Number 10 of Bill Wolf’s “Top Ten” Fourth Amendment Cases for Illinois Lawyers: The Illinois Appellate Court Case of People v. McCavitt.

The defendant was the target of a criminal sexual assault investigation. Pursuant to the investigation, arrest, and prosecution, a computer was seized and a search for images was made to look for images to implicate the Defendant in the sexual assault.

Roughly eight months later, the Defendant went to trial and was found “not guilty.” Two days later, another police agency, knowing of the acquittal, requested the EnCase data still in law enforcement’s possession to now look at more data for child pornography. This data was obtained without an additional warrant.

The trial court denied a motion to suppress and the appellate court reversed. The appellate court held that once the Defendant was acquitted, he no longer had a diminished expectation of privacy in his property and that it was unreasonable for an officer to look at the data without a warrant.

The case is People v. McCavitt, 2019 IL App. (3rd) 170830. Decided 11/26/2019

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