November 15th, 2019
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
United States v. Beverly
Opinion Date: November 14, 2019
Judge: Stuart Kyle Duncan
Areas of Law: Criminal Law
The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of defendant's motion to suppress cell-site location information (CSLI), declaring the court order and warrant void. The Supreme Court held in Carpenter v. United States that if the government wants CSLI it needs a valid search warrant. On the same day Carpenter was decided, federal prosecutors in this case applied for the search warrant for the CSLI they already had. The court held that the Krull strand of the good-faith exception properly applies to the 2015 CSLI, since it was obtained pursuant to a pre-Carpenter warrantless order authorized by statute. The court stated that the government pursued the statutory order in good faith, and thus the CSLI should not have been suppressed. In regard to the 2014 CSLI, the court held that the Leon strand of the good-faith exception applied because those records were first sought and obtained under a post-Carpenter search warrant. The court stated that the government acted in good faith when applying for the search warrant and, even if the government did not act in good faith, the warrant was supported by probable cause. Finally, the court held that any suppression of toll records and subscriber information under Carpenter was erroneous because Carpenter only applies to evidence that can be used to track a person's physical movements over time.
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