AZ: Private search and apparent consent don’t support warrantless search of SD card in video voyeurism case

Defendant was convicted of video voyeurism for a camera hidden in the bathroom of his house to record foster children. One of them found it, attempted to read the SD card but failed, and turned it with the SD card over to child protective services who passed it to the police. The police searched it without a warrant. All the preferred grounds for a warrantless search are rejected. The trial court found abandonment which the state doesn’t pursue on appeal. Apparent authority to consent is rejected because it was defendant’s and the girls didn’t have control over it. The private search doctrine fails because it wasn’t searched by the girls. “ But we do not anchor the private search doctrine in whether a device could hypothetically have been searched by a private actor. Rather, we must assess which expectations of privacy were actually frustrated by the private party’s investigation.” Under state law, a justified seizure of electronic devices doesn’t obviate a warrant. State v. Duncan, 2024 Ariz. App. LEXIS 52 (Apr. 19, 2024). [Compare State v. McCollaugh, 2024 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 39 (Apr. 19, 2024), where defendant’s wife discovered similar videos and the police got a warrant to follow up.]

Defendant was in a store eating a cookie from the store that he said he intended to pay for. There was no probable cause to detain and handcuff him then. What flowed from the detention was fruit of the poisonous tree and suppressed, including the gun in his car. United States v. Brown, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70808 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 18, 2024).*

Defendant was illegally arrested, and he spent 8 hours handcuffed to a bench in the police station in his underwear waiting to be interrogated. Miranda warnings didn’t dissipate the taint of his illegal arrest. People v. J.M., 2024 NY Slip Op 50445(U) (N.Y. Co. Apr. 15, 2024).*

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