Viriginia Court of Appeals, after remand from the United States Supreme Court, invokes good faith exception to deny Carpenter relief.

This case was also given a brief mention on this blog (see August 9 post) as one of a number of cases that was remanded by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 in light of the Carpenter decision. The case was remanded back to the Virginia Court of Appeals for that reconsideration.

In this case, the police were working with a confidential informant who engaged in undercover drug transactions. Based on a transaction, the police targeted the defendant. A Stored Communications Act order to obtain from Verizon the defendant’s cell site location information for a period spanning two days before and two days after the transaction. The defendant’s motion to suppress the data was denied.

The court immediately turned to the good faith exception to affirm this conviction. The Court of Appeals first relies on the Fourth Circuit Chavez decision (see August 24 blog post) to rule that the officers here also acted in good faith.

The issue here that the Court glosses over is that Chavez relied on controlling precedent of U.S. v. Graham where law enforcement could rely on a warrantless search of CSLI. The Virigina appellate court cited no similar previously existing controlling precedent for which Virginia law enforcement could rely.

To me, as I have argued here before, this expands the good faith exception.

The case is Reed v. Commonwealth, 2018 Va. App. LEXIS 275, Court of Appeals of Virginia, October 16, 2018.

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