In a day filled with Apple and iPhone 4 news, we are still surprised that this one managed to pop up. Today, it was revealed that the San Mateo Superior Court Judge, Clifford Cretan, has officially granted an application to withdraw the warrant obtained in the effort to search Gizmodo‘s journalist, Jason Chen’s home. The application was submitted by the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office, and despite the fact it was granted, that doesn’t mean that this is the end of the story.
Also included in the application and its affirmation, all of Chen’s belongings will be returned to him, as well as Gizmodo.com. And, as the EFF points out, this may have everything to do with the concept that the warrant itself, and the resulting search of Chen’s property, was illegal in of itself. Many would argue that it violated California’s Penal Code section 1524(g), which is the prohibition against the issuance of warrants for unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving or processing information for communication to the public.” As we said, many would argue this point, but if you’re weighing your decision on that particular fence based on the actions today, then we can safely assume where most would fall.
But, this is likely not the end of the story. If the warrant was illegal, that isn’t stopping anyone in the right position to actually request a subpoena to get the same things they’ve already obtained, and receive them without much effort at all. Well, with little effort, at least. We’ll see where this leads, but for now it’s definitely taking an interesting turn.