Judge rules that phone passcodes are off limits in human trafficking case | The Berkshire Eagle – Massachusetts News

Judge rules that phone passcodes are off limits in human trafficking case | The Berkshire Eagle – Massachusetts News

PITTSFIELD — Prosecutors will not be able to compel a defendant facing human trafficking charges to provide passcodes to a pair of cell phones connected to the case.

Meanwhile, the attorney representing Charles Robinson in the matter has filed another motion seeking to have the case dismissed, arguing his client is the target of selective prosecution.

Robinson, who is being held on $175,000 bail, has pleaded not guilty to charges claiming he lured a pair of women from Vermont to Berkshire County under false pretenses for the purpose of selling them for sex and reaping the profits.

Part of the allegations state that Robinson created online advertisements for the women’s services without their consent, using nude or suggestive photos of them culled from their phones or social media accounts.

Two phones are at issue in the case; one was provided to investigators by one of the alleged victims, the other found in Robinson’s motel room when he was arrested in late October, 2016.

Attorney Raymond Jacoub, representing Robinson, argued that compelling his client to provide information to unlock the phones violated his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and the state did not have reliable evidence Robinson has any knowledge of how to unlock the phones.

Judge John Agostini issued a five-page decision Thursday, denying the state’s motion.

Agostini said a problem with the state’s argument is that all of the information regarding the phones is based only on the statements of one of the alleged victims, with no other verification.

Robinson never admitted ownership or control of the phones to…

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