Judge rules police can subpoena tweets, even deleted ones without a warrant

A judge rules that Tweets can be subpoenaed without a warrant.

@tracehagan
Published Wed, Apr 25 2012 10:32 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:28 PM CST

In the aftermath of the Occupy protests, about 2000 protesters are being charged with various crimes in a special courtroom set up to oversee these trials. The judge in charge of overseeing this court has just made an important ruling which could affect all of us, but probably not. Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. ruled that Tweets could be subpoenaed without a warrant.

Judge rules police can subpoena tweets, even deleted ones without a warrant | TweakTown.com

He drew a parallel to bank records and how they weren't property of the defendant. "Twitter's license to use the defendant's Tweets means that the Tweets the defendant posted were not his," the judge wrote in a decision filed Friday. Since I think FaceBook has similar language, I wonder just how this will affect them as well.

The judge went on to say that even though the defendant lacked standing to quash the subpoena, the prosecutors had met the low legal threshold to issue a subpoena because the prosecutors were able to show relevance to the case. The defendant's attorney plans to appeal. "I think the judge is incorrect in his understanding of the law," he said.

So like I said, this could affect all of us...if we ever end up in court.

Trace is a starving college student studying Computer Science. He has a love of the English language and an addiction for new technology and speculation. When he's not writing, studying, or going to class, he can be found on the soccer pitch, both playing and coaching, or on the mountain snowboarding.

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