Israeli Supreme Court Says Motions for Digital Search Warrants to Be Ruled Ex parte and Without Appeal
Israel Supreme Court majority opinion ruled that police requests for search warrants in computers and smartphones will be heard ex parte in the courts of first instance, without giving the owners of these devices the opportunity to challenge the necessity and scope of the warrants before they are granted, and the search is carried out. The Court also held that no right of appeal will be granted on the decisions of the Magistrate Court on these requests.
The majority of the Court found no legal basis for a two-party hearing and concluded that such a two-party hearing appears to undermine the objectives underlying the law: effective investigation of offenses and effective functioning of agencies. investigation. The majority also explained that a two-party hearing rule would give the device owner advance notice of investigative agencies’ intentions and an opportunity to tamper with the evidence. Thus, the concern for obstruction of justice and protracted proceedings weighs in favor of a ex parte hearing.
According to a dissenting opinion of the three-judge panel, a hearing on a search warrant for a device seized in an open investigation should be held in the presence of both parties by default, unless exceptional circumstances arise, such as obstruction of Justice.
CLICK HERE to read the Supreme Court decision in Shimon v. State of Israel (in Hebrew).