Criminal Law – Case Law Update – Warrantless Searches

free-vector-scales-of-justice_099380_Scales_of_justiceOn July 8, 2015, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued an opinion dealing with the warrantless “search” of files on a computer used by Defendant to upload child pornography to a peer-to-peer file sharing network.  In State v. Holland, 272 Or App 211 (2015), police searched a peer-to-peer file sharing network for illegal materials and then located Defendant’s computer’s IP address.  Defendant argued that the evidence gathered constituted an warrantless search in violation of Article I, section 9 of the Oregon Constitution.  The Court of Appeals held that the investigative actions were not so intrusive as to constitute a warrantless search in violation of the Oregon Constitution because the information the police accessed was the same information that was available to other users on the peer-to-peer file sharing network.  The trial court’s decision to allow the admission of the information obtained by police was upheld.