Judge to weigh evidence in abuse case involving 3-year-old
BRENTWOOD — A Plaistow man charged with abusing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son and secretly recording the boy’s interview with a child advocacy worker says that police were not allowed to make a copy of his hard drive without explicit permission from a judge.
Roland Dow, 27, is expected to appear in Rockingham County Superior Court on Friday so a judge can decide whether police conducted a legal search of his home computer and apartment last fall.
His lawyer, Tom Gleason, responded to prosecutor’s arguments last week that police were allowed to obtain a video recording of 3-year-old James Nicholson by combing through a copy that was made of the entire hard drive.
“In order to lawfully create a mirror image of the entire contents of the Dell computer, the police would have to have had authority to do so from the court pursuant to a valid search warrant,” Gleason said in a new court motion filed Monday.
Police seized the Dell computer while investigating Dow, and James’ mother, Jessica Linscott, 24, of Plaistow after obtaining a search warrant for the couple’s Main Street apartment on Nov. 16.
Dow and Linscott faces charges related to abuse and making illegal recordings of Nicholson with a hidden computer camera.
Linscott is scheduled for trial at the end of the month on charges of felony witness tampering, assisting with making the recordings of her son and misdemeanor child endangerment charges.
Assistant County Attorney Michael Zaino said last week that police made a “mirror copy” of the hard drive while the search warrant was valid, then reviewed its contents later to see what was on the computer.
“This is analogous to documenting a search of a house with a movie camera and later viewing the video after the (search warrant) return has been filed,” he said in court papers.
The return — an inventory of items seized by police — is filed with the court after police execute a search warrant.
Zaino said that the injuries seen by police and medical personnel all over Nicholson’s body were enough for investigators to obtain the search warrant, which led to discovery of the video.
“Several bruises were observed on the victim’s face, forehead, cheek, buttocks, leg and back,” Zaino said. “Burns were described on his fingers, wrist and arm of varying degrees with redness and blistering. He also suffered loss of vision and subdural bruising that was discovered during a surgery to drain blood and fluid from under the skin around his eyes.”
The abuse allegedly occurred over three days in November.
Dow and Linscott were apprehended Nov. 28, 2012, at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. They had been on the run after doctors at Exeter Hospital reported that Nicholson had been abused.
They are both being held on $500,000 bail at local county jails.