When I was a boy, I was always puzzled but fearful of labels that I saw on pillows that read in bold print “Do Not Remove—Under Penalty of Law.” I was pretty sure that the cops wouldn’t know if I removed a label, but what if my parents ratted me out? And, as a Catholic School lad, I had to worry about the sin implications. If it was against the law, was it also a sin? A venial sin? (six to twelve months in purgatory). Or, a mortal sin? (eternal damnation—which seemed a little harsh just for removing a label). In any event, being fairly cautious, I never did remove a pillow label, though I may have committed a few more serious offenses in my youth.
These thoughts crossed my mind the other day I when I read about an ongoing case in the Second Circuit, In the Matter of a Warrant to Search a Certain Email Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corp., Case number 14-2985. Microsoft is challenging a district court order that it produce documents located overseas that were sought by a validly executed search warrant. Microsoft claims the documents are out of the reach of the government while settled law seems to be that, at least as it relates to subpoenas, the documents are producible. The magistrate and district court judge ordered that the documents be produced and Microsoft is currently pressing its appeal in the Second Circuit.