District Court of Connecticut finds good faith despite lack of controlling precedent in the Circuit.

The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut just heard and denied a motion to suppress cell site location information (CSLI).

The Government’s good faith argument is based on the idea that there’s a “facially valid statutory scheme created by Congress for the express purpose for which the government sought to use it.”

The Court noted that it’s aware of five other district courts—in the Third, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits—to have addressed this precise question, as well as the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and every one of these courts, writing in the seven weeks since Carpenter was decided, has declined to suppress evidence arising out of a pre-Carpenter, routine acquisition of cell site location information pursuant to the Stored Communications Act.

I believe all of these cases have been previously discussed on this blog, but here is the list that the District Court provided:

United States v. Chavez, 894 F.3d 593, 608 (4th Cir. 2018); United States v. Shaw, No. CR 5:17-26-KKC, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130656, 2018 WL 3721363 (E.D. Ky. Aug. 3, 2018); United States v. Rojas-Reyes, No. 116CR00123TWPDML, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118808, 2018 WL 3439092 (S.D. Ind. July 17, 2018); United States v. Coles, No. 1:16-CR-212, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129617, 2018 WL 3659934; (M.D. Pa. Aug. 2, 2018); United States v. Williams, No. 217CR20758VARDRG, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129639, 2018 WL 3659585 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 2, 2018); United States v. Chavez, No. 15-CR-00285-LHK, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106931, 2018 WL 3145706 (N.D. Cal. June 26, 2018).

The Court noted that it’s not aware of any cases reaching the opposite result as well as the fact that at the time the government applied for the federal Order in this case, no Court of Appeals had yet held that accessing cell site location information constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment.

So, despite the fact that there was no controlling precedent in this Circuit for which there could be good faith reliance by law enforcement, the Court essentially finds it anyway.

The case is United States v. Blake, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141895, 2018 WL 3974716 (D. Conn.) (August 20).

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