People v. Jiang, 131 Cal. App. 4th 1027 (2005)

Weibin Jiang was arrested and charged with committing sexual offenses against an acquaintance. While he was out on bail, Jiang prepared numerous password-protected documents for his attorneys, which he saved in a folder labeled “Attorney” on his employer-issued laptop computer. The prosecutor obtained the documents by subpoenaing them from the employer (Cadence Design Systems) and argued that Jiang had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the documents. At the outset of his employment, Jiang signed an “Employee Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement” by which he expressly acknowledged that he had no expectation of privacy in “any property situated on the Company’s premises and/or owned by the Company.” Nevertheless, the Court of Appeal held that Jiang had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the documents: “Nothing in the agreement defendant signed would have suggested to a reasonable person that Cadence would make any effort to gain access to information in documents on an employee’s Cadence-issued computer that were clearly segregated as personal and password-protected.”