July 16, 2010 | By Matt Zimmerman

San Mateo D.A. Withdraws Controversial Gizmodo iPhone Warrant

Today, San Mateo Superior Court Judge Clifford Cretan granted an application by the San Mateo County D.A.'s office to withdraw the controversial warrant it obtained to search the house of Gizmodo.com journalist Jason Chen. Accordingly, "[a]ll items seized [from Chen's home] shall be returned forthwith to Gizmodo.com and Jason Chen..."

While the D.A.'s withdrawal of the April 23rd warrant is certainly a positive step, this likely isn't the end of the matter. As EFF repeatedly noted at the time, the warrant-backed search of Chen's home was illegal as it violated California Penal Code section 1524(g)'s prohibition against the issuance of warrants for "unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving or processing of information for communication to the public." As we pointed out, the police could (for example) attempt to subpoena the same material without running afoul of section 1524(g) and still proceed with their case.


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