Facebook, Inc. v. Super. Ct.Annotate this Case
Hunter and Sullivan were indicted on murder, weapons, and gang-related charges stemming from a drive-by shooting. Each served a subpoena duces tecum on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, seeking both public and private content from user accounts of the murder victim and a witness. The companies moved to quash the subpoenas, citing the federal Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. 2702(a), which provides that electronic communication services “shall not knowingly divulge” the contents of a user communication to anyone, with limited exceptions). Defendants responded that the requested information is necessary to properly defend against the pending charges, and that any statutory privacy protections afforded a social media user must yield to a criminal defendant’s constitutional rights to due process, presentation of a complete defense, and effective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied the motions to quash and ordered the companies to produce responsive material for in camera review. The court of appeal directed the trial court to issue an order quashing the subpoenas.