Cal.: Defense SDT for Facebook account of shooting victim remanded for reconsideration under standards of state constitution of victim’s privacy rights

In a California specific holding, a criminal defense subpoena to Facebook for a shooting victim’s Facebook account (private and public) made enough of a sufficient showing of necessity to get a remand for consideration of the factors that justify intrusion into the victim’s privacy under the California Constitution. Facebook, Inc. v. Superior Court, 2020 Cal. LEXIS 5354 (Aug. 13, 2020):

Likewise, in assessing the present defendant’s secondary (and, if the self-defense-claim justification fails, alternative) basis for plausible justification in the present case — to impeach prospective witness Renteria — an appropriate inquiry would consider whether such a significant intrusion is warranted and necessary to facilitate the contemplated impeachment. The analysis should be informed by the circumstance that defendant has already acquired, not only Renteria’s public posts (which, defendant asserts, contain substantial relevant information) but also, and perhaps most importantly, Renteria’s probation reports (see ante, fn. 5), which in turn detail his prior convictions and contain other substantial related impeachment information. Moreover, as explained below, when as here a subpoena seeks restricted social media posts and private messages, in the absence of an apparent relationship between the underlying crime and such communications, a trial court should examine even more closely the proffered showing of plausible justification in support of such a privacy intrusion.

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