Brief filed: 11/12/2019
State v. Kraft
District Court of Appeal of Florida; Case No. 4D19-1499
The circuit court correctly concluded that the video recordings should have been suppressed because the State failed to follow minimization requirements. The Fourth Amendment prohibits the government from unreasonably intruding in citizens’ privacy. Here, the government recorded citizens over the course of several days in a day spa, where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy. The circuit court correctly found that the evidence should be suppressed here. Amici write to emphasize the unprecedented scope of the surveillance, as well as the importance of suppression here to protect the rights of both defendants and uncharged third parties. Traditionally, the remedy for an unconstitutional search would be suppression in a criminal trial. However, because some of the conduct surreptitiously recorded was perfectly legal, not everybody who was recorded has been charged with a crime. Furthermore, those third parties’ only recourse would be the possibility of a civil suit, which is costly. Indeed, suppression here is essentially the only way to deter the State from engaging in mass surveillance, knowing that many citizens would have little to no recourse. Any other result would encourage an “ends justify the means” approach that this Court has cautioned against.
Justin F. Karpf, Assistant Public Defender, Leon County Courthouse, Tallahassee, FL; David Oscar Markus, NACDL, Miami, FL.