The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania just denied a motion to suppress based on the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. In this case, the defendant is accused of having committed multiple bank robberies. The Government acquired cell site location information for the defendant for which he made a motion to suppress.
After stating that the exclusionary rule applies only where it “result[s] in appreciable deterrence” (Citing, Herring v. United States, 555 U.S. 135, 141, 129 S. Ct. 695, 172 L. Ed. 2d 496 (2009)), the Court decided that there would be no deterrent purpose in this case because agents were relying on a statute and because there was Third Circuit precedent upholding the Constitutionality of the Stored Communications Act (Citing, In re Application of U.S. for an Order Directing a Provider of Elec. Commc’n Serv. to Disclose Records to Gov’t, 620 F.3d 304, 313 (3d Cir. 2010).
The Court also relied, curiously enough, on the fact that no federal circuit found the Stored Communications Act deficient (Citing, United States v. Thompson, 866 F.3d 1149 (10th Cir. 2017); United States v. Graham, 824 F.3d 421 (4th Cir. 2016); United States v. Carpenter, 819 F.3d 880 (6th Cir. 2016), cert. granted, 137 S. Ct. 2211, 198 L. Ed. 2d 657 (2017), and rev’d and remanded, 138 S. Ct. 2206, 201 L. Ed. 2d 507 (2018)) and that Carpenter itself was decided on a vote of five to four.
I have never heard before of a judge ruling even in part on an issue based on the fact that a binding decision was 5-4. It’s a novel argument.
The case is United States v. Pleasant, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150406, 2018 WL 4252632 (E.D. Penn.) (September 5).