State v. TerrellAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that a law enforcement officer's warrantless search of Defendant's USB drive was not permissible under the "private-search doctrine," holding that the State failed to carry its burden of presenting competent evidence establishing that the officer's warrantless search was permissible under the private-search doctrine.
The officer conducted a warrantless search of Defendant's USB drive following a prior search of the USB drive by a private individual. The trial court denied Defendant's motion to suppress. The court of appeals reversed the trial court's denial of Defendant's motion to suppress, concluding that the warrantless search was not authorized under the private-search doctrine but that remand was appropriate to determine whether probable cause existed to issue the search warrant without the evidence obtained from the unlawful search. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the private-search doctrine cannot apply to a thumb drive because, even though some of the thumb drive has been previously opened, an officer cannot proceed with "virtual certainty" that nothing else of significance is in the device.