The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today on the prosecutorial abuses surrounding “John Doe” investigations. By way of background, so-called “John Doe” laws allow prosecutors to bypass the regular search warrant application process and use special subpoenas to demand all sorts of information from various institutions, such as internet service providers. If the prosecutor demands your email records, you may never know it has even happened.
Excerpt from the editorial:
New evidence shows that John Doe investigators were trawling the files they collected via subpoenas and search warrants for information on national conservatives.
The documents are under seal in a state court case, Eric O’Keefe and Wisconsin Club for Growth v. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB), but two sources have read them to us. The lawsuit is a complaint against the GAB, the state agency that worked with Milwaukee prosecutors on the John Doe that used campaign-finance laws to trample the First Amendment.
We’ve tried to expose this illegal harassment since the autumn of 2013, when early morning home raids and subpoenas hit conservative groups across the state. From that investigation and a previous John Doe whose documents were transferred into the new investigation, prosecutors and the GAB collected millions of documents, including personal files, emails and bank statements.
Eric O’Keefe recently shared his chilling experiences in Wisconsin in a Cato Daily Podcast.
There is no place for “John Doe” investigations in America. Period. “Reforming” John Doe falls short.