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COMMENTARY

Can't find your phone? Try living without it for a year and a half

Jonathan D. Epstein

And you thought you had a problem keeping up with texts and voicemail.

Rochester developer Robert C. Morgan hasn't had his iPhone for more than 19 months, since federal authorities seized it during a raid on his company's offices in May 2018 in suburban Rochester. That was just weeks before the first mortgage fraud indictments were handed down – against his son, nephew and two Buffalo-area mortgage brokers – and more than a year before Morgan himself was indicted last May.

Since then, prosecutors have gradually been providing Morgan's attorneys with all the documents and other information that will make up the government's case, so that Morgan can prepare his own defense.

But there's been one noticeable absence: Morgan's phone. Prosecutors and investigators haven't been able to get past the password, so the phone is still in their possession, waiting to be cracked. That's "excessive and unreasonable," according to Morgan's attorneys.

Now Morgan wants it back. So he filed a motion, under the rules of criminal procedure, to seek an order from the court directing the U.S. Attorney and FBI to return it. He even asked the judge for a speedy decision, which the judge declined. Oral arguments just on the cellphone matter are now set for Feb. 2.

Imagine if parents tried this with their children's phones.

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