SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Over the weekend the Sacramento District Attorney released its nearly 800-page investigation in the Stephon Clark case. The report included Clark’s search history on his phone and text messages to his fiancée from the days before he was shot.
So, what are your rights to privacy if you’ve ever texted someone who’s later involved in an investigation?
When it comes to text messages and online communications, most people do not have a right to privacy. Your cell phone records may become public record with just a few exceptions for privileged conversations.
Those exceptions include texts with your lawyer, a doctor, or your spouse.
That means if Stephon Clark had been married, those texts would have likely not been released.
While the District Attorney was investigating the police officers in this case, not Clark or his fiancée, criminal defense attorney Ken Rosenfeld says their texts were legally fair game.
“They are material and when you’re a part of a criminal investigating at any level, whether a witness, subject, or target, your privacy rights are going to be extremely compromised. Your cell phone records and other social media issues are going to be known,” Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld also said you have no legal expectation of privacy once you’ve died.