Pike County Sheriff’s Office: Police Neglect to Return Journalist’s Seized Property After Dismissal of Unconstitutional “Wiretapping” Charge


Case Overview

In November 2022, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio arrested newspaper editor Derek Myers and seized his laptop and cell phone after he published audio of courtroom testimony that someone else recorded in violation of a court order. A court dismissed the charges against Myers in August 2023, but the sheriff’s office retained custody of Myers’ laptop and cell phone. On November 6, 2023, FIRE wrote the sheriff’s office explaining that Ohio law required the office to return Myers’ property without delay, and that there was no basis for the arrest or seizures in the first place because the First Amendment and the Privacy Protection Act protected Myers’ publishing activity.