Friday, July 15, 2011

No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy for Cell Phone Tower Locations on Cell Phone

The Appellate Division in State v. Earls came down with a decision which held that tracking a suspect’s general location using cell phone towers is not unconstitutional under the State or Federal constitutions, and that a judicial warrant is not necessary for that information to be disclosed to law enforcement by the cell phone carrier, without the suspects consent or knowledge.

The decision is not shocking and is in conformity with the general rule of law that a suspect does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy with anything that is open to public view.  Of course it is legal for a law enforcement officer to follow a suspect who is out in public without a warrant.  That same logical and legal reasoning holds that a someone who has in his possession a cell phone which is turned-on; can reasonably suspect that his location will be tracked through the satellite signals to and from the nearest cell phone tower nearest to his cell phone.

In one particular criminal case in Somerset County, I was able to obtain an acquittal and obtain a not guilty verdict on every count of the indictment when it was pointed out to the jury that law enforcement could have pinpointed the general location of the defendant, who was in Essex County and not in Somerset County at the time of the alleged crimes, but failed to do so.  With all advanced technology if used properly it can be a useful tool of both law enforcement and the defendant to help exonerate an innocent defendant.

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Dated: July 15, 2011
Cell Phone Tower Tracking in New Jersey, Legality of Cell Phone Tower Tracking of Suspect in New Jersey, Cell Phone Carrier Tracking of Suspects, Whether it is Legal to Cell Phone Tower Track of Cell Phones.

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