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Law School Case Brief

State v. Marcum - 2014 OK CR 1, 319 P.3d 681

Rule:

Fourth Amendment rights are personal, and may not be asserted on behalf of another, and will be enforced only where a search and seizure infringes on a defendant's own rights. Whether a defendant's Fourth Amendment rights have been violated is analyzed under substantive Fourth Amendment law, not as a question of standing.

Facts:

James Michael Miller, and William Harbert Layden Jr. were charged with Conspiracy to Defraud the State of Oklahoma in violation of 21 O.S. 2001, § 424. All three defendants moved to suppress evidence relating to text messages. An order was issued granting the motions of Miller and Marcum and overruling Layden's motion. The State timely appealed that order as to Marcum and Miller under 22 O.S.2011, § 1053(5). The defendants sought to suppress the evidence of text messages by attacking the search warrant. The search warrant was directed, not to anyone defendant's cell phone, but to the business records of the U.S. Cellular phone company, a corporation, which kept a record of the texts in the regular course of business.

Issue:

Did the trial court err in suppressing the evidence regarding text messages as to Marcum?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The Court held that where defendant was charged with conspiracy to defraud the State under Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 424 (2001), defendant did not have the Fourth Amendment reasonable expectation of privacy in the records of text messages seized from a phone company for the phone account of defendant’s boyfriend because the search warrant was not directed to defendant's phone, but to the business records of the phone company and, therefore, the trial court erred in suppressing the evidence regarding text messages as to Marcum.

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