Cal.6: A broad SW is permissible in a computer search because it may be difficult to locate the subject of the search

The search warrant was sufficiently particular for a computer because it is more difficult to determine what is where in a computer when searching it. It was reasonable to allow a broad search of defendant’s computer to find what was sought. Klugman v. Superior Court, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 875 (6th Dist. Aug. 30, 2019) [posted Sept. 16, 2019]:

We agree with the trial court that the constitutional particularity requirements were met here. As the court noted, relying on Hill, supra, 459 F.3d at p. 973, “it is impossible to tell what a computer storage medium contains just by looking at it.” The warrant did not authorize seizure of any material for exploratory purposes, but conveyed the limited objective, which was to recover material “depicting or relating to child pornography,” identify “victims of sexual abuse or exploitation,” and access files and other material “referring to or relating to planned or actual sexual encounters with minors.” While we agree that the search permitted a wide range of locations of the information sought, viewed in light of the purpose and circumstances of the intended search, the warrant was reasonably specific in identifying the nature of the materials to be seized. (Cf. United States v. Campos (10th Cir. 2000) 221 F.3d 1143, 1147 [upholding warrant that was “directed at items relating to child pornography,” not an unfocused inspection of computer equipment]; United States v. Hay (9th Cir. 2000) 231 F.3d 630, 637 [seizure of entire computer system necessary where government had no way of knowing where targeted child pornography images were stored].)

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