Aimee Green reports on a case in Oregon that got complicated in a hurry when a prosecutor failed to appeal a judge’s order in a timely fashion:
In a first of its kind ruling in Oregon, a Deschutes County judge has ordered that a young woman’s Google searches must be turned over to the man accused of beating and raping her.
The Oregon Supreme Court this week refused to rule on the constitutionality of the order, saying the alleged victim waited too long to appeal Circuit Judge A. Michael Adler’s decision.
And so Adler’s order stands — though the district attorney says he can’t comply with it.
In brief, the defense wants the records of her searches before and after the alleged rape. They also wanted her emails and her hard drive. The judge refused to order her to turn over her hard drive, and when the defense attorney subpoenaed Google for her search records and emails, Google refused to comply without a warrant, citing ECPA. So the defense counsel went back to the judge, who ordered the prosecutor to obtain the search records from Google and turn them over to the defense.
The prosecutor refused to do that, saying that he would need a warrant and couldn’t justify seeking a warrant as the records were not necessary to his prosecution. Unfortunately, he didn’t appeal the judge’s order within the 7-day period allowed to file appeals.
Why the judge didn’t order Google directly to produce the records to the court is unclear to me, and maybe some kind lawyer can explain whether that is even an option.
In any event, Google won’t produce the records without a warrant, the prosecutor says it’s problematic and he can’t seek a warrant, and I have no idea where this will go.
You can read more about the case on The Oregonian.