U.S. v. Damian Patrick

The Milwaukee Police Department secretly used a Stingray to locate defendant Patrick through his cell phone without a warrant. As we’ve seen in other cases involving Stingrays, the government did everything it could in this case to hide the fact that it used the device—from the court that issued the pen register/trap and trace order, the court that heard Patrick’s motion to suppress evidence, and even from Patrick himself.

After EFF and the ACLU filed an amicus brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit pointing the court to facts indicating that a Stingray was used, the government finally admitted that but would not concede this should have any impact on the legal analysis in this case. The government also claims its warrantless real-time location tracking didn’t violate the Fourth Amendment.

Our brief says that using a secret Stingray is grounds for suppressing evidence gathered by its use, and we’ve asked the court to find the government needs a warrant to conduct real-time cellphone location tracking. The case is pending before the Seventh Circuit.

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