Milwaukee Judge Denies Maxwell Anderson's Laptop Request, Approves Unsealing of Search Warrant Findings

Case Overview:

Maxwell Anderson, a former Milwaukee mayoral candidate, has been charged with child sex crimes. He sought access to his laptop, which was seized during a search warrant execution, to aid in his defense. However, Judge David Borowski recently rejected this request, citing potential evidence tampering concerns.

Laptop Request Denied:

Judge Borowski determined that granting Anderson access to his laptop would pose a significant risk of evidence tampering. He noted that the laptop contains sensitive electronic data that could be manipulated or destroyed, potentially compromising the integrity of the investigation.

Search Warrant Findings to be Unsealed:

While denying Anderson's laptop request, Judge Borowski agreed to unseal the findings of the search warrant used to seize the laptop. This decision will make public the details of the probable cause that led to the warrant's issuance.

Additional Details:

  • Anderson faces multiple counts of possession and distribution of child pornography.
  • His arrest was part of a larger investigation into a national child exploitation network.
  • The search warrant was executed in November 2023, and investigators seized Anderson's laptop, cell phone, and other electronic devices.

Defense Argument:

Anderson's defense attorney argued that the laptop contained exculpatory evidence necessary for his defense. The attorney claimed that text messages, emails, and other data on the laptop would demonstrate that Anderson was not involved in any illegal activity.

Prosecution's Response:

Prosecutors argued that Anderson's laptop should not be released to him because it could be used to destroy evidence, intimidate witnesses, or plan further crimes. They also emphasized the importance of preserving the integrity of the electronic data for a potential trial.

Judge's Ruling:

After considering both arguments, Judge Borowski concluded that the potential risks of releasing Anderson's laptop outweighed any potential benefits. He denied Anderson's request, recognizing the need to protect the integrity of the evidence in the case.

Unsealing of Search Warrant Findings:

The unsealing of the search warrant findings is expected to provide the public with a clearer understanding of the evidence that led to Anderson's arrest. However, the specific details of the findings may not be released until after an in-camera (private) review by the judge.

Implications of the Decision:

Anderson's case raises important questions about the balance between a defendant's right to access evidence for their defense and the need to preserve the integrity of evidence in criminal investigations. The court's decision to deny Anderson's laptop request while approving the unsealing of search warrant findings represents a compromise that aims to protect both the rights of the defendant and the interests of justice.

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