ms. Pearson explained that she sealed the evidence and left it in storage for the Davis Police Department to come and pick it up.
After that, Judge David Reed dismissed the witness.
The next witness brought in by the prosecution was Sergeant Michael Munoz.
Ms. Serafin asked Officer Munoz about the cell phones that were retrieved from the co-defendants. For all three cell phones, the officer went through photos and videos, and proceeded to download all that multimedia onto a computer.
The cell phones were then returned to evidence and sent to Ms. Pearson.
At this point, the courtroom adjourned slightly early due to scheduling accommodations, and will resume with Officer Munoz’s testimony Thursday morning.