More than a year after it happened, the two men who found a mislaid iPhone 4 and sold it to Gizmodo have been formally charged.
There was quite a kerfuffle in early 2010 over the appearance of an iPhone 4 prototype preview on the tech blog Gizmodo. The unit was apparently left in a bar by an Apple engineer, where it was discovered by Brian Hogan and Sage Wallower, an enterprising duo who promptly began shopping it around.
Enter Gizmodo, which paid a cool $5000 for the thing, posted a photo-laden preview and unleashed a firestorm of controversy over the ethics of paying for what may or may not have been stolen property. Police raided the home of Jason Chen, the Gizmodo editor who wrote the preview, seizing four computers and two servers, but he and the site have now officially been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Hogan and Wallower, however, are not so lucky. Hogan has been charged with one misdemeanor count of misappropriation of lost property, while Wallower is facing one misdemeanor charge of misappropriation of lost property and one of possession of stolen property. The pair will be arraigned later this month.
“Although we do not believe that charges of any kind should have been filed, Brian fully accepts responsibility for his actions,” Hogan’s lawyer, Jeffrey Bornstein of K&L Gates said in a statement.
All I know about the U.S. justice system I learned from Mike and Lenny, so I have to ask: isn’t taking more than a year to file charges, plus a statement from both the D.A.’s office and the defendant’s lawyer, a bit much for a couple of misdemeanors? It seems like an awful lot of time and effort to sink into prosecuting to what is essentially a failure to turn something in to the Lost & Found.
Source: The Am Law Daily