Electronic Information in Criminal Proceedings: 4th & 5th Amendment Implications

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Course Information

Time 90 Minutes
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Criminal Constitutional Litigation

Course Description

New technologies such as smartphones and GPS, among clothes, have changed the way law enforcement investigates, and the kinds of electronic evidence that is introduced in criminal proceedings. These new technologies have clear implications for criminal law practitioners' understanding of the 4th and 5th Amendment. The 2018 SCOTUS decision in US v Carpenter was a major shift in understanding the scope of the 4th Amendment search and seizure doctrine in the digital age - but how much has really changed? 

This program, taught by Ron Hedges of Dentons LLP and Judge Tracie A. Todd, will identify how new technologies are used by law enforcement, review the scope of the 4th and 5th Amendment doctrine as it relates to new kinds of electronic information, and guide criminal practitioners in their use of electronic information in criminal investigations and proceedings.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review how Carpenter has, and has not, changed reasonable expectations of privacy
  2. Analyze the viability of the third-party doctrine post-Carpenter
  3. Apply the Fourth Amendment and 5th Amendment to evidence derived from new technologies and electronic devices
  4. Identify when compelled disclosure of passwords may violate the Fifth Amendment
  5. Discuss whether the Fifth Amendment may bar the compelled disclosure of biometric identifiers 

Credit Information

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Ronald Hedges


Ronald is a member of Dentons' Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice group. He has an extensive experience in e-discovery and in management of complex litigation and has served as a special master, arbitrator and mediator. He also consults on management and discovery of electronically stored information ("ESI"). 

Ron Hedges was a United States Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey from 1986 to 2007. While a magistrate judge, he was the Compliance Judge for the Court Mediation Program, a member of the Lawyers Advisory Committee, and both a member of, and reporter for, the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Committee. From 2001 to 2005 he was a member of the Advisory Group of Magistrate Judges. 

Ron was an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School, where he taught mediation skills. He was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and remains an adjunct professor at Rutgers School of Law— Newark. He taught courses on electronic discovery and evidence at both these schools. Ron was a Fellow at the Center for Information Technology of Princeton University for 2010-11 and 2011-12. He is also a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas.

The Honorable Tracie A. Todd received her education in the private and public school systems in Birmingham, Alabama. She continued her post-secondary education at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana where she received a dual Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Japanese studies. Tracie earned the degree of Juris Doctor at the University of Alabama School of Law and studied abroad at the Australian National University College of Law. In 2018, she earned a Master of Laws from the Duke University School of Law. Her thesis Mass Incarceration: The Obstruction of Judges, was selected for publication in the Law and Contemporary Problems Journal.  

Tracie began her professional career as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) with the Takahagi Board of Education in Takahagi, Ibaraki, Japan. After returning from Japan, she joined the Topre America team, a startup Japanese company, as a Japanese language interpreter and Human Resources/Executive Assistant. Tracie left the Topre team to study at the University of Alabama School of law where she received numerous awards and accolades for her leadership and academic achievements, including The Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society and The Order of the Barristers. 

After graduating from law school, she served the State of Alabama as a Deputy District Attorney for the Tenth Judicial Circuit – Birmingham Division with responsibility for felony and misdemeanor prosecution. As lead attorney, she successfully litigated felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile matters. In recognition of her performance, she received an inter-office, peer-nominated award in acknowledgment of her case management and trial advocacy skills. 

Tracie’s work ethic and dedication to the community was noticed by city leadership. She was recruited to serve and unanimously appointed by the Birmingham City Council as a Municipal Court Judge. In 2012, Judge Todd was elected to serve the State of Alabama as a Circuit Court Judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit – Criminal Division, with responsibility for state felony and misdemeanor law. As a municipal judge, she was dedicated to educating the public on matters of the law through a weekly newspaper commentary, A Beachside Chat with Judge Tracie. In 2019, she published Bench Book and Practitioner Guide a composition intended to assist newly elected judges and associate practitioners. Most recently, Judge Todd published “U.S. Courts Unified in Spirit: State Criminal Courts Respond to Covid-19” published in the Special COVID-19 Edition of Juriste International, a premiere, tri-lingual law journal for international practitioners. 

Judge Todd has gained a reputation for her compassionate jurisprudence, efforts to ensure procedural fairness, and taking a holistic approach in sentencing and rehabilitation. She has served on various boards and received recognition for her service to the community and professional accomplishments. Judge Todd has served as a faculty member at the National Judicial College since 2014, instructing judges from jurisdictions across the United States on emerging topics including Procedural Fairness and Effective Use of Courtroom Interpreters. She is actively involved in the American Bar Association (ABA) where she was selected as an inaugural participant in the Criminal Justice Section Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship and now serves as co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Most recently, Judge Todd received a second presidential appointment to the ABA Criminal Justice Standards Committee with responsibility for reviewing and drafting model legislation for adoption by courts, legislative bodies, and other agencies.