Rachel Swan reported on the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday:
Lawyers and free speech advocates are wrangling over whether San Francisco police were right to raid a journalist’s home Friday — the latest jolt from a leaked report on the February death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi.
The incident has raised concerns that city officials have lost sight of journalists’ rights in their haste to solve a case that embarrassed the city. Some observers wondered whether the judges who signed the warrant were aware the search targeted a journalist.
As Frank Lomonte, a professor of media law, commented on Twitter yesterday, law enforcement did not follow the law when searches involving journalists are concerned:
Elephant in the room here is the federal Privacy Protection Act. If police know the target of the search is a journalist, they cannot search without a hearing at which the journalist has legal representation. https://t.co/mp4YQ48IpG https://t.co/NBJ4Shty8W
— Frank LoMonte (@FrankLoMonte) May 11, 2019
When I asked Frank what the remedy would be, he replied that there are civil remedies, but there might also exclusion of evidence in any prosecution. “That stuff is radioactive,” he commented.
The Privacy Protection Act provides a civil remedy for damages. https://t.co/qUaNmWlBD9 Plus the illegally seized evidence may be subject to exclusion and taint any resulting prosecution. If I’m the S.F. D.A., that stuff is radioactive.
— Frank LoMonte (@FrankLoMonte) May 12, 2019