Post details: C.D.Cal.: Just because e-mail SW was overbroad doesn't mean whole search is suppressed

12/18/12

Permalink 06:46:15 am, by fourth, 313 words, 1359 views   English (US)
Categories: General

C.D.Cal.: Just because e-mail SW was overbroad doesn't mean whole search is suppressed

Search warrant for e-mail was overbroad because non-searchable information was subject to search, too. Nevertheless, it was done in good faith so there is no suppression. United States v. Roy, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177674 (C.D. Cal. December 13, 2012):

Defendant also moves to suppress the e-mail search warrant in this case, arguing that the search and seizure was unreasonable because the warrant was a general warrant and overbroad in scope. Few cases in the Ninth Circuit or elsewhere have addressed the standard of particularity that should be applied with respect to an e-mail search warrant. The cases that have addressed the issue, however, have held that the burden remains on the government to prove how the warrant application will segregate information regarding third parties from information relating to the defendant.

In this case, the Court holds that the government has not met its burden of setting forth the items to be seized with particularity. The information sought by the warrant lacks protocol that would affirmatively segregate the target information from information outside the scope of the warrant. The warrant is therefore overbroad.

The inquiry does not end there, however. Where the police did not act in bad faith, and as such, suppression of the evidence would not deter police misconduct, the district court, may, in its discretion, admit the evidence over the objection of the defendant. Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983). In fact, exclusion of the evidence is a last resort. Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U.S. 586 (2006).

In this case, the court finds that exclusion of the evidence would not be warranted. The seizure was reasonably conducted, and the evidence of criminal activity was properly seized. In executing the warrant, the investigating agents aptly followed the contours of the warrant. Consequently, the underlying justification for the exclusionary rule would not be served by excluding the e-mails, and accordingly, the Court denies defendant's motion to suppress.

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