United States v. Cotterman

Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in support of defendant-appellee’s petition for rehearing en banc. In a prosecution for production, possession and importation of child pornography and obscene materials, the panel held that a search of the defendant’s laptop that began at the border and ended two days later at a government forensic laboratory almost 170 miles away fell within the border search doctrine. 

Brief filed: 09/19/2011


United States v. Cotterman

9th Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 09-10139

Prior Decision

Panel decision reported at 637 F.3d 1068 (2011).


Brief argues that the suspicionless, indefinite seizure of an individual’s laptop at the border raises constitutional concerns, and the suspicionless forensic search was outside the scope of a permissible investigatory detention and is abhorrent to the Fourth Amendment.

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David M. Porter, NACDL Amicus Curiae Committee, Sacramento, CA and Michael Price, Brennan Center for Justice, New York, NY.