Did Appeals Court Err In Applying Exclusionary Rule to Bar Evidence Obtained Through Warrantless Search of Hard Drive?
Where Police Believed Hard Drive Had Been ‘Abandoned’ by Owner
State of Ohio v. Dennis Gould, Case no. 2010-1315
6th District Court of Appeals (Lucas County)
ISSUE: When a computer hard drive is taken to police by a member of the owner’s family contrary to the owner’s instructions not to allow anyone else to touch it, and the family member tells officers she suspects but does not know that the drive may contain evidence of illegal acts, if the police conduct a warrantless search of the hard drive without the owner’s consent based on their assumption that it is “abandoned” property, does that search violate the owner’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches, and require a court later hearing criminal charges against the owner to suppress evidence obtained through the search under the exclusionary rule?