OK Computer: The Fourth Amendment and Searches of Seized and Imaged Electronic Evidence

Colin Miller

University of South Carolina School of Law

June 17, 2013

In 1916, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts addressed a novel question in Massie v. Barker: How does the standard for negligence previously applied to walkers apply to drivers? For the court, the answer was clear: β€œThe law as to drivers of motor vehicles is not different from that which governs other persons. The standard required is that of the reasonably prudent person under all the circumstances.”

In its 2012 opinion in United States v. Metter, the Eastern District of New York also addressed a question of first impression: How long may the government retain seized and imaged electronic evidence before conducting a review of that evidence to determine whether any of it falls outside the scope of a search warrant?

Many advances in technology have forced courts to reconsider existing constitutional tests and standards given the brave new digital world in which we live. Other technological advances have not caused such legal retrofitting as courts have found that existing tests and standards can adequately accommodate some new innovations. This article argues that the problem confronted by the Metter court falls into this second category.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 6

Keywords: Fourth Amendment, Electronic Discovery, Electronic Evidence

JEL Classification: K14, K41, K42

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Date posted: June 19, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Miller, Colin, OK Computer: The Fourth Amendment and Searches of Seized and Imaged Electronic Evidence (June 17, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2280382 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2280382

Contact Information

Colin Miller (Contact Author)
University of South Carolina School of Law ( email )
Main & Greene Streets
Columbia, SC 29208
United States
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