On April 4, 2017, New York Court of Appeals ruled that it does not have authority to hear Facebook’s appeals against motions to quash search warrants issued under the Stored Communications Act (SCA).
By way of background. Facebook appealed a September 17, 2013 New York County trial court’s sealed order containing bulk SCA search warrants directing Facebook to produce virtually all records and communications of 381 Facebook accounts. The warrants also included provisions barring Facebook from informing users of the warrants.
Facebook unsuccessfully moved to quash the bulk warrants as overly broad and lacking in particularity and challenged the nondisclosure provision. See here.
Faccebook appealed but the Appellate Division dismissed the appeal on the ground that the orders were nonappealable. The Court of Appeals now affirmed the lower court decision and held that the Supreme Court properly denied Facebook’s motions.
Even though the court recognized the novelty and important substantive issues “regarding the constitutional rights of privacy and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and the parameters of a federal statute establishing methods by which the government may obtain certain types of information” and it could be tempted to address those issues, the court found that it didn’t have jurisdiction. Since the orders resolving Facebook’s motions related to warrants issued in a criminal proceeding, and the Criminal Procedure Law does not authorize an appeal from those orders, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Division order dismissing Facebook’s appeals to that Court.
In re 381 Search Warrants Directed to Facebook, Inc. is available at http://law.justia.com…
For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal