Document Type



This Article analyzes the private search doctrine exception to the Fourth Amendment and the exception's application to smart phones and computers. The private search doctrine allows governmental authorities to replicate a private individual's search without obtaining a warrant. This Article proposes a standard for court's to use to resolve the circuit split on how to apply the exception to today's technology. Presently, there are two standards used by courts. The Article names one standard as the "boundless search approach" that is used by the Fifth and Seventh Circuits. The Article names the other standard as "bounded search approach" that is used by Sixth and Eleventh Circuits. The Article proposes courts to use the bounded search approach when reviewing matters regarding the private search doctrine, and an alternative approach that this Article names the "severity of the crime approach."