D.Idaho: Broad email warrants are not per se unreasonable

Broad email search warrants were not unreasonable just because they were broad. The breadth of the financial crime under investigation justifies it. In addition, the good faith exception applies and it’s too early to tell if any has to be suppressed because the government hasn’t decided how much will be used [using the example of 11,000 pages seized and two messages used at trial in United States v. Flores, 802 F.3d 1028 (9th Cir. 2015)]. United States v. Babichenko, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126561 (D. Idaho July 16, 2020):

Here, the warrants’ lack of procedural safeguards alone is insufficient to show their execution was improper. Instead, the descriptive information of the alleged crimes and their relation to the searched areas indicate the warrants were not overbroad. The Government properly and timely executed the warrants according to their terms. The warrants did not prescribe the procedural safeguards urged by the Defendants, nor a time limit on the search process. Courts find time-consuming searches of computer data are not unreasonable. See United States v. Johnston, 789 F.3d 934 (9th Cir. 2015) (holding a five-year search was reasonable). Undoubtably, the amount of evidence seized is vast. However, considering that this is an investigation involving allegations of a decade-long criminal scheme involving ten defendants and over a hundred businesses, this large amount of evidence is not unreasonable, and the time required to search its contents is understandably lengthy.

. . .

Here, there is no allegation that the warrants lacked sufficient probable cause, the affidavits contained misleading information, or the magistrate judge abandoned her judicial role. Rather, the Defendants argue the lack of procedural safeguards rendered the officers’ reliance on the warrants unreasonable. However, as stated above, the lack of procedural safeguards did not render the warrants invalid. Moreover, the executing officers reasonably relied on the warrants, which contained in-depth descriptions of the defendants, their businesses, and the illegal activity at issue. 18-mj-10186-CWD Dkt 1. Thus, even if the warrants were overbroad, the good faith exception would prevent any suppression of evidence.

This entry was posted in E-mail, Particularity, Warrant execution. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.