ED Magedson – Founder
Prosecutor Rick Watson133 N Riverfront Blvd Dallas, TX 75207 Dallas, Texas USA
Prosecutor Rick Watson Dallas County Prosecutor Rick Watson prosecutorial misconduct, malicious prosecution, legal malpractice, professional misconduct Dallas Texas
Prosecutor Rick Watson has commited acts of malicious prosecution and grotesque prosecutorial misconduct. Rick Watson unlawfully subjected an innocent victim to a multi-pronged campaign of deception and has abused the powers of his office.
Prosecutor Watson violated Mr. Chen’s 4th Amendment right which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and his 5th Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. Watson has also acted in a manner unbecoming of his professional obligations and has exhibited extreme professional misconduct. As the police report indicates, Prosecutor Watson was intimately involved with this case from the very beginning and knew and had reason every reason to know of the wrongdoings that have been committed by law enforcement. Watson incouraged this wrongful behavior and helped support and foster additional police corruption.
On or about August 12th 2013 Mr. [continued below]....
On August 19th Mr. Chen wrote complainant a letter to inform him that several items that were recently shipped to the company seemed to have become lost and were missing in inventory. Mr. Chen also apologized for being careless -- since Mr. Chen had earlier that day signed for them -- and offered to compensate the complainant for the missing items. Mr. Chen had full authority to receive and to sign for the shipments on behalf of H2 Global, and H2 Global had been notified in writing of the loss within 24 hours of the incident. Complainant immediately contacted police, alleging that a theft had taken place and that Mr. Chen purposefully stole from his company. Complainant also knowingly lied to law enforcement when asked whether he had attempted to contact Mr. Chen prior to calling police to file a report. Mr. Chen was not even civilly liable for the items which were lost, but he offered to compensate H2 Global out of an act of courtesy. The moment complainant contacted law enforcement and attempted to misconstrue the accident as an intentional criminal act Mr. Chen no longer had any civil obligation to make any compensation offer.
Detective Imran Khan of the Addison police department called Mr. Chen the next day and threatened him with imminent arrest and grand theft felony charges unless Mr. Chen agreed to write the complainant a cash check. He said that there was enough evidence for a jury to convict Mr. Chen, and to send Mr. Chen away to prison for many years, and that Mr. Chen would never be able to find another job. Khan repeatedly stated that complainant didn’t wish to press charges and just wanted some money to be “happy”. Detective Khan also promised that in exchange for Mr. Chen giving complainant an agreed upon monetary amount that both the complainant and the police promised to “drop charges”, to resolve and put behind the whole incident, and that there would be “no prosecution” or “anything like that”. Khan said that complainant and Mr. Chen would each get on with their own lives and go separate ways and he instructed Mr. Chen not to return to H2 Global and not to have any contact with the complainant. Mr. Chen always maintained his innocence and did not accept criminal responsibility for the missing items and he communicated to the detective that the monetary transaction did not constitute any acceptance of guilt nor was it to be misconstrued as restitution. Detective Khan admitted that he was acting as a self-proclaimed “mediator”, and knowingly and intentionally got himself involved in a civil matter in which he had no jurisdiction and that he was also acting as a debt collector on behalf of the complainant. This was in direct violation of TEX GV. CODE ANN. § 614.041: Texas Statutes - Section 614.041: COLLECTING DEBT FOR ANOTHER; CRIMINAL OFFENSE (see Letter Opinion No. LO96-031)
Less than 20 minutes after the mutual agreement, Detective Khan emails Mr. Chen stating that complainant now also wishes to have the encryption password to the computer which was specifically issued and assigned to Mr. Chen while he was employed at H2 Global. The police report and other forensic evidence shows that both the complainant and detective Khan were well aware of the so-called “encryption issue” even before making the verbal agreement with Mr. Chen stating that in exchange for money there would be no charges. This was all too conveniently never even once mentioned nor brought up as a point of concern or point of contention during the nearly hour long interrogation. The detective had grilled Mr. Chen with every possible question ranging from why he forgot to lock the door, to which gas station he had driven to that afternoon, to what type of drink Mr. Chen purchased at the gas station, but had neglected to bring up any concerns that the complainant might have had with regards to data encryption. Mr. Chen promptly wrote Detective Khan back, and offered to unlock the computer, but objected to any disclosure of his personal and private information. Detective Khan wrote back, informing Mr. Chen that the computer would be at the police station for Mr. Chen to unlock and instructed Mr. Chen to either reset the encryption password or to delete and/or remove the TrueCrypt software that was used to secure the computer. Mr. Chen replied back again and acknowledging and confirming to the request; and afterwards he was from that point on not in contact with Detective Khan until the in-person meeting the following week.
