California appellate court finds no ineffective assistance in failure to anticipate Carpenter decision in murder prosecution.

In this direct appeal from a first degree murder conviction, the Defendant complained that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the admission of cell site location information that established that the Defendant’s phone was in the area of the crime scene around the time of the murder.

This trial took place before Carpenter was decided. In fact, initial briefing on this case concluded before the Carpenter decision came down.

The California appellate court, in an unpublished decision, decided that trial counsel was not ineffective for fialing to anticipate Carpenter and could reasonably decide that the third party doctrine cases of Smith and Miller controlled. The appellate court noted that the record here was also incomplete. It’s not clear whether there was a warrant or not, and cited a prosecution Powerpoint slide that mentioned an “exigency warrant.”

The case is People v. Barragan, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1006, 2019 WL 512788(Cal. Ct. App. 4th Dist.) February 11, 2019.

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