E.D.Mich.: Carpenter doesn’t apply where CSLI was obtained nearly a year before

The SCA request for CSLI was issued here nearly a year before Carpenter. The good faith exception applies, and there will be no exclusion. United States v. Williams, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129639 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 2, 2018):

Williams also argues that the retroactive application of Carpenter under Griffith and the application of the good faith doctrine are mutually exclusive legal doctrines. Carpenter, while recognizing that obtaining CSLI without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation, does not discuss how lower courts should retroactively apply the exclusionary rule. Instead, discretion is left to the lower courts to work through an exclusionary rule analysis. This is evident in United States v. Chavez, 894 F.3d 593 (4th Cir. 2018). In Chavez the Court recognized that Griffith gave Carpenter retroactive application and, consequently, found the Government committed a Fourth Amendment violation when it obtained the CSLI without a warrant. Id. at 608. However, the Chavez Court correctly continued through an exclusionary rule analysis, finding that the exclusionary rule would not apply because of the good faith exception. Id. Chavez recognized that a Fourth Amendment violation occurred — as Griffith demands — but did not find that the exclusionary rule automatically applied as Williams contends. The Court finds the Fourth Circuit reasoning compelling and dismisses Williams’ argument.

The Government argues that law enforcement relied in good faith on the existing legal authority of § 2703(d) to obtain the CSLI. Carpenter invalidated § 2703(d) almost a year later. The Government contends reliance on a then current statute to obtain evidence falls into the “good faith” exception announced in Krull. To reinforce its argument, the Government cites numerous cases from multiple circuits where courts found CSLI obtained by § 2703(d) falls into the good faith exception. Pembrook, 876 F.3d at 823; United States v. Simmons, 2:16cr130, 2017 WL 6388956 (E.D. Va., December 14, 2017); United States v. Brown, 2:17-cr-00047, 2017 WL 3428300 (C.D. Cal., August 7, 2017); United States v. Gray, No. CR-15-08076, 2017 WL 3675383, *6 (D. Arizona, August 25, 2017); Chavez, 894 F.3d at 608.

The Court agrees with the Government: the Government acted with good faith and, consequently, no deterrent effect would arise out of the Court’s use of the exclusionary rule. Krull notes that the use of the exclusionary rule when investigators rely on a statute later overturned would have no deterrent effect on police. The Court stated, “penalizing the officer for the [legislature’s] error… cannot logically contribute to … deterrence.” Krull, 480 U.S. at 1167. Without any deterrent effect, the Court will not apply the exclusionary rule.

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