Privacy Rights- Carpenter vs. United States

by John Lovell

Last month, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the privacy rights of individuals. The Government, without a warrant or a showing of probable cause, issued an order to a cell phone company to provide Timothy Carpenter’s cell site data. The Government sought to gather the extensive records, including the location of Carpenter’s phones. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, found that Mr. Carpenter had a privacy right in his phone records. For the Government to seize these records, the Government needed to present to a magistrate a warrant based on sworn testimony establishing probable cause. The Court noted that a significant factor causing the War for Independence was Britain’s use of warrantless searches … Americans have never been fond of warrantless searches!

Do not be quick to conclude that this ruling makes it necessary for the police to obtain a warrant for all types of stored records. Your privacy could still be affected. Previously, the Court has held that a warrant is not necessary to obtain records of the numbers called by a cell phone-not the content of the calls but just the fact that the “target” phone called particular numbers at particular times. The Court has also held that other stored records such as bank records may be obtained without a warrant. A couple of years ago, the Court ruled that a warrant is required to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle. The critical distinction that the Court has made is in information that reveals the location of the subject. We have a greater expectation of privacy in where we are than is more typical records such as numbers called and even bank records. Protect your privacy rights today and call Peachstate Lawyer for your FREE consultation!

PSL wishes to thank Jim Parkman

The Peach State Lawyers would like to thank super lawyer Jim Parkman for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak to our office.  Mr. Parkman spoke to us about his over 30 years of legal experience, especially his expertise in trying cases.  It is always an honor when seasoned trial attorneys take the time to impart some of their trade secrets.

I won’t give away all his secrets and techniques here, but I would like to leave you with two life lessons Mr. Parkman that really resonated with this Peach State Lawyer:

First, You are what you want to be.  Always have it in your mind that’s what you are.

Second, don’t pass up your time with your family.

Thank you for everything Mr. Parkman!