A Kennewick man wants a judge to throw out all evidence in his voyeurism and child pornography case because he and his wife weren’t told they could refuse to let detectives search their home without a warrant.
Dan Richard Dickey, 66, said investigators were upfront about wanting to look for possible videos or photographs of nude children on his personal computer when they stopped by on Nov. 27.
But Dickey — who was president of the Kennewick Police Department Foundation at the time — testified in a recent hearing that Benton County sheriff’s Detective Larry Smith failed to advise him that he could deny the request.
However, Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor questioned if Dickey didn’t have a better understanding of his rights than he’s admitting.
After Smith saw a half-inch image of what appeared to be young children under the file name “Nudist family fun,” the detective stopped Dickey from clicking on other desktop icons and files and said he wanted to do a more thorough search of the computer back at the sheriff’s office.
Dickey signed a consent form so the detective could leave with the home computer, but he wouldn’t let Smith take his laptop because that was needed for his work as a real estate agent.
Bloor said that shows Dickey knew he didn’t have to allow the search and seizure.
“I guess in that sense, yes,” Dickey replied.
Jensen argued that anything suspicious found on the computer during that initial check, along with any evidence that came out of a later search warrant, should be suppressed and not allowed at the trial.
He says that home is the most private area a person can have, and suggests that detectives didn’t have Dickey sign the consent form at the beginning because they did not want him to be aware of his rights until they got onto the computer.
Tossing out all of the evidence likely would lead to a dismissal of Dickey’s charges for voyeurism and second-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Judge Craig Matheson, who presided over the one-hour hearing, wanted time to consider whether Dickey thought he was in a coercive setting and couldn’t say no. The judge is expected to announce his decision next week.
Dickey’s trial is set for April 15. Jensen told the court that depending on the ruling, he thinks the case will be resolved one way or another before a jury is called in.