The following Monday, on August 26th 2013, Mr. Chen arrived at the police station with the cashier’s check in hand and he was ready to unlock the encryption as agreed. However, detective Khan would not allow Mr. Chen to enter the police station, and instead confronted Mr. Chen at the entrance and became extremely defensive, asking Mr. Chen if he was “carrying a weapon” and then asked Mr. Chen if he had “brought the money”. After Mr. Chen indicated that he had the money, Khan takes the check from Mr. Chen and then after verifying the check for authenticity, then and only then did he proceed to inform Mr. Chen that the complainant had changed his mind and no longer agreed to drop charges. Detective Khan also informed Mr. Chen that the computer was not at the police station for him to unlock. Khan then stated that law enforcement no longer wanted Mr. Chen to even touch the computer and that all the details of the case had already in the prior week been previously sent to the Dallas County Specialized Crimes division for prosecution. It was later confirmed that the complainant had successfully cashed the check on the same day, within five hours after Mr. Chen remitted it at the local bank. It was also later discovered that Detective Khan knew Prosecutor Watson had agreed to take the case as a criminal offense under Section 33.02 prior to Khan’s email instructions asking Mr. Chen to unlock the encryption password and prior to Mr. Chen’s fulfillment of the agreement with law enforcement in which in exchange for money there would be no prosecution. Even though he was abruptly terminated based on the complainant's false allegations and he had no further obligations to H2 Global, Mr. Chen had nonetheless initially offered to unlock the computer encryption to assist the complainant and to further demonstrate good faith and good will. However, once it was apparent that law enforcement was on a fishing expedition and that the complainant's true motives for asking Mr. Chen to decrypt the contents of the hard drive were far more nefarious, Mr. Chen made it unequivocally clear that he did not consent to having his personal or private information disclosed, examined or otherwise "searched".
Mr. Chen had made meaningful distinctions to law enforcement between the physical computer and the intangible informational contents on the computer, between the act of disclosing the contents of the encryption password and that of the act of merely unlocking the computer, between unlocking the computer for the purposes of giving the complainant access to the Operating System of the computer and that of unlocking to give law enforcement “manna from heaven” access to anything and everything under the sun in which they could use to misconstrue and implicate Mr. Chen; and between the subset of data that resided on the hard drive that may have belonged to the complainant and that of the data that belonged to Mr. Chen.
Assuming arguendo that the mere use of encryption was indeed itself a crime or sufficient probable cause pointing to the possible existence of a crime, the actual contents on the hard drive was not a foregone conclusion. Prosecutor Watson subjected Mr. Chen to repeatedly fraudulent and methodical, multi-layered deception and initiated immoral, unethical and unlawful tactics in attempts to induce Mr. Chen to disclose the actual contents of the encryption password. Under current United States key disclosure laws, the Supreme Court has determined that the actual contents of the encryption password are constitutionally protected and not subject to compelled disclosure. And yet such was deliberately obtained through illegitimate means of coercion, bribery, trickery, fraud, and deception and by the underhanded and the fabricated guise and the false pretense of getting this “b*******” case “off his desk”.
