Carpenter: A primer
From OCDLA Library of Defense
- On November 29, 2017, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear argument in one of the most important digital privacy cases in recent years. Carpenter v. United States has its origins in a string of armed robberies in Michigan and Ohio that occurred over a period of several months in late 2010 and early 2011. As part of the resulting criminal investigation, the government requested and received a court order to obtain what is often called “cell site location information” (CSLI) for the mobile phone owned by Carpenter, who was one of the suspects in the investigation. The CSLI information, which placed Carpenter’s phone at a location within several miles of the crime scenes, was presented along with video evidence and eyewitness testimony at a federal district court trial in which Carpenter was convicted. After the Sixth Circuit upheld the conviction, Carpenter appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the government’s warrantless acquisition of CSLI violated his Fourth Amendment rights.