Device and Account Searches

Nearly every case involves a cell phone or an online account. Laws on device and account searches are continuing to evolve, as courts reconsider old doctrines that do not fit with the realities of the digital age. Below, find sample motions on suppressing emails, passcodes, and other electronically stored information.

Account Searches


Compelled Decryption


Device Searches


Rule 41(g)



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Read the rest of the request language here.

Video Trainings

When the Government Uses Social Media to Prosecute Your Client

This webinar from August 6, 2020 featured Hanni Fakhoury, Assistant Federal Public Defender in Oakland, CA, and Rachel Levinson-Waldman, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty & National Security Program.

Searching Computers, Phones, and Even Your Home Appliances

This program from November 29-30, 2018 featured Esha Bhandari, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, Catherine Crump, Director of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at U.C. Berkeley School of Law, and Michael Price, Senior Litigation Counsel, NACDL Fourth Amendment Center.

Who’s Reading Your Clients’ Posts? Social Media Monitoring in Criminal Cases 

This program from November 29-30, 2018 featured Matt Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, and Hanni Fakhoury, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office (N.D. Cal.).

GDPR and the Cloud Act 

This program from November 29-30, 2018 featured Greg Nojeim, Senior Counsel & Director of Freedom, Security and Technology Project, Center for Democracy & Technology

Keeping the Government Out of Your Digital Devices at the Border

This webinar from December 7, 2017 featured Esha Bhandari, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, where she works on litigation and advocacy to protect freedom of expression and privacy rights in the digital age.

Supplemental Resources

Need help with a device search case?

The Center is available to provide consultations and litigation resources as well as direct assistance in support of a defendant’s Fourth Amendment claims. Specifically, the Center may assist in motion practice, preparation for suppression hearings, appellate strategy, brief writing, and oral argument. The Center also provides group trainings for defense lawyers around the country and upon request.

To request assistance or additional information, contact

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