Last fall, a judge in Charlotte, North Carolina, unsealed a multi-case set of 529 court documents that detail the use of a stingray, or cell-site simulator, by local police. After that, the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office set out to review the applications and determine which records needed to be shared with defense attorneys.
The DA’s office released a statement Friday saying its review is complete, and the county’s top prosecutorial authority found that “only two cases” involved the use of stingrays “for investigative purposes,” meaning defense attorneys should be notified.
However, the report is not that simple. The DA review excluded cases that were “dismissed, resulted in a not-guilty verdict, or were federally charged.” In total, only 149 cases were examined. The local Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) confirmed that stingrays were used in more than 20 percent of these (39 cases), but in 38 of those 39 instances, “the device was used to locate a defendant who already had a warrant for his arrest, and only one was used for investigative purposes.”
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