This case was in a posture of a motion for a new trial. The defendant was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and attempted possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. The Government introduced as evidence cell site location information from three cell phones. The trial occured weeks before the Carpenter decision came down.
The data was acquired by the Government through court orders pursuant to the Stored Communications Act. The District Court found that the good faith exception applied based on the statute as well as the then-binding Sixth Circuit precedent of United States v. Carpenter, 819 F.3d 880 (6th Cir. 2016). The Court discusses a number of cases (that have been covered by this blog) where the good faith exception has been invoked.
The Defendant tried to argue around that based on U.S. Supreme Court cases that discuss retroactivity, citing Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 85 S. Ct. 1731, 14 L. Ed. 2d 601 (1965) and Griffith v. Kentucky, 479 U.S. 314, 107 S. Ct. 708, 93 L. Ed. 2d 649 (1987). The Court felt this argument missed the point because the Court agreed that Carpenter applies retroactively to her case, but the question of whether a constitutional right is retroactive is distinct from the question of whether an individual is entitled to a remedy from any constitutional violation.
The defense also attempted to argue that there was no good faith based on the idea that the Carpenter decision was foreshadowed in United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400, 132 S. Ct. 945, 181 L. Ed. 2d 911 (2012) and Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 189 L. Ed. 2d 430 (2014). The Court responded that since the Sixth Circuit in Carpenter did not read these cases to mean that a warrant was needed to obtain CSLI, law enforcement can not be expected to do so.
The case is United States v. Leyva, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199327, 2018 WL 6167890 (E.D. MI) November 26, 2018.