E.D.N.C.: Emergency disclosure of text message via 18 U.S.C. § 2702(b)(8) gets GFE applied because almost no case law

Law enforcement got emergency disclosure of text messages to find a person. The good faith exception applied because the statute has never been interpreted to not allow that. “Here, law enforcement relied on the voluntary disclosure procedure set forth in § 2702, which provides in pertinent part that electronic communication service providers ‘may divulge the contents of a communication … to a governmental entity, if the provider, in good faith, believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires disclosure without delay of communications relating to the emergency.’ 18 U.S.C. § 2702(b)(8). The court is unaware of any precedent holding that § 2702 is unconstitutional on its face or as applied to the circumstances presented in this ease. Moreover, ‘applying the Fourth Amendment to social media accounts is a relatively unexplored area of law with nuances that have yet to be discovered. Courts should not punish law enforcement officers who are on the frontiers of new technology simply because “they are at the beginning of a learning curve and have not yet been apprised of the preferences of courts on novel questions.”’ See Chavez, 423 F. Supp. 3d at 208 (citation omitted). The officers in this case relied in good faith on § 2702 for the voluntary disclosure of Duncan’s direct messages to respond to an emergency.” United States v. Duncan, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16257 (E.D.N.C. Jan. 26, 2024)

The good faith exception applied to this warrant. The affiant found two marijuana stems in defendant’s trash and coupled that with information from a CI. That’s enough for probable cause in this circuit and, thus, the good faith exception. United States v. March, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 2103 (8th Cir. Jan. 31, 2024).*

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