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exchange for Ziegler's agreement to plead guilty to the receipt of obscene material. The
parties conditioned the plea agreement on Ziegler's ability to appeal the district court's
denial of the pretrial motions, including the motion to suppress. A change of plea hearing
occurred on September 24, 2004.
On March 4, 2005, the district court sentenced Ziegler to a two-year term of probation
and imposed a fine of $1,000. Ziegler timely filed a notice of appeal.
Ziegler's sole contention on appeal is that the January 30, 2001, search of his workplace
computer violated the Fourth Amendment and, as such, the evidence contained on the
computer's hard drive must be suppressed. [FN8]
FN8. We review de novo the district court's denial of Ziegler's motion to suppress. United
States v. Noushfar, 78 F.3d 1442, 1447 (9th Cir.1996).
Ziegler argues that "[t]he district court erred in its finding that Ziegler did not have a
legitimate expectation of privacy in his office and computer." He likens the workplace
computer to the desk drawer or file cabinet given Fourth Amendment protection in cases
such as O'Connor v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709, 107 S.Ct. 1492, 94 L.Ed.2d 714 (1987).
Ziegler further contends that the Fourth Circuit's Simons case is inapposite. Whereas in
Simons "the person conducting the search was a network administrator whose purpose
was to search for evidence of employee misconduct," in this case "the search was
conducted at the behest of Agent Kennedy who was undeniably seeking evidence of a
The government, of course, views the matter quite differently. It contends that the district
court's ruling was correct--Ziegler did not have an objectively reasonable expectation of
privacy in his workplace computer. The government explains in its brief:
Society could not deem objectively reasonable that privacy interest where an employee
uses a computer paid for by the company; [sic] Internet access paid for by the company,
in the company office where the company pays the rent.... This is certainly...
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- Spring '08