S.D.Ill.: When moving to suppress “data” one has to be specific

Defendant’s motion to suppress “data” and “associated data” fails because of his failure to show what and where it was or could be. (It kind of becomes a general motion to suppress.) United States v. Smith, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8837 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 18, 2023):

From the outset, it becomes apparent that properly assessing whether evidence was seized inappropriately is fraught with difficulty without first determining whether Smith’s loosely defined categories of allegedly wrongly seized evidence (e.g., data associated with emails and electronic calendars and browsing history) fit or do not fit within the descriptions given in the “List of Items to be Seized.” These difficulties are well-demonstrated by the unique nature of electronic data and its relative mobility and susceptibility to disguise and secretion. Such data can be readily moved, modified, or copied into a variety of formats and readily hidden by location or description. Text data, calendar activity, and browsing information may by easily copied and placed in an email or other messaging platform to be forwarded to another, thereby effectively moving it from one category of data to another. The connections between, and the integration and interface of, various forms and formats of electronic data are practically limitless. So, Smith’s request for suppression of “associated” data, without reference to a specific item or a readily identifiable group of evidence, would require the Court to sift through thousands of pieces of evidence in the hunt for data that might fit, in whole or in part, within Smith’s defined categories. The requirement that the movant seeking suppression present “facts which are definite, specific, detailed and nonconjectural” has not been met here. Thus, he has failed to carry his threshold burden.

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