Friday, April 9, 2010

The FBI Removes Items From Senator Musto's Home

Unlike the veteran reporters who are writing about the FBI's visit to Senator Ray Musto's home in Pittston Township SOP will not say that "evidence" was removed from the premises. As far as we know there was no crime committed at the residence. The most that should be responsibly said is that "items" were removed from the residence in accordance with the provisions of the search warrant.

In this article from the Times Leader the caption under the photograph reads FBI agents carry plastic garbage bags of evidence they gathered Thursday during a search of state Sen. Ray Musto’s Pittston Township house and cars. Another article that appeared in the Citizen's Voice reads State Sen. Raphael Musto said he sat on his back porch and "enjoyed the sun" Thursday as federal agents spent more than two hours searching his Pittston Township home, removing three trash bags of evidence from the house and a satellite radio from his car.

At best the agents removed articles of interest that will be appropriately processed to see if they support the commission of a crime. In law, evidence are various things presented in court for the purpose of proving or disproving a matter brought before it for judgement. Evidence includes testimony, documents, photographs, maps and video tapes. Items can be excluded or stricken which is not evidence.

Musto said the agents contacted him at his Pittston district office about a half-hour before they arrived at his home. He said he had no prior contact with the agents beforeThursday. Speculation abounds over the search but the fact of the matter is not one person other than the agents really know why they executed the visit.

Somewhere in the near future we may glean the probable cause that justified the issuance of the search warrant. According to Wikipedia:
The most well-known definition of probable cause is "a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime".[1] Another common definition is "a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person's belief that certain facts are probably true".[2]

In either case probable cause is a long way from actual charges. To date Senator Musto has not been charged by any authority. Only time will play out the scenes in this drama to reveal the need for the search to the public.

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