Without the ability to neither discover nor examine anything on the hard drive (whether incriminating or otherwise), Watson later conceded that he would have significant difficulties proving the element of intent to harm. Mr. Chen had agreed to unlock the computer (under the promise of immediate dismissal of the case and official closure of the investigation) in order to assist the complainant in gaining functional access to the computer, but had also vehemently objected to any disclosure of his own personal, private, and otherwise confidential information. By Mr. Chen’s actions of delineating the compartmentalization of his information and his use of strong encryption to effectively lock, secure and protect that information, he created a de facto subjective expectation of privacy, and one in which society is also prepared to uphold as objectively reasonable given the totality of the circumstances. Warrantless searches are per se unreasonable under the 4th Amendment but Watson resorted to unlawful means to obtain Mr. Chen’s personal and private information, and any such unlawful means are by definition done without neither proper nor effective consent. Watson’s attempt to prove (or rather, misconstrue) any intent to harm was done via fraudulent means and therefore anything uncovered as a direct or indirect result of Mr. Chen’s key disclosure is fruit of the poisonous tree. As a consequence of the aforementioned above, and given Watson’s voice recorded statements admitting to the fact that even if he found nothing bad on the hard drive he would still indict Mr. Chen, Prosecutor Watson thereby also knowingly and intentionally violated Mr. Chen’s fifth amendment right to avoid self-incrimination and he is guilty of committing prosecutorial misconduct.
After Detective Khan informed Mr. Chen that the ADA would take the case as a “Breach of Computer Security” under Texas Penal Code - Section 33.02 and that the DA would be in contact with him, Mr. Chen retained the legal services of criminal defense attorney Andrew Peveto. During the initial consultation, Mr. Peveto had stated that he was an MIS major in college and used to work in the IT industry and that he had extensive experience with defending clients being charged with computer related crimes. Mr. Chen then hired Attorney Peveto and promptly paid the upfront fee in full.
Sometime later, Mr. Peveto contacted Mr. Chen to update him on the status of the case. During a phone conversation, Mr. Peveto had indicated that Prosecutor Watson had proactively called Attorney Peveto, wanting to work something out with his client. He said that the Prosecutor wanted to get this case over with and off his desk, and to avoid having to waste the grand juries time in putting forth an indictment that the Prosecutor himself believed was “b******”. He also stated that Prosecutor Watson didn’t really believe the false allegations of the complainant, and could care less about how the complainant felt about it, and that this case was brought about by “two people who had an attitude with each other”. Attorney Peveto then proceeded to say that it is not about “right or wrong”, “good or bad”, and that Mr. Chen had gotten himself caught in the wheels of the uncaring system and the man was going to “tax” him a bit. Peveto also stated that Mr. Chen would be wise to take his advice, to forget about principle and truth, and to do whatever the ADA asked in order to get this case resolved without having to spend hard time in prison. Peveto also stated that he was personal friends with Prosecutor Watson, and that they were beer and drinking buddies and he had Watson’s personal assurance that as long as Mr. Chen agreed to unlock the computer and write the complainant a letter of apology, that the case would be closed and the investigation dismissed.
Prosecutor Watson was the one who initially took on the case and green lighted it under Section 33.02. Watson also interpreted 33.02 in such a way as believe that the mere use of encryption to secure a computer was the equivalent of a Breach of Computer Security. Watson also took the view that the mere use of encryption in and of itself was also sufficient to prove intent to hide criminal activity and therefore sufficient probable cause for an indictment. All of this was unbeknownst to Mr. Chen at the time, and Attorney Peveto had mislead Mr. Chen and given him the false impression that Prosecutor Watson was shocked to find out that this case had landed on his desk and wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Mr. Chen agreed to write the complainant a letter of apology (even though it was against his principles) and he also agreed to unlock the encryption on the computer on the conditions that the actual password not be disclosed to the complainant or to Addison police department or to Dallas County. Mr. Chen also stipulated that before any such ‘unlock’ was to take place, that he required the defense to retain an independent and forensically valid copy of the actual hard drive in its pre-decrypted state so as to keep all parties involved accountable and to protect himself from any further malicious and false allegations. Attorney Peveto promised that he would preserve an untainted copy of the hard drive in order to secure an intact and pristine chain of evidence. Peveto stated that he knew how to perform forensic copies of hard drives and could “do it his f****** self” and that Mr. Chen did not need to hire a third party forensic expert. Under this mutual agreement and understanding, Mr. Chen emailed Attorney Peveto a list of the possible passwords, in order so that Peveto could use it to unlock the encryption -- after first making a forensic copy of the hard drive. Peveto stated that once he unlocked the encryption this whole nightmare would go away and it will all be done and over with.
