In re Search Warrant for Records From AT&T

Because the issuance of extraterritorial search warrants is not expressly prohibited by the legislature, and because the amicus did not identify any constitutional limitations applicable to these facts, the Court held that the circuit court would not have exceeded its territorial jurisdiction by issuing the search warrant at issue here. In February 2016, an Ashland police officer applied for a search warrant for certain cellular telephone records at an AT&T facility in Florida. New Hampshire sought these records in connection with a criminal investigation being conducted by the Ashland Police Department. Citing the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s decision in New Hampshire v. Mello, 162 N.H. 115 (2011), the circuit court denied the State’s application, reasoning that it “ha[d] no authority to issue a warrant against a foreign corporation.” Seeking reconsideration, the State argued that “[u]nder Florida law, [AT&T] is required to treat an out-of-state subpoena or warrant as if it were issued by a Florida Court.” It also argued, among other things, that our decision in Mello “d[id] not preclude the issuance of the warrant.” The circuit court denied the State’s renewed application, again relying upon “Mello.” The Supreme Court determined that “Mello” was not controlling here. Now, as a matter of first impression, the Court considered the issue of whether the circuit court would have exceeded the scope of its territorial jurisdiction by issuing an extraterritorial search warrant, specifically, a warrant authorizing the search and seizure of an electronic communication service provider’s records in Florida. The Court reversed. View "In re Search Warrant for Records From AT&T" on Justia Law