- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
- Date Filed: 10-03-2022
- Case #: 20-50052
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Forrest, C.J. for the Court; Callahan, C.J.; & Graber, C.J., dissenting.
- Full Text Opinion
Electronic communication service providers (ESPs) had performed internal investigations of the Defendnat's accounts and turned over information to law enforcement. Defendant was convicted for child sex crimes and has appealed those convictions. Defendant assigned error to the admittance of evidence from the ESPs. On appeal, Defendant argued that the ESPs were acting as “instrument[s] or agent[s]” of the government and were therefore required to have a warrant for their searches. In response, the Government argued that the ESPs had “legitimate business purposes” for their investigations and that no government official or statute directed the ESPs to search Defendant’s accounts so ESPs were not acting as “instrument[s] or agent[s].” The Fourth Amendment encompasses a private party’s search if the private party is acting “as an agent of the Government or with the participation of knowledge of any governmental official.” United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). The Court found insufficient governmental involvement for Fourth Amendment protection because the ESPs conducted the investigations after their internal policies were triggered and the policies existed in order to protect the companies’ own interests. Accordingly, the Court held that the ESPs were not acting as “instrument[s] or agent[s]” of the government and their investigations did not implicate the Fourth Amendment. Affirmed.