Instead of doing what he said he was going to do, Attorney Peveto decided to send the email containing all the plaintext passwords directly to the detective, to the complainant and to the Prosecutor. Attorney Peveto never preserved any evidence, he never made a forensic copy of the hard drive, and he sent the list of clear text passwords to law enforcement, without Mr. Chen’s consent and directly going against what had been previously agreed upon. His incomprehensible incompetence and recklessly negligent legal malpractice goes far beyond mere ineffective assistance of counsel and veers into the territory of conspiring with his Prosecutor friend to horse trade Mr. Chen for another client who was a less “pain in the a**”.
The email with the list of passwords contained 16 unique passwords, but most of which were variations on a theme. Many of the passwords shared a common shorter “root” password with attached prefix and postfix to increase password complexity and security. In an attempt to avoid having Attorney Peveto make multiple trips, Mr. Chen had given him every conceivable variation of what the password might have been, and listed the passwords in order of probability from highest to lowest. Peveto decided on his own to redact the email, taking out the order sequence and removing the attached probability percentages and then forwarded the manipulated email as one long list of passwords without any notation of why there were so many passwords and which password to start trying first. Not only did he not have consent to send the passwords to anyone else, he had also never been given consent to edit and manipulate Mr. Chen’s email to him and to then send the redacted version of the password list in email making it appear as if that version of the email had come from Mr. Chen.
When the whole thing went south after Peveto’s monumental screw-up, Peveto then attempted to encourage Mr. Chen to bribe the complainant to get the complainant to shut up by paying him another sum of monies. Peveto himself then bribed Mr. Chen, wanting more money in order to facilitate such an illegal transaction. Mr. Chen declined this route and was shortly thereafter sent a letter of disengagement from Peveto’s office and asked to sign a waiver promising not to file a grievance against Peveto.
Later, Peveto’s prosecutor friend Rick Watson sites that that redacted version of the email with 16 passwords as an attempt by Mr. Chen to “screw with the complainant, the detective and the prosecution”. Not only did Mr. Chen’s attorney utterly fail in his basic duty to prevent and filter any such misconceptions, indeed Attorney Peveto’s actions were directly responsible for the existence of such misperceptions in the first place!
Prosecutor Watson stated that the complainant received the passwords but once again changed his mind and now no longer wishes to unlock the encryption on the computer. Watson stated that he too had also changed his mind, and instead of dismissing the case and closing the investigation as he had earlier promised, he was now going to ask the complainant to bring the physical computer to the DA’s office where it will then be shipped to the United States Secret Service for examination.
Watson also admitted that the complainant had the computer in his possession the entire time, and had access to the password for several weeks. Law enforcement never made a forensic copy of the hard drive prior to Peveto’s unconsented disclosure nor did they bother to maintain even the semblance of preserving the chain of custody and/or chain of evidence to ensure a forensically untainted investigation. Watson could have sent the hard drive to the Secret Service from the first moment he decided to pursue Mr. Chen under Section 33.02 but yet he did absolutely nothing for months, and then abruptly decided to send the hard drive to the Secret Service only after he was able to obtain the encryption password via fraudulent means - perhaps even through the efforts of illegally conspiring with his friend Peveto.
The complainant had the motive, means and opportunity to unlock the encryption that was on the computer and as the complainant is himself a computer and technology expert he could also have easily manipulated the system-time in an effort to timestomp and backdate so as to plant incriminating evidence to falsely implicate Mr. Chen. The police report states the complainant searching on the Internet looking for ways to “break into the encryption”. These issues and concerns were brought up by Mr. Chen and addressed to Prosecutor Watson and his investigator at Dallas County but were scoffed at and cursorily dismissed as impossible.
Ironically, in a very double-standard fashion, Prosecutor Watson stated that since TrueCrypt (the encryption software used) was ‘open-source’ that it was conceivably possible that Mr. Chen could have downloaded the source code, written a ‘backdoor’ and then recompiled it and that such a backdoor in the encryption program would destroy the hard drive and wipe the data if the wrong password was entered. He stated that on that basis alone it had “piqued his curiosity” and he wanted to send the computer to the Secret Service to find out all that Mr. Chen was hiding on that computer. Prosecutor Watson had also remarked that he did not initially plan on sending the hard drive to the Secret Service, but that because Mr. Chen had filed a complaint against Detective Imran Khan and embarrassed him that Mr. Chen should suffer the consequences of his actions. He said that Mr. Chen was on the bottom of his (s***) “list” and now rose straight to the top.
