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Ex-Peoria Cop's Child Porn Possession Case Comes Before Illinois Supreme Court

Illinois Supreme Court
The Illinois Supreme Court will decide in the coming months whether a search of a former Peoria cop's hard drive was unconstitutional on Fourth Amendment grounds. The search led to charges of child pornography possession.

The case of a former Peoria police officer's child pornography conviction has come before the Illinois Supreme Court.

The question is whether a search of John McCavitt's hard drive violated the Fourth Amendment and went beyond the scope of a warrant based on charges of sexual assault. McCavitt was acquitted on those charges.

An internal police investigation of a copy of the hard drive in the days following the acquittal, however, led to the discovery of child porn.

McCavitt was convicted in circuit court in 2016 for possession of child pornography. Later, an appellate court held he should have been allowed to remove the evidence from consideration because a search of a copy of a copy of his hard drive was unreasonable.

McCavitt's attorney James Leven argued the department needed to obtain a warrant with probable cause for the search, separate from the warrant that originally led to the seizure of the hard drive. Leven said the hard drive should have been returned to McCavitt after his prior acquittal.

Attorneys on the state's behalf argued the law didn't prevent police from searching the hard drive copy even after McCavitt's acquittal.

The Illinois Supreme Court will rule on the case's fate in the coming months.

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