Posted on

Judge rules police warrant on Christian Ziegler’s phone data illegal amid investigation

Steven Walker

Sarasota Herald-Tribune


The Sarasota Police Department’s search of Christian Ziegler’s phone data amid rape allegations was illegal, a Sarasota judge ruled Monday morning.


In a 46-page ruling passed down early Monday morning, Judge Hunter Carroll said SPD’s three search warrants violated Ziegler’s Fourth Amendment rights. The ruling also orders police and the state attorney’s office to destroy original copies of records found through the warrants “promptly and without delay.”


Ziegler Complaint Final Order Ziegler Complaint Final Order


“Law enforcement’s actions with respect to these three warrants were patently erroneous and constitutionally intolerable,” Carroll wrote.


Law enforcement sorted through more than 250,000 photos and 30,000 videos from Ziegler’s phone, as well as 1,200 text communications between Ziegler and his wife Bridget.


Matthew Sarelson, Ziegler’s lawyer, called the ruling a “win for all Floridians.”


“We’re grateful the Court took the time to do a deep dive into Constitutional law because it’s the Constitution that gives us the victory. These were three, overbroad, general warrants to obtain literally everything on Christian’s phone, which is tantamount to everything in this life … ” Sarelson said. “… Hopefully, something like this never happens to anyone else ever again.”


Read more