Orin Kerr writes:
A few readers have flagged a new district court decision, Clements-Jeffrey v. City of Springfield, that raises an interesting Fourth Amendment question: When does a person have Fourth Amendment rights in the contents of a stolen computer? A few decisions have held that a person doesn’t have Fourth Amendment rights in the contents of a stolen computer when they know the computer was stolen: That seems correct to me, as the Fourth Amendment requires some legitimate relationship between the person and the space searched before allowing the person to have Fourth Amendment rights there. See, e.g., Minnesota v. Carter. The trickier question raised in Clements-Jeffrey is what result if the person didn’t know the laptop was stolen. Put another way, what is the mental state required to retain Fourth Amendment rights in stolen property?
Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.