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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ind. Decisions - "Ind. Court Says Warrant Needed to Get Cell Tower Data"

Marcus Zanders v. State of Indiana, a 2-1, August 4th Court of Appeals opinion (ILB summary here, 3rd case) is the subject of an Aug. 17th Bloomberg Law article by Lance J. Rogers. Some quotes from the long story:

The decision is significant because it adds to a growing split among state and federal courts.

The third-party doctrine doesn't apply here because a mobile phone customer doesn't hand over location data to the provider—voluntarily or otherwise—and therefore doesn't assume the risk that the company will turn the information over to the police, the court said in an opinion by Judge Patricia A. Riley.

“This decision adds to the split on this issue and improves the odds that the Supreme Court will grant cert. on the next petition that comes before it,” John Wesley Hall, a Little Rock, Ark., criminal defense attorney, told Bloomberg BNA. * * *

The state argued that the police didn't violate Marcus Zanders's constitutional rights when they seized cell site location data linking his mobile phone to a crime scene because citizens have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the business records kept by a third party.

Prosecutors pointed to United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. 435 (1976), and Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979), which held that investigators don't need a search warrant to obtain a suspect's bank records or a phone company's records of the numbers dialed by land-line phones. * * *

[T]he Indiana court said that the third-party doctrine has limited utility in the digital age given the proliferation of data that is unwittingly revealed to third parties.

“The extent of information that we expose to third parties has increased by orders of magnitude since the Supreme Court decided Miller and Smith,” the court said.

“To now apply a rigorous application of Miller and Smith, as the State advocates, would create a rule that would preclude virtually any Fourth Amendment challenge against government inspection of third-party records,” the court said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 18, 2016 02:02 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions