case of the United States Government against Ryan Christopher Lynn

This article examines the United States Government's case against Ryan Christopher Lynn. Ryan, a 21-year-old citizen from Fresno, California, was accused and convicted of violating a clause that forbids child pornography. Ryan is charged with receiving or distributing child pornography and possessing child pornography after being discovered with a laptop containing video files and still photographs of child pornography. The government gathers evidence to support the criminal charges by summoning computer specialist and Special Agent, Robert, who identifies Limewire, a software that relied on a Gnutella network to download the files available as evidence against Ryan's crime. After hearing from some witnesses to cases of child sexual violations, the court determines sufficient proof of merit by the plaintiff and convicts the defendant on substantive counts. Anyone, as at the time of Ryan's offense, is held culpable by the provisions, who receives or distributes knowingly any visual depictions of child pornography in the mail, shipment or through interstate commerce transport. Similarly, by any means inclusive of the computer, the possession of one or more sources of matter to visual depictions indicated as such above in the case determines whether a conviction is held or not. However, a rational trier of facts may become necessary in such a case to find out if a visual depiction produced in one state merits charges of distribution and receipt through mailing, shipment, and transport in interstate commerce. In this regard, evidence suffices conviction unless lack of a rational trier of fact is found essential to elements of a crime. The chain of custody in the case is affirmed by the testimony of the experts.


The purpose of this paper is to detail the case of the United States vs Ryan Lynn. In this paper there will be details in the case that used computer forensics. Discussed in this paper will include a description of search and seizure. Provided in the paper will include the procedures of the investigation that discuss the investigation process, data recovery, securing the evidence and chain of custody. Also included in the paper will be the type of software used in the investigation and commonly used in federal cases (Easttom, 2017). More sources and details will be included in the term paper as the class progresses.

The Case

Detail the Сase

In a case against Ryan, federal agents executed a search warrant that recovered at his home a Toshiba laptop on May 23, 2008. In the investigations, Ryan Lynn's computer was found to contain videos and still images of pornography involving the minors. Without as much regard to the number as to the legal implication of the videos, the court yet determined the case as merited by the provision and proof of their existence in the laptop. Apparently, the files that were downloaded into the drive were sourced from a network program that engaged peer-to-peer sharing platform called LimeWire. Once downloaded into a computer, it uses "Gnutella" network to access dynamic indexing servers by users over the system that contains a store of information about files available for sharing or download. At the search, a user identifies others with file names in the search criteria to download some desired data into a Limeware folder on the hard disk. The operating download procedure transfers a file to a folder marked incomplete from where it is saved as an entire folder and by default can be accessed other network users.

Describe Search and Seizure in the Сase

The federal agents obtained a court order to search the Ryan's home. However, there is limited information on the contents of the search warrant. A search warrant ought to be detailed in relation to the specific items that ought to be searched within the home of the accused. The seizure of any material from the home of the accused also ought to be in tandem with the Fourth Amendment. Assumable, the seizure of Ryan's laptop was in line with search warrant which must have included the search of him computer(s) since the crime committed is a computer crime. In the case of State vs. Castagnola, there court affirmed that a search warrant that had no particularity was defective and ought not to be executed in the course of finding out evidence to a case.

Explain How the Evidence Was Obtained

The evidence was obtained by retrieving information from Ryan's computer hard drive. In the hard drive, there were 184 video files and 53 still images that were recovered from Ryan's computer. A detailed description of how the files were shared and how they got stored in the computer of the accused. The evidence obtained in Ryan's computer was retrieved having obtained a search warrant from the court.


Discuss the Investigation Process

For the case of Ryan Lynn, images and videos retrieved from the software downloads merit a process of legal breakdowns that ultimately supports indications of a crime. The government, through an expert, conducted a forensic examination of the laptop which indicated that a limeware folder with all standard subfolders was present. Under this setup, the child pornography videos were located in saved, shared and incomplete folders while the still images traced to the saved and shared. With two more witnesses to testify on the case, the burden of proof unloads even more with the testimony of Crozier and Shepherd. One video portion played to the jury; Crozier identifies a minor victim of sexual abuse and exploitation from Georgia. The video had also apparently been mailed from an address in Georgia to London. In yet another portion of the video uploads played, a minor victim of sexual abuse was identified by the shepherd to have occurred in Washington. However in defense of Ryan, the images and videos had been inadvertently downloaded, and therefore according to Penrod who is also computer forensics expert, the software would download files from users ranging from abroad or different states to the right next door. According to this argument, an interstate commerce element was argued out by the prosecutor that consisted some submissions against the defendant. This also regarded the two case witnesses on videos of identified child sex victims played to the jury. Based on an element of the image from which the interstate commerce could be looked, a sufficient proof of conviction meets the fact that numerous images of minors engaged in explicit sexual conduct were available. As such, any one image would work towards sentence with other elements having been met. Considering the witness case from Georgia, an indication that the particular video surfaced on the United Kingdom held strength to the statement that not only did an interface commerce journey begin from Georgia to California but also to the United Kingdom.

