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Evidence thrown out in felony case, all because of this one issue...

We all know that individuals facing legal charges are entitled to a defense attorney. But do we really know what they do or how beneficial they are? A recent case in the state of Washington illustrates this point.

A man was facing serious felony charges and, because the assistance of his attorney and that attorney's knowledge of the law, was able to help him significantly.

Here's how.

Basic facts of the case

A teacher was facing prosecution for possession of child pornography. The evidence against him included visits to an illegal pornographic website and pornographic photographs found on his computer, mobile phone, and a thumb drive.

The FBI had employed a network investigative technique (NET) to obtain the proof, using malware that hacked into the pornographic website.

Defense team's request

The defense team requested to see the computer code that drove the malware, as it was considered suspect and unreliable.

Initially, the government agreed to comply with this request, but they only provided a data stream from the NIT operation. According to technical experts consulted by the defense attorney, this was a basic red herring that had nothing to do with the code information requested.

The defense team pushed back but the government simply said they had provided enough data and should not have to supply the exact computer code used.

The judge disagreed.

The judge's ruling

The judge ruling that the government had to provide all of the NIT code to the defense. When the prosecution refused, the judge ordered the exclusion of the evidence.

Although the case itself was not dismissed, the prosecutor would have a much more difficult time proving the alleged crime without the evidence obtained by the FBI. This case offers a perfect example of why, when the need arises, criminal defense attorneys can mean the difference between freedom and possible life in prison.

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