Saturday, February 21, 2015

162 Years In Prison For Owning A Cell Phone

Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

What if you wrote to your girlfriend every day, and you were a thief, And what if the postmarks on your letters proved that you were in the towns where your thefts occurred on those days?

And what if those letters were seized by the police, and were used to convict you of crimes (of which you were certainly guilty although perhaps not provably), and you were sentenced to prison for 162 years on that basis?

Even though you had never been convicted of a crime before?

And what if the police didn't have a warrant to seize those letters?

Isn't that an infringement on the defendant's constitutional rights?

That's the situation in which the improbably named Quartaviious Davis, who had never before been charged with a crime, finds himself.

But it wasn't letters which lead to his conviction; it was his cell phone.  

The police seized the phone, and used the tracking history on the PHONE (not the cell provider) to establish Davis' presence in each of the towns in which the crimes occurred, on the same day.

The police did not bother to get a warrant to search his cell phone data,

And this was the nail which hung Davis on the cross ... however deservedly, but perhaps not constitutionally justifiable.

The Supreme Court took up the greater issue of cell phone searches last year when it unanimously ruled that police cannot generally rummage through cell phones without a warrant — likening the devices to "mini-computers" that hold a wealth of private information.
The justices, however, didn't take up the constitutionality of police digging into someone's phone location history. To get that information, authorities must obtain it from the person's wireless carrier, which keeps records on where a cell phone — and presumably the person who owns it — has been based on the closest cell tower that it "pings."

I'm just saying ... isn't that an infringement on the defendant's Constitutional Rights?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome to an Obamanation.