C.D.Cal.: PC not shown for Jan. 6th target’s cell phone in California three years later

The government sought search warrants for cell phones in California in 2024 for six alleged misdemeanors at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The court finds no probable cause to believe that there is evidence on the phones three years later. In re Search Warrant for the Prop. Located at Irvine, Cal., 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91322 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2024):

After a close review of the Search Applications, the Court must deny all three because the Government fails to establish probable cause. The Court cannot find that there is a fair probability that evidence, fruits, or instrumentalities of the target offenses will be found in the locations to be searched in Irvine, California. In this case, the Government has provided no reason to believe evidence of an event that occurred over three years ago in Washington, D.C. would have been transported across the country to the location to be searched. Similarly, the Government offers only stale evidence from 2021 and 2022 and generalized conclusory statements related to digital devices, which is insufficient to establish probable cause for the search. The Court also exercises its discretion to deny the Sealing Applications because the Government fails to show a compelling reason for sealing in this specific, and somewhat unusual, circumstance.

One could disagree with this holding because, at least in the author’s experience with iPhones, when a new phone is acquired, it backs up huge amounts of information from the owner’s iCloud account. Not text messages, but contacts, pictures, notes, and apps. In addition, phones go everywhere with the owner.

This entry was posted in Cell phones, Staleness. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.