Several months back, I mentioned that Antoine Jones, the defendant in the Supreme Court's Jones decision, is back in trial court after the high court's remand. The DOJ is now seeking to do with cell site data what it is not allowed to do with GPS information.
Defendant’s motion to suppress cell-site location records cannot succeed under any theory. To begin with, no reasonable expectation of privacy exists in the routine business records obtained from the wireless carrier in this case, both because they are third-party records and because in any event the cell-site location information obtained here is too imprecise to place a wireless phone inside a constitutionally protected space. Even if defendant were able to establish a Fourth Amendment privacy interest, the government’s good-faith reliance upon judicial and statutory authorization here forecloses any claim for suppression.
Finally, defendant expressly admits that the government lawfully relied upon the proper legal authority – 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d) – to obtain the disputed records. To the extent that defendant alleges that the government violated this (or other) statutes, his motion fails because no statutory suppression remedy is available. As a result, defendant’s motion must be denied.The case is before the DC federal district court. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's brief is available here, and Jones' motion can be found here.