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Could warrantless searches of records in Washington state come to an end?

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday on whether investigators should have to get a search warrant to obtain private bank, phone, email and other records.

Under a decades-old law, prosecutors have been able to get those records without showing probable cause — the standard that applies to search warrants. Instead, they can get the information with a subpoena issued in a secret hearing called a “special inquiry.”

Some lawyers say that’s a violation of Washington’s Constitution, which is considered to be more protective of people’s privacy than the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Prosecutors argue that the hearings are akin to grand jury proceedings without the grand jury — that they’re an efficient way to tackle complex crimes and that they do meet constitutional requirements.

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2 comments

  • dg54321

    Good, I hope they do strike this nonsense about searching people’s records absent a warrant down, and hard. You want to look at my records or any other private data? Get a freaking warrant. It’s not that hard, if you have some kind of evidence I’m doing something wrong. Otherwise, you have no right to my private data. This is the very basis on which the 4A protections codified into both the federal and state Constitutions were created.