Tuesday, December 4, 2012

District court upholds CSLI order with erroneous phone number, finds defendant doesn't have standing

In United States v. Cannon, No. 6:11-cr-02302 (D.S.C. 2012), the court held that a typographical error did not violate an order for cell site data and that the defendant's failure to prove he had an interest in the phone removed his ability to challenge the search for lack of standing.

The defendant had been charged with multiple crimes related to the distribution of drugs. As part of the investigation, law enforcement obtained GPS data from his cell phone company. He filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the data was obtained in violation of his constitutional rights.

In challenging the use of the data, the defendant argued that the court order was invalid because it contained a phone number different than the one that information was provided for. The court found the argument to be without merit, holding, "Mere typographical errors do not undermine a finding of probable cause and do not invalidate a warrant." Because the correct number was used elsewhere, it was clear that it was a mistake.

The government argued that the defendant did not have standing because he was not the owner or authorized user of the phone. The defendant was unable to prove that he had any interest in the phone, and thus could not challenge any potential Fourth Amendment violation.


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