Category Archives: Social media warrants

Kerr: “Terms of Service have little or no effect on Fourth Amendment rights.”

Orin Kerr, Terms of Service and Fourth Amendment Rights, 172 U. Pa. L. Rev. 287 (2024):

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D.Utah: Facebook account SW was properly limited to time and to crime under investigation and not overbroad

This Facebook account warrant was properly limited. “First, both warrants here were limited to a time period of about one year, from December 11, 2020, to November 17, 2021. As a result, neither warrant allowed the government to search everything … Continue reading

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D.Idaho: What’s “full and fair opportunity” under Stone?

“Powell does not specify a particular test for determining whether a state provided a defendant with an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim. To aid in determination of this question, federal district courts in the … Continue reading

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CA8: Affiant officer’s belief that criminals brag about crimes on social media allows cell phone search in a gun case

“We conclude the affidavit adequately established probable cause that Ivey’s cell phone would contain evidence of a firearms offense. Officers found the phone in Ivey’s possession while he was located in a vehicle with a gun under his seat. The … Continue reading

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Cal.5: Defective notice of Facebook warrant under CalECPA doesn’t require suppression

Defendant’s Facebook account was accessed by a search warrant issued under CalECPA. The notice provision was not complied with by the state, but the court declines to suppress here. The standard for suppression in CalECPA is the same as for … Continue reading

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D.C.Cir. denies rehearing en banc in Trump Twitter SW case

The D.C. Cir. denied rehearing from the Twitter account search warrant for former President Trump’s account, In re Sealed Case, 77 F.4th 815 (D.C. Cir. July 18, 2023) (corrected and unredacted version), in In re Search of Info. Stored at … Continue reading

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OH7: Ohio SW can be for info on California server; SCA contemplates it and CA law says providers must comply with out-of-state process

Defense counsel wasn’t ineffective for not challenging a social media account search warrant issued in Ohio on a California server. The SCA contemplates this, and California law directs computer companies to honor process from other states. Defendant can’t win on … Continue reading

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E.D.Wis.: Text and Facebook messages about crime justified warrant for them

In a health care fraud case, the government knew that messages about the crime were exchanged by text and Facebook, and that was sufficient to get a search warrant for them. In any event, the good faith exception applied. United … Continue reading

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DC: Facebook can’t assert 1A or 4A privacy of posts under SCA

Facebook and the District of Columbia are litigating a subpoena from the D.C. A.G. over alleged Covid misinformation. There is no expectation of privacy in what is posted on Facebook. “May” divulge in the Store Communications Act is an excuse … Continue reading

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D.Md.: Instagram SW was valid by GFE despite weak PC, but it was excessively searched

“The Instagram Motion [to suppress] will be granted in part. Although the probable cause to search Rivers’ Instagram account was weak, the Leon good faith exception applies and the evidence will therefore not be suppressed on the basis of a … Continue reading

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NJ: SW for realtime updates from a Facebook account was a virtual wiretap that had to comply with state wiretap law

The state had a warrant for updates every 15 minutes of two Facebook accounts. That was virtually a wiretap, and the state wiretapping law applies. Facebook, Inc. v. State, 2023 N.J. LEXIS 700 (June 29, 2023). From the syllabus:

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AF: Telling wife in jail call to delete a social media account AFOSI was looking to search was obstruction

While defendant was in pretrial confinement, he called his wife and instructed her to delete a social media account that the government was intending to search. This led to his obstruction charge. The call was monitored by the jail. United … Continue reading

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E.D.Cal.: Contraband cell phone in prison can be wiretapped outside of Title III

Because there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in a prison or in a cell phone in prison, a contraband cell phone can be wiretapped without a Title III warrant. United States v. Bash, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180680 (E.D. … Continue reading

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D.D.C.: No REP in Facebook posting tracking information

There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the “tracking information” of underlying data in one’s social media accounts or time and location information of postings. Moreover, Facebook post tracking information is more voluntary and not fulltime tracking like CSLI … Continue reading

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N.D.Ga.: Former AUSA as USMJ not automatically recused from hearing motion to suppress

The USMJ hearing the motion to suppress in this case was earlier an AUSA in the office prosecuting it. She had nothing to do with this case, so recusal is not required. (“Neutral and detached” never mentioned.) United States v. … Continue reading

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E.D.Va.: Drug paraphernalia was in plain view before flashlight put through window

Drug paraphernalia seen from outside the vehicle before sticking a flashlight in the window was a valid plain view. United States v. Johnson, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149401 (E.D. Va. Aug. 19, 2022).* There was probable cause for plaintiff’s prosecution, … Continue reading

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W.D.Mo.: SW for the entirety of def’s Instagram account was not a general search

The warrant for the entirety of defendant’s Instagram account was not a general search. United States v. Smith, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147892 (W.D. Mo. Aug. 18, 2022). Seeing a handgun protruding from defendant’ waistband as he walked down the … Continue reading

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D.Md.: Cell phone dump on a SW wasn’t shown to be overbroad

A cell phone dump after a search warrant wasn’t necessarily overbroad, and didn’t show it. “More particularity was impractical, and was not required.” United States v. Nelson, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125994 (D. Md. July 15, 2022). Officers who used … Continue reading

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W.D.Wis.: No REP in one’s Facebook posts, even when accessed by a “ghost” account

A law enforcement officer’s creation of a ghost Facebook account to access defendant’s private pages violated no reasonable expectation of privacy. United States v. Randall, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122615 (W.D. Wis. July 12, 2022), and more elaborate than I … Continue reading

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D.Md.: Facebook subject to search because of interactions there with co-conspirator

Defendant’s Facebook page was subject to being searched because there were interactions on it with a coconspirator, and that showed probable cause. United States v. Daprato, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78626 (D.Md. May 2, 2022).* “Frey’s motion to suppress evidence … Continue reading

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