Subsequently, the Prosecutor accused Mr. Chen of planting a “trojan”, “rootkit”, and “backdoor” on the computer. Mr. Chen denied these allegations as entirely baseless, meritless and made with malicious intent. Watson then proceeded to state that if he did find any backdoors, rootkits or trojans on the computer that he would indict Mr. Chen on a separate felony count for each and every instance of such an alleged offense. Watson also stated that if the Secret Service did not come back with anything juicy that he would close the investigation and that nothing would be filed for indictment. But he later contradicted himself, dithering back and forth, becoming vague and then ambiguously stating that he could and very likely would still charge and indict Mr. Chen on the alleged theft offense and that the mere use of encryption could still be argued to be a breach of computer security in-and-of-itself.
From the very beginning Mr. Chen had requested to speak with an attorney before being interrogated at the Addison police station but the request was denied. Mr. Chen has irrefutable evidence that conclusively proves that he was in contact with another individual by the name of Imran Khan (a corporate recruiter) merely days before the complainant contacted the Detective Imran Khan of the Addison PD. When Detective Khan initially called Mr. Chen on his mobile phone on the afternoon of August 19th 2013, his Middle Eastern accent -- which matches almost exactly that of complainant Mohammad Rafiquel Hoque -- compounded with his coincidental first and last name and that of the outrageous allegations of felony grand theft all combined together to arouse within Mr. Chen the reasonable suspicion that he was being pranked or that someone was attempting to imposter law enforcement. When Mr. Chen got the voice mailbox of a female “Jennifer” or “Jessica” when attempting to dial back the number that Khan had given Chen to confirm the authenticity of his identity, Mr. Chen understandably became even more concerned. Mr. Chen was at the Plano library at the time of receiving the suspicious calls, and became so concerned that he drove straight to the Addison police department to report that someone had called him pretending to be a cop. Upon his arrival at the Addison PD, when Mr. Chen could confirm the identity of Detective Khan in person, Mr. Chen attempted to report to Detective Khan many of the illegalities that had been committed by Mr. Hoque at H2 Global, but Detective Khan told Mr. Chen to save that for the BBB and that he didn’t want to hear it, and then promptly ushered Mr. Chen into a room and interrogated him for upwards of an hour, against his will, and without an attorney present. When Mr. Chen attempted to leave, Khan threatened to arrest Mr. Chen unless he cooperated. As a last resort, Mr. Chen had requested the permissible use of electronic recording of the interrogation for his own protection (to deter against testilying and the possibility of police perjury) and immediately the detective became extremely angry and dismissive, but ultimately agreed to the recording but informed Mr. Chen that he could not have an attorney present. Later on, when Mr. Chen subsequently shared these concerns with Watson’s investigator, he very forcibly said: “No. No. No. I’m telling you that it didn’t happen”. When Mr. Chen shared with Watson’s investigator the fact that Detective Khan had intentionally mislead Mr. Chen through the use of intentional misdirection and that it was more than just a coincidence that Detective Khan, who was a Computer Forensic Examiner, was ostensibly assigned to an ordinary “theft” case, never once mentioned anything about encryption, passwords, computers or “breach of computer security” during the nearly hour long interrogation, but then sneakily and subsequently tried to deprive Mr. Chen of his rights via a seemingly innocent off-handed remark about needing a password merely 20 minutes after the intensive interrogation and tried to bag him for a computer crime … when Mr. Chen informed Watson’s so-called investigator of all the facts, he merely retorted that it was ‘wild speculation’... Afterwards, Mr. Chen later discovered through obtaining the police report that Detective Khan was indeed aware of the encryption issue even prior to the initial phone call to Mr. Chen, and certainly before making the deal that in exchange for money there would be no charges, no case and no prosecution.
Mr. Chen had informed Attorney Peveto that the only way he would consent to the disclosure of his encryption password key was if the government granted him full immunity that is the totality of all immunities, including the act of production immunity and the use and derivative use immunities. Detective Khan had also disclosed to Mr. Chen that the complainant had threatened to file a lawsuit against Mr. Chen, and this further caused Mr. Chen additional concern with regards to any such disclosure. Instead of putting the best interest of his client first, Peveto asked Mr. Chen if he had anything like “child pornography” on the hard drive, and that if he did not do “kiddy porn” then what was he so afraid of Watson finding out? He laughed at Mr. Chen for being paranoid, and told Mr. Chen to stop freaking out and go out and have a nice drink.
