Prosecutors Drop Xbox 360 Modder Case

Federal prosecutors dropped their case today against Matthew Crippen, a 28-year-old California man arrested last August for allegedly modifying Xbox 360 consoles to play pirated games, and selling the modified systems.

Crippen was indicted on Wednesday for two counts of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which each violation carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

According to a report from Wired, prosecutor Allen Chiu told the judge they were dropping the case “based on fairness and justice.” A number of factors contributed to the case being dismissed. The prosecution’s first witness was Tony Rosario, an Entertainment Software Association member. Rosario went undercover as a customer and videotaped Crippen at his house allegedly modifying a console in 2008. The defense argued that Rosario violated California privacy law by secretly videotaping Crippen.

The defense also accused the prosecution of withholding key pre-trial testimony, where Rosario stated that Crippen inserted a pirated game into the console after he modified it, demonstrating Crippen knew he was breaking the law.

“That fact was disclosed on Sunday,” Chiu said. “We should have disclosed that to the defense right away.”

The prosecution’s other key witness, Ken McGrail, a Microsoft employee who analyzed Crippen’s allegedly hacked consoles, later admitted he himself modified Xbox consoles in college.

Chiu dropped the case for these reasons citing prosecutorial errors.

“It still has not hit me yet,” Crippen told Wired outside the court after the dismissal was decided. As a free man, Crippen says he plans to head back to Cal State Fullerton to finish the final year of his liberal arts degree.

via: IGN

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