Suffolk County District Attorney's Office v. Twitter, Inc. (subpoena)

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Date: 

12/14/2011

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

Massachusetts

Disposition: 

Subpoena Enforced

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
On December 14, 2011, as part of a criminal investigation conducted by the District Attorney of Suffolk County and the Boston Police Department, the District Attorney issued an administrative subpoena under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 271, Section 17B and... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Twitter, Inc., and anonymous users/accounts/hashtags "Guido Fawkes," "@p0isAn0N," "@OccupyBoston," "#BostonPD" and "#d0xcak3."

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

Location of Party: 

  • Massachusetts

Location of Party: 

  • California

Legal Counsel: 

Peter Krupp (for "@p0isAn0N")
Description

On December 14, 2011, as part of a criminal investigation conducted by the District Attorney of Suffolk County and the Boston Police Department, the District Attorney issued an administrative subpoena under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 271, Section 17B and 18 U.S.C. Section 2703, demanding that Twitter provide subscriber information regarding accounts "Guido Fawkes," "@p0isAn0N," "@OccupyBoston," and the hashtags "#BostonPD" and "#d0xcak3." Despite the District Attorney's request for secrecy, Twitter forwarded the subpoena to the relevant users in accordance with its notification policy with regards to law enforcement.

According to a statement by the ACLU of Massachusetts, the ACLU moved to have the subpoena quashed on First Amendment grounds. Superior Court Judge Carol Ball held a closed hearing on December 29, 2011, and then ordered that the record of the proceedings and all documents filed by the parties be impounded by the court.

On January 9, 2012, the ACLU of Massachusetts contested Judge Ball's order by filing a motion for reconsideration of the decision to seal all documents involving the motion to quash. This motion was not successful.

On February 23, 2012, Superior Court Judge Frances A. McIntyre issued an ex parte order to show cause to Twitter regarding the administrative subpoena, ordering Twitter to appear in Suffolk Superior Court on February 27, 2012. After this hearing on February 27, 2012, Judge McIntyre ordered Twitter to comply with the Suffolk District Attorney Office's subpoena as amended by February 28, 2012. At that time, Judge McIntyre also removed the seal from three pages worth of documents, consisting of the ex parte order to show cause and the amended administrative subpoena. According to news sources, Twitter has complied.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Micro-blog

Subject Area: 

  • Subpoenas
  • Twitter
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Massachusetts

Source of Law: 

  • United States
  • Massachusetts

Court Name: 

Suffolk County Superior Court

Court Type: 

State

Case Number: 

SUCR2011-11308

Relevant Documents: