normally the police have to get a search warrent before searching something like a computer. here the tempe police are real damn pissed because the government is refusing to let them search a computer without a search warrent. just because people work for the government doesnt mean the police can flush their constitional rights down the toilet - the webmaster

from: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0409TEMPEUNION.html
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0409TEMPEUNION.html


Tempe school district hindering sex case, police say
David J. Cieslak
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 9, 2003 12:00 AM

Police are accusing Tempe Union High School District officials of repeatedly ignoring pleas for cooperation in a teacher sexual misconduct investigation and refusing to hand over key evidence.

But an attorney for the district says school administrators are stunned by the accusations in a police report issued Tuesday, insisting they have cooperated fully with investigators.

Detectives said they considered seeking obstruction charges against Tempe Union administrators after they refused last month to turn over a laptop computer issued to freshman girls basketball coach Grace Anne Gamez, who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

Chandler police detectives, who investigated the case, sharply criticized Tempe Union Human Resources Director Janet Cox Seegren, although they acknowledge she was acting on advice of the district's attorney.

"Our detective said he has never met this kind of lack of cooperation from anyone at anytime in his experience," said Detective Emma Bribiescas, a Chandler police spokeswoman. Chandler police investigated the case because the encounters with the girl, who was 17 at the time, reportedly occurred at Gamez's Chandler apartment.

An attorney for the district said detectives and the Tempe City Attorney's Office encouraged administrators to copy files on the computer before turning it over.

"There is not one thing that the (police) requested that they haven't been given and right now, if they want any additional information, they'll get it," Tempe Union attorney Jim Belanger said.

Bribiescas acknowledged that detectives allowed the district to copy the computer's files as a "last-ditch compromise."

Gamez has been placed on paid administrative leave from Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe. Police have recommended felony sexual misconduct and evidence tampering charges against her. County prosecutors began reviewing the case Tuesday and could make a decision whether to charge her as early as next week.

The Tempe Union governing board is expected tonight to vote against renewing Gamez's contract.

Meanwhile, Tempe prosecutors are considering filing misdemeanor charges against Marcos de Niza Principal Frank Mirizio and basketball coach Jeff Glab for their failure to report initial allegations of misconduct brought against Gamez in December.

Tempe Union officials did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday but released a written statement. "Based on all of the information we have at this time, we are confident that the Tempe Union High School District and Marcos de Niza High School administration responded appropriately and acted completely in accordance with the law," the statement said.

The state Department of Education also is investigating whether Tempe Union erred by failing to notify investigators about the December allegations against Gamez. Superintendent James Buchanan, Mirizio and others in Tempe Union could face criminal charges and lose state certification if Department of Education investigators determine they ignored the law.

Tucson defense attorney Michael Piccarreta, a nationally renowned legal expert, said Tempe Union may have withheld Gamez's computer from police so administrators could search the files to prepare for a possible civil lawsuit brought by the victim and her family. "Anyone in a public entity who is withholding something had better have pretty pure motives because you could end up getting yourself in bigger trouble than you might be if you just cooperated," he said.


District hindering sex case, police say David J. Cieslak The Arizona Republic Apr. 9, 2003 12:00 AM

Related links Tempe teacher accused of sex with girl Numbers don't tell whole story of sexual misconduct by teachers Is your child in the right school?

Police are accusing Tempe Union High School District officials of repeatedly ignoring pleas for cooperation in a teacher sexual misconduct investigation and refusing to hand over key evidence.

But an attorney for the district says school administrators are stunned by the accusations in a police report issued Tuesday, insisting they have cooperated fully with investigators.

Detectives said they considered seeking obstruction charges against Tempe Union administrators after they refused last month to turn over a laptop computer issued to freshman girls basketball coach Grace Anne Gamez, who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

Chandler police detectives, who investigated the case, sharply criticized Tempe Union Human Resources Director Janet Cox Seegren, although they acknowledge she was acting on advice of the district's attorney.

"Our detective said he has never met this kind of lack of cooperation from anyone at anytime in his experience," said Detective Emma Bribiescas, a Chandler police spokeswoman. Chandler police investigated the case because the encounters with the girl, who was 17 at the time, reportedly occurred at Gamez's Chandler apartment.

An attorney for the district said detectives and the Tempe City Attorney's Office encouraged administrators to copy files on the computer before turning it over.

"There is not one thing that the (police) requested that they haven't been given and right now, if they want any additional information, they'll get it," Tempe Union attorney Jim Belanger said.

Bribiescas acknowledged that detectives allowed the district to copy the computer's files as a "last-ditch compromise."

Gamez has been placed on paid administrative leave from Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe. Police have recommended felony sexual misconduct and evidence tampering charges against her. County prosecutors began reviewing the case Tuesday and could make a decision whether to charge her as early as next week.

The Tempe Union governing board is expected tonight to vote against renewing Gamez's contract.

Meanwhile, Tempe prosecutors are considering filing misdemeanor charges against Marcos de Niza Principal Frank Mirizio and basketball coach Jeff Glab for their failure to report initial allegations of misconduct brought against Gamez in December.

Tempe Union officials did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday but released a written statement. "Based on all of the information we have at this time, we are confident that the Tempe Union High School District and Marcos de Niza High School administration responded appropriately and acted completely in accordance with the law," the statement said.

The state Department of Education also is investigating whether Tempe Union erred by failing to notify investigators about the December allegations against Gamez. Superintendent James Buchanan, Mirizio and others in Tempe Union could face criminal charges and lose state certification if Department of Education investigators determine they ignored the law.

Tucson defense attorney Michael Piccarreta, a nationally renowned legal expert, said Tempe Union may have withheld Gamez's computer from police so administrators could search the files to prepare for a possible civil lawsuit brought by the victim and her family. "Anyone in a public entity who is withholding something had better have pretty pure motives because you could end up getting yourself in bigger trouble than you might be if you just cooperated," he said.



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