Given the totality of the circumstances, it is readily apparent and self-evident to any reasonable mind that Prosecutor Watson never had any real intentions of dismissing the case or “working something out with his [Peveto’s] client” or of closing the investigation. Indeed, former Dallas County Specialized Crimes Prosecutor Debbie Smith shared with Mr. Chen her strong opinion that once Watson sent the hard drive to the Secret Service that he would not back down from forcing an indictment even if nothing incriminating was found on the hard drive, and that it would be an immense embarrassment to his office to waste the resources of the Secret Service without having “something to show” for it.
Had the prosecutor, the investigator and the detective not deliberately and repeatedly subjected Mr. Chen to such a grotesque and multi-pronged campaign of fraud and deception Mr. Chen would not be in the position of having to answer for both the use of encryption and for the data that could be recovered from the decryption process. No sane nor reasonable mind would ever knowingly, voluntarily and willingly give effective consent to potential self-incrimination (or evidence that could be misconstrued or misinferred as potentially incriminating by an overzealous prosecutor with tunnel vision) without meaningful reciprocity in the form of a guarantee of case closure and/or meaningfully sufficient immunity. Unbeknownst to Mr. Chen at the time, Prosecutor Watson never intended to dismiss the case or close the investigation and was always going to indict Mr. Chen under Section 33.02. Watson's argument was that "intent to harm" can be permissively inferred from a lack of "effective consent". When asked what his interpretation of “effective consent” was, Watson replied: “whatever the complainant says” it is. This kind of self-referential and circular logic was weak circumstantial at best, and not sufficient to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. He had hopes to find something bad on the hard-drive in order to solidify the "intent to harm" prong, and without which he could only hope to possibly convict Mr. Chen on a much lesser charge. Indeed, Watson had admitted that even if the computer in question had only a value of “one dollar” and even if the encryption existed on the computer for merely 24 hours (or “less than 24 hours”) that it would still nonetheless be a crime and he would still indict and attempt to convict Mr. Chen. He repeatedly stated that it could very well be argued that the mere use of encryption, in and of itself, would be a crime. So why then would the prosecutor trick Mr. Chen into providing additional information on the basis of the fraudulent and misguided pretense that it would be in Mr. Chen’s best interest and that it would actually help Mr. Chen, when in reality Mr. Chen had absolutely nothing to gain and could only ever lose by cooperating with the so-called “investigation”? If Watson felt -- as he indicated that he did -- that he had enough evidence to indict, then he should have indicted Mr. Chen, and not have proactively contacted and proactively initiated a “deal” with Mr. Chen’s defense counsel, that in exchange for unlocking the computer the case would be closed and “it will all go away”. Since Watson initiated and instigated the deal then he (just like detective Khan) should have kept to his part of the bargain. After Watson tricked Mr. Chen into cooperating, instead of closing the case and dismissing the investigation like he agreed, he turns around and sends the hard drive to the Secret Service and then says he is going to indict Mr. Chen regardless. If this is not prosecutorial misconduct then what is?
Prosecutor Watson has acted in a repeatedly deliberate and concerted effort to harm Mr. Chen and to violate Mr. Chen’s most basic fundamental rights in an overzealous and orchestrated attempt to misrepresent the law, to misconstrue the facts, and to over-criminalize what is inherently an innocent act of self-preservation and self-defense. (Privacy, encryption and information security) Watson has perverted justice and has wrongfully persecuted an innocent victim through his use of immoral, unethical and unlawful prosecutorial practices.
Secure Google Link to Dropbox audio recording evidence : http://goo.gl/ejJQAe
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/02/2014 03:47 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Prosecutor-Rick-Watson/Dallas-Texas-75207/Prosecutor-Rick-Watson-Dallas-County-Prosecutor-Rick-Watson-prosecutorial-misconduct-mal-1127697. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
If you would like to see more Rip-off Reports on this company/individual, search here:Search Tips
In order to assure the best results in your search:
Advertisers above have met our
strict standards for business conduct.