Category Archives: Social media warrants

Reason: Internet Preservation and the Fourth Amendment—Case Updates, Part I

Reason, The Volokh Conspiracy: Internet Preservation and the Fourth Amendment—Case Updates, Part I by Orin S. Kerr (“The first of two rulings, and why I find it unpersuasive.”):

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CA6: No REP from ATF getting access to def’s Instagram posts with false name

Defendant is a felon who posted to Instagram pictures of him firing guns. The ATF got access to his account, and he had no reasonable expectation of privacy in it, even where the ATF agent used a fake name to … Continue reading

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MN: Jail call to delete Facebook pages because of incriminating information was PC for SW

Defendant told a person he called from jail to delete his Facebook accounts because of potentially incriminating evidence on it. The state showed probable cause and particularity for the Facebook warrant. State v. Sardina-Padilla, 2024 Minn. LEXIS 307 (June 12, … Continue reading

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CA4: Alleged dirty cop involved in SW but not at trial wasn’t enough for new trial

An alleged dirty cop who didn’t testify at trial and was part of obtaining the search warrant was not enough to get a new trial. United States v. Banks, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 14273 (4th Cir. June 12, 2024). The … Continue reading

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DC: Accepting a law license is consent to trust account subpoenas

Being a lawyer with a trust account, lawyer’s consent to subpoenas for their trust account. The lawyer’s argument that it’s an unreasonable search is frivolous. In re Doman, 2024 D.C. App. LEXIS 191 (May 16, 2024). Defendant didn’t show standing … Continue reading

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D.Kan.: Preservation request under SCA isn’t a search or seizure

A preservation request under 18 U.S.C. § 2703(f) for defendant’s Snapchat account isn’t an unreasonable search or seizure. Even if, “suppression would not be warranted because the FBI acted in good faith reliance on the Stored Communications Act. As a … Continue reading

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GFR: Feds Demand Identity Of YouTube Users Who Watched Certain Videos

Giant Freakin Robot: Feds Demand Identity Of YouTube Users Who Watched Certain Videos by April Ryder (“Federal authorities in the U.S. have ordered that Google hand over tens of thousands of names, addresses, phone numbers, and user activity information for … Continue reading

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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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