Friday, May 27th, 2016

In En Banc Opinion, Second Circuit Upholds “Good Faith” Reliance on Search Warrant

Today the Second Circuit issued a 104-page en banc opinion in United States v. Ganias, 12-240-cr.

In Ganias, the Court affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding that the government had relied on a search warrant in good faith and declining to reach the Fourth Amendment question raised by the defendant.

The case involved the government’s retention of a mirrored hard drive containing data that went beyond the scope of a search warrant issued in 2003.  In 2006, the government searched this data pursuant to a search warrant obtained in 2006.  Mr. Ganias contended that the 2006 search would not have been possible if the government had not retained a copy of the data that was not responsive to the 2003 search warrant. The Court held that the government’s good faith reliance on the 2006 warrant was objectively reasonable, and so did not reach the question of whether the retention of the mirrored hard drive violated the Fourth Amendment.

Judges Livingston and Lynch authored the majority opinion, in which Chief Judge Katzman and Judges Jacobs, Cabranes, Raggi, Wesley, Hall, Carney, and Droney joined in full and in which Judges Pooler and Lohier joined in part.  Judge Lohier filed a concurring opinion in which Judge Pooler joined.  Judge Chin filed a dissenting opinion.

Stay tuned for a more detailed discussion of the Court’s analysis.

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