Washington, D.C. (April 13, 2016) – Today the House Judiciary Committee passed out of committee the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699) by a vote of 28-0. This bill is a long overdue update of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a bill passed in 1986 that governs the treatment of electronic communications. The Email Privacy Act establishes that law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant to access the content of most electronic communications and cloud-stored content from third-party providers and eliminates the arbitrary rule that would allow the government to obtain emails older than 180 days with a subpoena.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is heartened that the Judiciary Committee has strengthened the Fourth Amendment protections by ensuring that the government must obtain a warrant based on probable cause to access email content and other electronic communications and content stored in the cloud. NACDL remains concerned, however, that the bill as amended removes the requirement for law enforcement to provide notice to an individual that their electronic communications and documents stored online, such as emails, texts, photos, and notes, among others, have been obtained from their provider and provides no remedy to those whose communications may have been obtained improperly.
NACDL President E.G. "Gerry" Morris said: "Today's vote recognizes the seismic shift in the use of electronic communications and cloud storage over the past thirty years and brings government practice in line with the Fourth Amendment. However, NACDL is concerned with the stripping of the government notice provision and lack of remedy. Just as a person has notice that law enforcement has a warrant to search their house, they should also be notified of a warrant to search their private electronic communications or documents stored online. Additionally, as the bill moves forward it should be amended to provide a suppression remedy for anyone whose electronic communications or stored online content were obtained unlawfully. Notice and an available remedy are critical components of preserving a meaningful Fourth Amendment right."
The bill now moves to the full House for approval. NACDL urges both House and Senate lawmakers to enact common sense ECPA reform.
To learn more about NACDL's work in the area of privacy and the Fourth Amendment, visit http://www.nacdl.org/fourthamendment.
Also visit NACDL's 2012 white paper: "Electronic Surveillance & Government Access to Third Party Records."
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!
Ezra Dunkle-Polier, NACDL Public Affairs & Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7656 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.