NYLJ: Computer Searches: A ‘General’ Warrant Can No Longer Satisfy Requirements

NYLJ: Computer Searches: A ‘General’ Warrant Can No Longer Satisfy Requirements by Roger L. Stavis (May 19, 2017):

Unfortunately, “general” warrants, authorizing “rummaging” searches without specification, are alive and well in the 21st Century. More often than not, such “general warrants” are relied upon to authorize “rummaging” searches of computers. Consider for one moment the following clause in a recent search warrant obtained and executed by a state prosecutor’s office here in New York City. In addition to business records, the search warrant sought: “Any and all computers, as that term is defined in Penal Law §156.00(1) also known as electronic devices, desktop CPUs, laptops, cell phones and tablets.” The warrant authorized the search of the entire contents of each and every computer found on the premises, without specification or limitation with regard to the evidence sought or the crime to which that evidence related.

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