U.S. Dist. Ct. for E.D. Wisconsin holds Carpenter does not apply to installed surveillance cameras.

On the same date that a District Court judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin denied a motion to suppress of pole camera footage in United States v. Kay (which is the immediately preceding post on this blog), the same judge denied a motion to reconsider in a different multi-defendant case where the defendants argued Carpenter applies to pole cameras.

In a brief order, the District Court stated that the Carpenter decision is a narrow one, stressing the breadth of information that cell site location information provides. The Court noted Carpenter’s language that this decision does not apply to traditional items such as security cameras to rule that this also applies to specially installed surveillance cameras.

The Court noted favorably the Central District Court of Illinois’ decision in United States v. Tuggle (previously posted on this blog on September 9) that “[p]ole cameras are limited to a fixed location and capture only activities in camera view, as opposed to GPS, which can track an individual’s movement anywhere in the world.” The Court also stated that defendants fail to explain how such surveillance provides the same aggregate account of a person’s life, revealing his “political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.” (Carpenter, 138 S. Ct. at 2217); United States v. Houston, 813 F.3d 282, 290 (6th Cir. 2016). The Court also emphasized that these cameras “did not record events inside the home or otherwise permit the police to see things an officer standing on the street could not see.”

The case is United States v. Tirado, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141605, 2018 WL 3995901 (E.D. Wi) (Aug. 21).

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