Explain Data Recovery

The date recovery process is actualized using the software that has been recognized by the court. The recovery process begins by the seizure of the personal computer and retrieving of the relevant files from the personal computer. The recovery process is done within the shortest possible time to avert the likelihood of loss of data and further ensuring that the trace of how the files were shared including their geo locations. The evidence also entails the date, signature and the names of the computer including the IP address that were using in sharing the files.

Explain the Evidence Analyzed in the Case

An evidence of out-of-state production becomes limitedly insufficient from the Limewire software that fails to indicate the occurrence of such transitional locations. A chance may occur as well that any download had taken place between in-state Livewire users, thereby downscaling the strength of interstate argument. In another contentious convention, a determination may not be readily met that lack of any other evidence goes ahead to merit the interstate element upon proof of internet usage to acquire child pornography by the defendant. According to the government, however, a burden of sufficiency is enough to be met by any uncontroverted evidence that any or some of the original depictions were produced in other states. Any video footage on this account that at one time fixed in a medium before arriving on Ryan's laptop via limeware satisfies the interstate element upon shipment or mailing.

Discuss Chain of Custody and Its Importance in All Cases

The chain of custody is an intricate process that entails the documentation, collection and protection of data and evidence. Each piece of evidence that is collected has to be documented based on the location in which the evidence was found and the time in which it was found. The chain of custody is often facilitated by the crime scene experts where photographs and notes documented by the experts. The chain of custody is often important to adding weight to the evidence and having reliability and accuracy of the information that has been obtained.

Types of Software Used in the Case and Used by Most Federal Agencies

Discuss Encase

EnCase is a critical tool that is crucial in retrieving digital evidence that is needed in the computing forensic. The EnCase software is used by the forensic experts in the copying of the needed files from the computer of the accused into a CD which is the taken for a forensic audit. EnCase is also a software that has been approved by the courts and legal entities as being crucial in retrieving of the pertinent data that ought to be drawn from the digital records of an accused person for the purpose of the investigation.

Discuss Forensic Tool Kit (FTK)

The FTK is a crucial tool that is used in the retrieving of data and further enabling inter operatability whereby the different professionals needing the evidence can have a centralized access. Additionally, FTK enables the computer users to find out the relevant data that ought to be used in the data analysis process. The data that is needed from the computer of the accused person are the files of child pornography. FTK tool enables the forensic experts to issued command that can be only used to sieve out the images of child pornography that can be used to build up and strengthen the case against the accused person.


The use of present perfect tense denotes an act already completed. The words "has been" refer to visual depictions having completed an interstate journey were then downloaded and received by the defendant. This followed a referral to a pursuant case where a defendant purchased a weapon from his state of Kentucky, manufactured in Massachusetts and shipped to North Carolina before reception by the Kentucky vendor. On this position, it holds for the government that to convict for receipt and possession of child pornography, the demand for evidence of specific crossing of state border is not necessary, but that at some time the visual depiction has crossed a state or international boundary. The jury report therefore in conviction persuasively states that the Congress has enacted a section of the provisions, criminalized the constraints of child pornography regardless of media or format of existence when the offender was caught. In a different summary of context, a visual image starts and ends pornographically transported in binary form and this forms the basis of prohibition by the Congress. On account of contention incorrect understanding of visual depiction, the case is served more weight on the way files are acquired through the LimeWire, having less concern for the quality of information received and distributed. This presents negligence of conduct by users who are arguably not concerned to verify the contents of download. The government, therefore, bears upon the panel responsibility to hold without more evidence that internet usage is inherently interstate and as such satisfies interstate element when used to acquire child pornography.


Easttom, C. (2017). System forensics, investigation, and response. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Forensic Toolkit. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Software, G. (n.d.). Endpoint Security, Incident Response & Digital Forensics | Guidance Software. Retrieved from

US v. Lynn, 636 F. 3d 1127 - Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 2011 - Google Scholar. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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