August 31, 2020

Robert Kraft wins privacy rights for all Americans

Celebrities and those with means often face increased scrutiny and elevated charges when they run afoul of the law. But, New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft’s defeat of Florida charges show that sometimes, defeating this overreach can benefit all Americans.

The Verdict

Recently, our state’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that the state’s prosecutors cannot use video evidence recorded by police that formed the basis of the state’s charges. The court found that the police illegally used secret surveillance cameras to catch everyone at the business where the alleged illegal acts occurred.

The police used what is called a “sneak-and-peek” warrant to video tape everyone that frequented the business. The court found that this ran afoul of federal law, which requires that the police minimize their camera intrusion to focus only on the alleged crimes. Essentially, the warrants were too broad because they did not specific the video surveillance parameters or attempt to minimize the taping of innocent customers. This ruling effectively stopped this case.

Post-Verdict Privacy Appeal

Though, the fight continues to ensure the video is never leaked. This meant filing a request to maintain the seal on the taps until the taps are ultimately destroyed.

Mr. Kraft’s attorneys argue that any type of release or unsealing would harm his rights as the videos were illegally recorded. This, they argue, mandates that the videos should be destroyed. And, the media has already attempted to gain access.

Benefit to Those Charged with White Collar Crimes and Other Federal Crimes

Innocent people know they have videos of themselves on servers with unknown accessibility. This is especially concerning in today’s hacker filled world. And, the court highlighted that strict Fourth Amendment safeguards must be observed, which will help anyone facing white collar crimes or any other federal or state crime.

Without these protections, law enforcement would have unbridled discretion to unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, Tama Beth Kudman, an attorney in the larger case, heralded the ruling because it “represents an important limitation on law enforcement and its ability to invade the privacy rights of Americans.”

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