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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name In re Search of an Apple iPhone Seized During the Execution of a Search Warrant on a Black Lexus IS300, California License Plate 35KGD203 NS-CA-0022
Docket / Court 5:16-cm-00010-SP ( C.D. Cal. )
Additional Docket(s) 5:15-MJ-00451   [ 15-451 ]
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) National Security
Case Summary
On December 3, 2015, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Magistrate Judge David T. Bristow) authorized a search and seizure warrant of an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters who killed 14 people in California in 2015. However, despite the search warrant, the ... read more >
On December 3, 2015, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Magistrate Judge David T. Bristow) authorized a search and seizure warrant of an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters who killed 14 people in California in 2015. However, despite the search warrant, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) was unable to access the iPhone. The encrypted iPhone was protected by a passcode that had security protocols that erased the phone’s data after ten tries.

On February 16, 2016, U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles asked the district court to order Apple to assist the FBI in the investigation of the iPhone pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651. That same day, Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ordered Apple to assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) with accessing the iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters. The order required Apple to remove the auto-erase function and the limit on the number of passwords one can enter on the iPhone. The order also indicated that Apple could be asked to write custom software to access the iPhone. See 2016 WL 618401

This case received enormous public attention as Apple formally opposed the district court’s order. In order to manage litigation, the district court decided to split this issue to its own case and reassigned the case 5:15-MJ-00451 to a new docket number 5:16-CM-00010.

On February 19, 2016, the government filed a motion to compel Apple to comply with the court’s February 16 order to access the iPhone. On February 25, 2016, Apple filed a motion to vacate the order and opposition to government’s motion to compel assistance. Apple countered that government’s request for a code to access the iPhone would create a backdoor to all such devices that would be exploitable by other entities. Technology companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and others filed amicus briefs supporting Apple’s position in March 2016.

On March 21, 2016, the government asked the court to delay the scheduled hearing, claiming that an “outside party” might be able to unlock the iPhone without Apple’s help.

On March 28, 2016, the government notified the court that it had successfully accessed data stored on the iPhone and no longer required the assistance from Apple. The government officially withdrew its legal action against Apple.

On March 29, 2016, Judge Pym vacated the February 16 order compelling Apple to assist agents in search. This case is closed. See this Order.

Susie Choi - 04/07/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Records Disclosure
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Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Criminal
Warrant or subpoena application
Causes of Action All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651
Defendant(s) Apple Inc.
Plaintiff Description The U.S. Government
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing NS-NY-0021 : In re Order Requiring Apple Inc. to Assist in the Execution of a Search Warrant Issued by the Court (E.D.N.Y.)
Docket(s)
5:15-mj-00451-DUTY-1 (C.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0022-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/06/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
5:16-cm-10 (C.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0022-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/20/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Government's Ex Parte Application For Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search; Memorandum of Points and Authorities [ECF# 18]
NS-CA-0022-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Compelling Apple, Inc. to Assist Agents in Search [ECF# 19] (2016 WL 618401) (C.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0022-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Vacating February 16, 2016 Order [ECF# 210] (C.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0022-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/29/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Pym, Sheri Court not on record [Magistrate]
NS-CA-0022-0001 | NS-CA-0022-0002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chiu, Allen W. (California)
NS-CA-0022-0003 | NS-CA-0022-9000
Christensen, Stephanie S. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Decker, Eileen (California)
NS-CA-0022-0003
Donahue, Patricia A. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-0003
LaBahn, David Richard (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Lewis, Anthony J. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Wilkison, Tracy L. (California)
NS-CA-0022-0003 | NS-CA-0022-9000
Yohalem, Mark R. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Behnke, Jerry A. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Bernhard, Darren B. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Bibring, Peter (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Blavin, Jonathan H. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Bridges, Andrew P. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Butler, Alan (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Cardozo, Nathan (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Cohn, Cindy A. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Cope, Sophia Sabrina (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Crocker, Andrew (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Crum, Travis M. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Fagan, Gary R. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Faulkner, William (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Feldman, Michael Aaron (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Gikow, Stephen Nathaniel (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Grammer, William Cody (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Granick, Jennifer Stisa (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Green, Ariel (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Greene, David Allen (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Haddad, Mark E. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Haskins, Steven A. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Hayes, David L. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Hoffman, Marcia (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Hunter, Tanya L. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Joyce, Eamon P. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Katyal, Neal Kumar (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Katz, Daniel Franklin (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Krinsky, David M. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Landis, Jeffrey (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000 | NS-CA-0022-9000
Larson, Stephen G. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Lemley, Mark Alan (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Lev, Sean A. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Lynch, Jennifer (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Maddigan, Michael M. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Mayer, Martin J. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
McLean, Nicholas M. (New York)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Meister, Melissa A. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Mittan, Ciara Nicole (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Moore, Richmond T. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Murray, Jason C. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Nadolenco, John (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Newby, Tyler Griffin (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Opsahl, Kurt Bradford (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Palow, Caroline Elizabeth Wilson
NS-CA-0022-9000
Patashnik, Joshua (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Pfefferkorn, Riana (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Pincus, Andrew J. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Preziosi, Tarquin (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Ring, Rosemarie T (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Roth, Jerome Cary (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Rubin, Michael (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Shallman, Daniel N. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Shanmugam, Kannon K. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Taub, Richard Franklin (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Tien, Lee (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Touchstone, James R. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Willard, Lauren S. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Williams, Jamie (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Wimmer, Kurt (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Zadikany, Ruth (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000
Other Lawyers Boutrous, Theodore J. Jr. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000 | NS-CA-0022-9000
Hanna, Nicola T. (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000 | NS-CA-0022-9000
Olson, Theodore B. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000 | NS-CA-0022-9000
Vandevelde, Eric David (California)
NS-CA-0022-9000 | NS-CA-0022-9000
Zwillinger, Marc J. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0022-9000 | NS-CA-0022-9000

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