Upholding the Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age
As Jae Shik Kim was departing the U.S. from Los Angeles International Airport, a Department of Homeland Security agent confiscated his personal laptop. Following the seizure, and a review of data it found on the laptop, the Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged that our client was involved in a conspiracy to evade U.S. trade restrictions on Iran. Our team acted quickly and strategically to clear Mr. Kim and uphold the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unwarranted searches and seizures.
We filed a motion to suppress any supposed evidence gleaned from the laptop on the grounds that the seizure was illegal. The DOJ argued that a laptop was similar to any other container that could be searched at the border without a warrant. The judge rejected prosecutors’ arguments. As a result of our successful motion, the government was forced to abandon its case and we secured a victory against the DOJ. In this matter, it was shown that the government was searching for evidence of a crime committed years earlier and there was no suspicion of current illegal activity.
With the judge’s ruling, a strong statement has been sent to the government. This type of intrusion concerning our personal electronic devices without the proper documentation will not be tolerated. Further, the Fourth Amendment has been upheld, and the government has been warned against attempting to use its power at U.S. borders to circumvent basic rights.
(United States of America vs. Jae Shik Kim, Karham Eng. Corp., Crim. Action No. 13-0100)