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Court Says Warrants Required for Phone Location Data

Article Comments  2  

Jun 12, 2014, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

An appellate court in Atlanta unanimously decided that police violated the Fourth Amendment rights of a suspected criminal by accessing his cell phone's location data without a warrant. Police investigating a string of robberies used a court order to obtain the suspect's cell phone data, which included details about the cell towers his phone connected to when making calls and gave away his general location. Court orders are easier to obtain, as the investigators only needed to show that the data might be relevant to the case. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided, however, that in order to gain access to such data investigators will need to show probable cause — or stronger evidence tying a suspect to a particular crime. "Cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy," wrote Judge David B. Sentelle. "The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation." Despite ruling in the defendant's favor, the court upheld the 162-year prison sentence. This ruling contradicts two other appellate court rulings, which determined that police can access location data without a warrant. The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the matter, though the high court will soon decide whether or not police need a warrant to search the contents of a suspect's cellphone.

Wall Street Journal »



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Jun 12, 2014, 12:48 PM


Im doubt it feels like a victory to the guy whose 162 something year sentence was upheld, guilty or not. I don't imagine this ruling will stand for long anyway, americans don't get rights, except the right to pay. Case in point the WSJ is pay to read, so here are some other links to the story as well as the actual ruling.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-securit ... »

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/06/12/polic ... »

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/first-time-offen »...

Jun 12, 2014, 10:31 AM

It seems

that only in the illiterate South are there any judges who aren't actively flushing all our Constitutional rights down the toilet. Not sure how some backwoods judge in Georgia missed the fact that the Constitution is trash barely usable as toilet paper, but the little guy won one today, even if he does ultimately lose the war.
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