D.D.C.: Geofence warrant for cell phones in Capitol building during 1/6 insurrection was valid and relied on in good faith

The D.C. District Court upheld a geofence warrant for cell phones located in the Capitol building during the 1/6 insurrection. Surveying all the cases, and there aren’t many, and noting that there is a margin of error as to accuracy of the report that maybe up to a 32% error rate of whether the nearly 1500 cell phones were actually in the Capitol at the time, there was still a “substantial basis” for finding probable cause. Moreover, the warrants were not overbroad and they were particular to time and inside the building itself. Streets were closed and there were no businesses around, so stray cell phones aren’t likely to have been captured. Finally, it is apparent that the good faith exception applies to this geofence warrant. United States v. Rhine, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12308 (D.D.C. Jan. 24, 2023).

Even if the warrant was overbroad in permitting seizure of information from 2012, it wasn’t prejudicial where it wasn’t admitted at trial. Therefore, suppression wasn’t an appropriate remedy. United States v. Eller, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 1866 (9th Cir. Jan. 25, 2023).* Connected case: United States v. Eller, 2023 U.S. App. LEXIS 1884 (9th Cir. Jan. 25, 2023).*

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