A lawyer for Gizmodo said today that his clients may choose to
file a lawsuit
against the San Mateo County Sheriff for the raid on editor Jason Chen's home. The search was part of the investigation revolving around Gizmodo's acquisition of a prototype next-gen iPhone. The warrant was served to Chen on Friday, and authorized police to take Chen's computers and hard drives. Gizmodo has held that the warrant was improperly issued because California's shield law should protect Chen from seizure of property.
Stephen Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney in San Mateo County claims the issue was examined before the search was conducted. The sticking point is that if Gizmodo is the target of the investigation for the purchase of the phone, the shield law would probably not apply. The distinction is that in cases of direct wrong doing, journalists aren't protected from searches.
Civil rights groups, including the EFF , have come down firmly on the side of Gizmodo here. It would set a disturbing standard if the shield law were ignored simply because Chen works from home, and not in a traditional newsroom. Where do you come down? Should Gizmodo file the suit? More importantly, what does this mean for online journalism?