News Release

NACDL Applauds Senate Judiciary Committee's Passage of Warrant Requirement for Email  

Washington, DC (November 29, 2012) – Earlier today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee adopted H.R. 2471 with Senator Patrick Leahy’s undiluted amendment requiring a warrant for law enforcement to access electronic communications stored by a third-party provider. NACDL has worked, and will continue to work, tirelessly to make this requirement the law of the land.

“In the 18th century, when the Fourth Amendment was adopted, people did not store their private information or communicate their personal thoughts through digital technology,” said NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin. “Today's email and cloud storage are yesterday's letters and home files. This legislation protects the fundamental freedom of privacy that is the heart of the Fourth Amendment. It gives clear guidance to law enforcement of the boundaries and steps for obtaining our most private communications.”

In a letter to Senators Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley, the Chair and Ranking Member respectively of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, 30 former prosecutors and judges weighed in on November 21 in support of Senator Leahy’s amendment. NACDL organized this effort to ensure that the Senate Judiciary Committee was aware of the breadth of support across the legal community for the Senator Leahy’s amendment. Currently, and shockingly to many Americans, there is no statutory warrant requirement for the government to access electronic communications stored by a third-party provider so long as the communication is more than 180 days old.

A complete copy of the letter is available here.

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Ivan J. Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

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.