Police obtained 67 days worth of location information, detailing more than 11,000 specific cell site locations, to pinpoint defendant Quartavious Davis at various robberies without a search warrant. The trial court denied Davis' motion to suppress the records and Davis was ultimately convicted at trial.
When Davis' case was before a three judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, EFF joined the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) in an amicus brief, arguing police need a search warrant in order to obtain historical cell site records from a cell phone provider. In June 2014, the panel agreed with us, ruling that police need a search warrant to obtain historical cell site records.
After the government convinced the entire Eleventh Circuit to rehear the case en banc, EFF filed another amicus brief arguing that the panel opinion was correct to require a warrant for this sensitive data. Unfortunately, the en banc court ruled that there was no expectation of privacy in historical cell site records and that police did not need a search warrant to obtain that information from cell phone providers.
Davis filed a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court in July 2015. EFF, along with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, CDT, The Constitution Project and the NACDL filed another amicus brief in support of Davis before the Supreme Court.