Quantcast
Connect with us

Federal appeals court rules that Fourth Amendment protects cell phone location data

Published

on

By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday that cell phone tower tracking data used to convict a Miami man for a string of arm robberies that resulted in a 162-year prison sentence violated his constitutional right of privacy.

The ruling, however, is little relief for 22-year-old Quartavious Davis, whose conviction and sentence were mostly upheld after the court found police and federal prosecutors acted in good faith by seeking permission to access historical cell site data from a federal magistrate judge.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The government’s warrantless gathering of his cell site location information violated his reasonable expectation of privacy,” federal Judge David Bryan Sentelle wrote on behalf of a three-judge panel of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case comes as federal courts around the country wrestle with cell phone privacy issues. Phone data are often used as evidence to show suspects were in the vicinity of a crime.

“This is the first time a court has addressed the Fourth Amendment implications of historic cell phone location tracking based on a factual record that shows how intrusive it was,” Nathan Freed Wessler, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said on Wednesday.

The court agreed with the ACLU, which argued cell phone location data was protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures.

The ruling does not prevent police from using the cell phone tower tracking data, but requires them to first obtain a warrant from a judge based on probable cause and not simply a court order based on reasonable suspicion.

ADVERTISEMENT

The ruling did find in Davis’ favor on a minor issue over his sentencing on one count, stating that the evidence did not prove he brandished a gun during a robbery, only that he was in possession of one. Under the sentencing guidelines that would only amount to a two-year sentence reduction.

Davis was convicted in 2010 of carrying a gun during more than a half dozen robberies and sentenced to 1,941 months in prison. The unusually long sentence stemmed from a controversial practice known as “stacking,” in which mandatory minimum sentences for each charge are counted consecutively.

(Editing by David Adams and Jim Loney)

ADVERTISEMENT

[Image: “Senior Businessman Looking Through Blinds Whilst Making Call” via Shutterstock]

ADVERTISEMENT

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Why do we need camo in space’: Trump’s Space Force ridiculed for woodland camouflage uniforms

Published

on

On Friday, the United States Space Force released an image of their new uniforms on Twitter.

The image shows a Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) for a four-star general in a woodland camouflage pattern, with a matching camo nametape.

https://twitter.com/SpaceForceDoD/status/1218335200964464650

However, many people were confused as to why the Space Force would use uniforms designed to blend in on earth.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/PostCultRev/status/1218351691021484032

Sorry for the question but why do we need camo in space?

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

BUSTED: National Archives caught doctoring exhibit to remove criticism of President Trump from women

Published

on

The National Archives were caught editing an artifact from the Trump administration to remove criticism of the president, according to a bombshell new report in The Washington Post.

The newspaper reported on a "large color photograph" at the National Archives exhibit marking the centennial of women's suffrage.

"The 49-by-69-inch photograph is a powerful display. Viewed from one perspective, it shows the 2017 march. Viewed from another angle, it shifts to show a 1913 black-and-white image of a women’s suffrage march also on Pennsylvania Avenue. The display links momentous demonstrations for women’s rights more than a century apart on the same stretch of pavement. But a closer look reveals a different story," the newspaper noted.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Dershowitz is running a ‘bizarro defense’ of Trump: Harvard Law colleague says ‘Alan is just completely wacko’

Published

on

Two of the most famous names associated with Harvard Law School had competing appearances on MSNBC on Friday.

It began when Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus, was interviewed MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber about his new role officially representing President Donald Trump during the Senate impeachment trial.

Dershowitz claimed that neither abuse of power nor obstruction of Congress count as "high crimes" under the constitution.

Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has also been associated with Harvard Law for five decades, was asked about Dershowitz's argument during an interview with Chris Hayes.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image