Prosecutors can obtain a person’s banking records using a warrantless grand jury subpoena without violating the individual’s right to privacy under New Mexico’s Constitution, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
In a unanimous decision Thursday, the justices concluded that a district court properly allowed the use of five years of personal financial records as evidence in a pending criminal case against a Taos couple facing charges of tax evasion and other finance-related offenses.
The high court rejected the married couple’s argument that the state’s Constitution provided greater privacy protections for their financial records than offered under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The couple contended that a court-authorized warrant should have been required to obtain bank records.
The justices adhered to a decadesold legal doctrine established by the U.S. Supreme Court that people have no constitutionally protected privacy interest in the financial account records they voluntarily share with third parties.