Lanker-Simons Files Motion to Suppress Evidence in UW Crushes Case
Meg Lanker-Simons, who has been accused in a misdemeanor charge of interference in a case that has gained national attention, has filed a motion to suppress evidence in the case.
Official court documents show that defense lawyers, representing Lanker-Simons, are moving to have evidence suppressed in the upcoming trial. The motion, signed by defense attorney Vaughn Neubauer, alleges that evidence discovered on Lanker-Simons' laptop computer should be suppressed due to a deficiency in an affidavit written by investigators asking for a search warrant for the laptop, saying that the evidence was seized in violation of the fourth and fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The motion says probable cause had not been established in the affidavit showing evidence being sought by investigators was contained specifically on Lanker-Simon's laptop.
The allegations against Lanker-Simons are that abusive statements, written about her on the "UW Crushes" Facebook page, were actually written by Lanker-Simons herself. She is further alleged to have lied to police about writing the post, leading to the misdemeanor charge of "interference."
In the affidavit requesting a search warrant for Lanker-Simons' laptop, investigators say that a search warrant was served to surveymonkey.com, a go-between service that allows users to "anonymously" submit content to websites, and investigators were able to obtain information about the post submitted to the UW Crushes administrators. That information is said to have included login information and IP addresses for the administrators of the UW Crushes facebook page, as well as an IP address from the computer that was used to submit the abusive statement.
The affidavit goes on to say that Information Technology employees at the University of Wyoming were then said to have identified the IP address and wireless MAC address of a computer named "ElComputerdeMeg." Further that the user logged into the computer at the time was "meghanm or Meghan Michelena, also known as Meghan Lanker-Simons." Investigators say that this gave them reason to believe that Lanker-Simons had submitted the abusive statement, later posted to the UW Crushes Facebook page.
It was this affidavit that defense lawyers are saying was deficient in identifying the laptop owned by Lanker-Simons as specifically containing the evidence that investigators were looking for.
The defense motion says that UW Police investigators "simply recited that Ms. Simons brought a laptop to an interview that she admitted owning. [The Investigator] provided absolutely nothing to show that this particular laptop would contain the evidence he sought." The motion also says "[The Investigator] knew that Ms. Simons was a UW student. He thus had reason to believe that she had potential access to hundreds of UW computers available for student access. The affidavit does not even attempt to eliminate other computers, such as UW computers or any other computer the Defendant might possibly own and keep at home."
A motions hearing for the case against Lanker-Simons is scheduled for the end of August. A trial date has not yet been set.