Magistrate Backlash: Judges Push Back Against Law Enforcement Electronic Data Requests
April 28, 2014
Low-level federal judges are fighting law enforcement demands for sensitive personal data, including cell phone records and access to Facebook pages, The Washington Post reports. A small but growing faction of the 500-odd federal magistrates nationwide are declaring the requests to be at odds with Constitutional rights, and are attempting to establish tighter rules for collecting electronic evidence. A leading voice of the movement is D.C. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola, who called a request for the entirety of an e-mail account “repugnant” and has repeatedly said the government must delete information it acquires if it is unrelated to its case, rather than keep it on file for unstated future use. Judges in Texas, Kansas, New York and Pennsylvania are issuing similar rulings, and though some are getting overturned, they represent what some legal observers have called “The Magistrates’ Revolt,” according to the Post.
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