Sunday, October 5, 2008

"What happened to the Fourth Amendment? Was it Repealed Somehow?"

This quote from Judge Thomas from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing which just went en banc (heard by the whole Ninth Circuit), analyzed by the Ninth Circuit Blog. This case began when the feds began issuing subpoenas and search warrants to drug testing companies for results and computer equipment in its investigation into Major League Baseball players' use of steroids. The subpoenas were quashed in three jurisdictions, and the government took a consolidated appeal. A panel of the Ninth Circuit determined that the subpoenas were not harassing in nature and were not unreasonable. Luckily, Judge Thomas dissented, questioning whether the Fourth Amendment was somehow repealed. The Ninth Circuit has taken the case en banc, and will hopefully examine (and limit) the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment when it comes to search warrants on computer information. It shows the ongoing need to investigate and carefully examine any case with search warrants/subpoenas for electronic information. Conversely, when authoring subpoenas for electronic information, carefully tailor your requests so that they are not rejected.