Call Today for a FREE Consultation

262-923-8761

24 HOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT

Supreme Court asked to rule on reach of email warrants

| Jul 7, 2017 | Criminal Appeals

After a panel of federal judges ruled that the 1986 Stored Communications Act does not apply outside the United States, the Trump Administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.

The issue arose in relation to a 2013 drug trafficking case. Federal investigators had sought emails and identifying information from a Microsoft email address they believed was being used to traffic drugs. Microsoft apparently agreed to comply with the warrant until it was discovered that many of the emails in question were stored in servers in Ireland.

Microsoft asked the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to block the warrant, and the court agreed that the Stored Communications Act could not be enforced abroad.

The administration has asked the Supreme Court to overrule that court, pointing out that the emails might technically be in Ireland but that Microsoft could retrieve them essentially with the click of a mouse. It also told the court that “hundreds if not thousands of investigations of crimes — ranging from terrorism, to child pornography, to fraud” were at risk if the Second Circuit’s decision is left in place.

The Supreme Court has not yet agreed to hear the case — that decision won’t be announced until fall. However, it may be that the nation’s highest court isn’t the best forum to resolve the dispute.

Experts say Congress needs to rewrite the 1986 law

The question of whether people can keep emails private — or secret from the U.S. government — if those emails are abroad is thorny. The answer could affect both Americans and foreigners, and it might affect activity that has no connection to the United States.

Without a high-level appellate ruling urging them to the contrary, technology companies have become reluctant to comply with government data requests. This has been increasingly the case since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about the scope of America’s surveillance activity, according to an American University law professor interviewed by the Associated Press.

The professor went on to say that technology companies are currently in the position of deciding “what to retain, where to keep it, for how long, and whether to encrypt it,” along with whether to comply with or resist government orders to turn over information that people feel is private.

Putting private companies in the position of privacy watchdogs may not be ideal, but the courts aren’t in a position to make nuanced policy judgments. That’s the role of the legislature.

One of the judges on the Second Circuit has panel called for Congress to take action on the “badly outdated statute.” Efforts have been made, but no progress has occurred so far.

Archives

“I just want to say thank you for the outstanding work you have done for him and let you know how much we appreciate the time and attention you gave to his case. We are obviously overjoyed by today’s dismissal!” (Child pornography case dismissed after motion to suppress was granted)”

“After having had time to exhale, we thank each one of you and all the others who contributed to the exemplary Supreme Court presentation. We are proud of your efforts on our behalf and, equally important, on behalf of the many present and future defendants statewide.” (Client’s comment after Supreme Court oral argument)

“Thank you. Thank you. I am so pleased to hear that we won. It doesn’t seem that it was even a close call. I appreciate your efforts.” (Oconto County defendant after Buting, Williams & Stilling got his prison sentence overturned in the court of appeals) ”

“Your time and advice was appreciated more than words can express at a time when we really needed someone to guide us.” (Client)

“The outcome was amazing, one unavailable even under identical circumstances in probably 98 percent of federal courtrooms around the country. Separate and apart from the outcome, though, I am supremely impressed by your efforts on your client’s behalf. Your comments in support of the requested sentence were perfect in tone and, having now reviewed the extensive sentencing memorandum you filed, your work in that regard was exemplary as well. Your client was certainly fortunate to have you as his attorney.” (Local federal court attorney present at a sentencing)

“I can’t thank you enough, not only for all of the tireless work that you and your staff put into my case, but for telling me what I needed to hear, at a time when I absolutely had to hear it. I consider myself blessed for everything turning out the way it did, especially since I blindly picked you out of a phone book! You helped me, my family and friends in many more ways than the money ever could.” (Child pornography client)

“I think you will find that in any circles where Kathy’s name is raised, people will always respond positively and identify her as an extremely hardworking, knowledgeable and ethical lawyer who is timely and effective with any endeavor she takes on. These circles would include colleagues, friends, prosecutors, judges, professors and others who have crossed paths with Kathy. They would also include the many lawyers like me who have referred numerous cases to Kathy, invariably with positive feedback from the clients regarding her knowledge of their case, empathy, professionalism and fair-mindedness in addressing their concerns.” (Fellow attorney)

“Thank you for giving [our son] back to us. Wonderful work!” (Family of client accused of armed robbery after charges were dismissed)

“Yes, His perfect time and perfect place, you were a part of this plan. I almost didn’t hire you, but I took a step of faith trusting Him and look what happened? Praise God. Our Lord put you in your vocation for a reason, continue to help those He brings your way. May He bless you in ALL you do!” (Client who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault in a northwestern Wisconsin county. He was released from prison after attorneys got his conviction reversed.)

“I really cannot thank you enough for your past help. You really know your stuff. It is actually funny when I think about my other past attorney’s knowledge and then when I talk with you. It’s like night and day. You’re like a walking book of knowledge with a purpose-driven life. Thanks.” (Brown County client of attorney Buting)

“A year later and I still believe your defense is the single best example of lawyering I have ever seen.” (Television reporter commenting on attorney Buting’s defense of Steven Avery)

“You have a certain brilliance that makes me sure that when you talk, it is good information and I am in good hands. You tell it to me like it is even when the things you say are not always the things that I would like to hear. You keep it REAL!!!” (Brown County client)

“Thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel like this was one of the biggest blessings that happened in my life. I put this along with my children being born healthy and when I survived that horrific shooting. I appreciate everything you have done for me. I couldn’t ask for better lawyers. I want to say thank you to everybody at your firm. I owe you more than the fee you so rightfully deserve. … You gave me back hope. Thank you, man! Out of my 36 years … I have never seen such kindness before. I don’t know what I did to deserve this; I’m very thankful nonetheless. Thank you for giving me hope again. Thank you for your generosity. There are still some really good people around.” (Federal criminal appeal client)

“There is no other attorney I’ve ever even heard of I’d rather have as chief counsel and leader of my defense/appeals than Jerome Buting. You’re the best. Period.” (Dane County client)

“Your advice and counsel were greatly appreciated. We appreciate you taking the time on your Sunday and evenings to help us. We are SO happy about the results! Thanks again.” (Waukesha County client)

“Thank you again … for everything. Five and one-half years of commitment, so many ups and downs and an outcome like that. You did a GREAT job.” (Waukesha County felony drug offense client)