Criminal Defense

Overbroad Searches and Seizures

I co-wrote a piece for the ABA Litigation Section’s quarterly journal, “Overbroad Searches and Seizures,” with Mark Mermelstein of Holmes Taylor Athey Cowan Mermelstein & Jones LLP, and Alison Epperson of Orrick LLP, 48 Litigation Vol. 1 (Oct. 2021).  We analyze the government’s increasingly common practice of serving overbroad search warrants on tech giants like Google and Facebook that seek a user’s entire electronic footprint.   Agents and prosecutors can thus obtain multiple repositories of client data – e.g., photos, location data, shopping histories, private G-Drive documents — when the facts supporting the warrant justify seizure of only limited data categories such as the user’s emails or instant messages.  The article recommends strategies to challenge these seizures in court.