E.D.N.Y.: Facebook SW was far too broad, but court declines to decide 4A question and goes with GFE instead

This Facebook warrant just seeks way, way too much information when it could have been far more narrowly tailored. “That said, the court need not decide whether the Facebook Warrant violated the Fourth Amendment because, even if it did, the Facebook Warrant falls into the ‘good faith exception’ to the exclusionary rule established by United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 104 S. Ct. 3405, 82 L. Ed. 2d 677 (1984). See Blake, 868 F.3d at 974 (declining to decide whether broad Facebook warrants violated the Fourth Amendment because the court founds that the good-faith exception applied). …” United States v. Shipp, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117407 (E.D. N.Y. July 16, 2019):

In sum, the court is concerned that Facebook warrants of the kind at issue here unnecessarily “authorize precisely the type of ‘exploratory rummaging’ the Fourth Amendment protects against.” See United States v. Bradbury, No. 14-CR-71, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76849, 2015 WL 3737595, at *4 (N.D. Ind. June 15, 2015) (finding that warrant that did not limit the scope of a search of defendant’s Facebook account appeared on its face to permit an “inappropriate” “exploratory search”). Indeed, the format of the Facebook Warrant—an enumerated list of sixteen different categories of information associated with the account—suggests the organized nature of data associated with a Facebook account. It thus provides support for Defendant’s contention that the search authorized by the Facebook Warrant could have been more clearly defined by its object—i.e., evidence of possession of a firearm in 2018—and limited to the categories of information associated with the Facebook account in which there was probable cause to believe that such evidence might be found. (See Reply at 5.) Cf. Galpin, 720 F.3d at 451-52 (explaining that the plain view exception is not available to the extent that “digital search protocols target information outside the scope of the valid portion of the warrant,” noting that there was little evidence in the record as to whether the search at issue was “directed—much less properly limited—to those files that would substantiate [the charged crime],” and ordering the district court on remand to “determine whether a search limited to evidence of a registration violation would have necessitated the opening of image files or the playing of video files”).

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