Spurious Porn Allegations

We feel that Steve Powell was denied the right to defend himself in court because the relevant arguments and evidence showing his innocence were not allowed during the trial. These arguments center on police malfeasance during the Susan Powell investigation, all information about which was suppressed. This means that the police were given a pass because clear constitutional violations, perjury in affidavits, and the very relevant issue of whether the "evidence" was real or fake were not scrutinized during the trial.

We think that the public should have an opportunity to form their own opinion about whether the evidence against Steve Powell was fabricated.

We can prove that the West Valley City Police had all the time, funding, manpower, expertise, and information they needed. They were able to maintain total secrecy under the excuse that they were conducting an investigation. We have evidence that law enforcement was casing our house and neighborhood starting as early as a year before the illegal search. The police set up a bogus appointment in Steve Powell's job to get him far away from his house the day of the search. CPS documents showed that the police were planning an attack on Josh's children beginning at least two months before the search. The search itself was based on the totally implausible rationale that investigators wanted Susan's childhood journals, which she wrote before she and Josh were even married. Then investigators spent nine hours in the house during the search, ensuring that they were there during both daytime and nighttime. Other accusations by the police that have turned out to be false, including claims that Susan hated Steve or that Josh possessed cartoon pornography, also hurt the police's credibility in this situation.

The "evidence" the police claim to have found was suspect in a number of regards. The police claim to have found still-shots taken from video footage, but the video itself was never brought forward. Also, the police testified that they did not view any of the contents of the digital media they seized on the day of the search before taking it, but they nevertheless happened to confiscate the same camera the shots were supposedly taken from while rejecting the three other cameras that were there. They did this despite that the search warrant did not specify cameras. They also took Steve Powell's journals, despite that the warrant did not authorize seizure of these items.


Generating Pictures and Videos

We all know how popular Photoshop has become. These days even amateurs can create lifelike images using image editing software. Here are a couple examples of edited images:



That goes for videos as well. With some funding and expertise, even very high-quality, convincing videos can be generated, as the following videos demonstrate. The video below shows what appears to be a woman talking:



This video, however, shows that that woman is not in fact real. She was computer generated using images and material from several sources, in this case several members of an all-girl band in Japan.



Photo and video editing are becoming so sophisticated that it's blurring the lines between real and phony images. Careers depend on falsification of photos and videos. Practically every fashion magazine has photo editing experts that modify not only general image attributes like brightness or contrast, but also the content of the photographs. Computer-rendered animations are becoming extremely lifelike, as can readily be observed not only in movie special effects, but also video games or cut scenes. The software for making lifelike computer renderings or editing existing videos is becoming more and more readily available to amateurs, and more economical as well.

The point is, in this day and age, there is nothing preventing a motivated individual with the right resources from fabricating a video. The police spent several hours in the Powell home during their search during both daytime and nighttime, and an inordinate amount of time in Steve Powell's bedroom. There was nothing preventing them from obtaining photographs or videos of the neighboring houses or neighborhood.


The Nature of the "Evidence" in Steve Powell's Case

The police claimed to have found pictures of the neighbor girls among Steve's possessions. They claimed that the pictures were still-shots taken from video footage. The police no doubt expected that "video evidence" would be perceived as being much stronger than just photographs. The problem is that they never brought forward the actual video. In other words, the photos didn't have to be as high-quality as normal photographs because they came from a video stream, and the police didn't have to account for any hard-to-fake movement because there is no motion in still-shots. This means that the particular type of evidence the police presented is actually weaker than either normal photographs or video clips.

So although it is possible to detect faked photos and videos, still-shots would have certain artifacts such as lower resolution or video compression that would be easy to hide behind. Police witnesses during the trial also described some of the photos as being dark or hard to make out due to the fact that they were night shots, etc. All of these factors form ready-made excuses for poor-quality images that would be easier to falsify.

There are also factors in the surrounding circumstances that don't add up right. The police took cameras despite that these were not specified by the search warrant (they also took VHS tapes, despite that these are not "digital media"). The police stated specifically in their testimony that officers did not review the content of storage media before boxing it up for shipment to Utah. This means that, even assuming that cameras were fair game, it is unclear how the police knew to take the one camera they claim matched the digital signature of the photos in question while leaving the other cameras in the house. Conveniently, it came out during the trial that there were no fingerprints on the CD or camera. In an additional twist, despite that the alleged crime happened in Pierce County, Washington, the West Valley City Police hoarded all the alleged evidence in Utah, insisting on carrying out all the basic analytical and processing functions related to Steve Powell's trial.

It should also be noted that it is unclear what motivation the police had for taking Steve Powell's journals during the search, unless they knew even before the search that they were going to put him on trial and needed to conceal exculpatory evidence about his activities or interests. The police's false claims about Susan's attitudes toward Steve Powell, and their false accusations against Josh about cartoon pornography also considerably undermine the idea that their "evidence" is legitimate.


Do the Police Have the Resources to Falsify the Evidence?

The answer is a resounding yes.

With an investigation that had been running for almost two years, the police arguably had plenty of time to plan and prepare for a plant. Law enforcement had conducted an earlier, voluntary search of the Powell home in May of 2010 (more than one year before the August 25th search) in which they certainly would have had an opportunity to case our home and lines of sight to nearby houses. The May 2010 search was conducted by about a dozen law enforcement personnel, several of whom were unattended by members of the Powell family during the search.

The police also had plenty of expertise and manpower. The WVCPD claimed early on that over 30 officers had been assigned to the Susan Powell missing person case. Also, leading up to the August 25th search, the police had started bringing child pornography specialists into the investigation, such as Sgt. Mike Powell. Pierce County Detective Gary Sanders also works in a special unit dedicated to child pornography and other crimes. These people have access to forensic experts and evidence collected from past cases.

A quick review of the WVCPD's large-scale hoaxes in Ely, Nevada and Topaz Mountain, Utah show very clearly that the police had access to a practically unlimited store of funds, provided to them by the voters of West Valley City, Utah.

All the information needed to fabricate photos of the neighbor girls was publicly available through various sources. The Powells live in a "cookie-cutter neighborhood"; the entire neighborhood was developed by Quadrant Homes based on just a handful of floor plans. Some of the residents who bought houses when the neighborhood was developed in 2004 still have copies of those floor plans, and they are also available through Quadrant customer service. It is possible to match up these floor plans with other services such as Google Maps to show lines of sight or other information about the layout of the neighborhood, as in this example. Also, information as to the owners of all the houses in the neighborhood is available in the public record, and names of present and past tenants, including the individuals in question in this case, can be found on public websites. Photographs are available on social networking sites, driver's licenses, school yearbooks, and other sources accessible to police. In other words, the police had available to them all the information necessary to falsify photographs of the neighbor girls.

Overall, the police had access to all the resources needed to fabricate the so-called evidence brought against Steve Powell. The suspicious or overly convenient circumstances of the alleged crime and evidence, as well as the advance preparations the police were clearly making leading up to the search, also suggest foul play.