NC: Police exceeded private search of thumb drive, and it’s suppressed

Defendant’s wife opened a thumb drive in defendant’s briefcase looking for pictures of herself and his housekeeper when he was overseas. She found a picture of her daughter asleep unclothed from the waist up, and took it to the police who also searched it. Their search exceeded the private search. The court rejects the notion that opening the thumb drive was a total loss of a reasonable expectation of privacy in it. The motion to suppress everything that exceeded the private search should have been granted. The case is remanded for consideration of whether the private search alone provided probable cause to search the thumb drive. State v. Terrell, 2019 N.C. LEXIS 784 (Aug. 16, 2019).

The state had probable cause to believe that the juvenile was involved in a robbery of the victim and her death. A search warrant for his house produced his clothing with the victim’s DNA on it, and his phone and which showed that it had connected to the victim’s wifi network putting him in or near the house. State v. O.E.W., 2019 Ind. App. LEXIS 378 (Aug. 19, 2019).*

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