Today Judge Mullaney of the Monmouth County Superior Court issued his decision in the State v. Gary Lunsford case and Dean Schneider scored a huge victory for his client, Mr. Lunsford.
The Court found that Mr. Lunsford was entitled to a level of privacy in his cell phone records that a Grand Jury Subpoena does not provide. The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution and Article 1, Paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution recognize the right of citizens to be free from warrantless searches and seizures and that applies to telephone records as well.
The Court in Lunsford has agreed with our position that the information contained in one’s phone records is private and enjoys a level of protection that requires police or prosecutors to obtain a warrant to look at that information.
And that is what is so critical in this case: the State argued that a Grand Jury Subpoena, which can be issued based on nothing more than a hunch and with NO NOTICE to the defendant, is sufficient to protect the privacy interests of New Jersey citizens. The Court rejected that argument and found instead that New Jersey residents enjoy a heightened level of privacy protection, even more than the Federal Constitution guarantees.
In Judge Mullaney’s decision, he laid out the proposition perfectly: “…even by retrieving the phone numbers of incoming and outgoing calls, and how long the conversations lasted, the viewer can still take a look into the private life of the individual.”
Judge Mullaney further rejected the State’s argument that a Grand Jury Subpoena was in any way protective when he wrote the following: “Although this Court understands that the State seeks to obtain only the call detail records of the defendant’s phone, it cannot consciously accept that a grand jury subpoena duces tecum is sufficient to safeguard the state constitutional privacy rights of the defendant.”
All in all, this is a huge win not just for Mr. Schneider’s client, but for the citizens of New Jersey as well. If you or someone you know need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, call us today at 732-747-0100. We are here to help and the initial consultation is always free.