Do police need a warrant for cellphone location records?
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether police need to obtain a search warrant to obtain past location data for a suspect’s cellphone.
The American Civil Liberties Union asked the Supreme Court to hear the case on behalf of its client, Timothy Carpenter, a convicted armed robber. During Carpenter’s trial, prosecutors introduced cell tower records showing he was in the area where four of the crimes took place.
Police had obtained the records under the Stored Communications Act, which does not require a showing of probable cause. The law authorizes release of records when there are “specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe” the records are “are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.”