Fourth Amendment

CA4: Accessing Cell Site Data Without a Warrant Violates Fourth Amendment

By Wells Bennett
Wednesday, August 5, 2015, 2:52 PM

Earlier today, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit handed down its quite important decision in United States v. Graham.

The gist of the two-judge majority opinion (penned by Senior Circuit Judge Andre Davis) is to hold, first, that accessing cell site data without a warrant violated the defendants' Fourth Amendment rights; but, second, that the violation did not require suppression, because it resulted from law enforcement's good faith reliance on procedures set forth by the Stored Communications Act.

The majority's ruling adds to a circuit split on the Fourth Amendment issue: It tracks a decision of the Third Circuit, but conflicts directly with judgments issued by the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits—the latter of which took up the question en banc and found no constitutional violation.