• United States v. Chatrie, No. 3:19-cr-130 (E.D. Va.)

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    In United States v. Chatrie, No. 3:19-cr-130 (E.D. Va.), Okello Chatrie was charged with armed robbery based on Google Sensorvault data obtained by law enforcement via a geofence warrant.


    I. Introduction
    Ratified in 1791, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees to
    the people the right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
    unreasonable searches and seizures.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. To that end, the Framers
    prohibited the issuance of a warrant, unless that warrant was based “upon probable cause” and
    unless it “particularly describ[ ed] the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be
    ..The Warrant sought location data for every device present within the geofence from
    4:20 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. on the day of the robbery. In keeping with Google’s established
    approach, the Geo fence Warrant described a three-step process by which law enforcement would
    “attempt to narrow down” the list of users for which the Government would obtain the most
    invasive information. ..

    ..Because the Government Lacked Particularized Probable Cause as to Every
    Google User in the Geofence, the Warrant Violates the Fourth Amendment

    ..IV. Conclusion

    Despite the Court finding good faith here, the Court nonetheless strongly cautions that
    this exception may not carry the day in the future. This Court will not simply rubber stamp
    geofence warrants. If the Government is to continue to employ these warrants, it must take care
    to establish particularized probable cause. As the legal landscape confronts newly developed
    technology and further illuminates Fourth Amendment rights in the face of geofence practices,
    future geofence warrants may require additional efforts to seek court approval in between Steps,
    or to limit the geographic and temporal information sought. ..


    ..The place, person or thing to be searched is described as follows:
    Google LLC, which is headquartered at 1600 Google Amphitheater Parkway, Mountain View,
    California 94043, and applies to Target Location: Geographical area pertaining to a radius of 150
    meters around a latitude/longitude coordinate, Latitude: 37.438420, Longitude: -77.587900. It is your
    affiant’s belief that the records requested are actually possessed by Google LLC, and that Google
    LLC provides electronic communication service or remote computing service within the
    Commonwealth of VA. ..

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Alex5723.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Paul T.
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    • #2458435

      All of you who own cell phones are not off the hook, yet. If this question arises in another District, the outcome could be different. When it is appealed by the defendant, there could be a conflicting opinion that may ultimately reach the “Gods” at SCOTUS. If so, given the philosophy of Conservative majority, you could see a further erosion of your rights. In a recent decision, SCOTUS has already began to erode Miranda.

      The recent decision in Dobbs should also be a cause for concern for cell phone users, especially in states that offer bounties for people or entities who are suspected to be an ” accessory” to an abortion. Click here for some insight into the issue. Be worried, folks. Truly, be worried.

      Peace, CAS

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