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A federal judge in Oakland, California has ruled against the suppression of evidence derived from warrantless use of a cell-site simulator.

The simulator, a device often referred to as a stingray, was used to locate the lead defendant in an ongoing attempted murder case.
In the 39-page ruling, US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton notably found that the use of stingray to find a man named Purvis Ellis was a “search” under the Fourth Amendment—and therefore required a warrant. However, in this case, the judge also agreed with the government’s assertion that there were exigent circumstances, along with the “good faith exception” to the warrant requirement.
In other words, use of the stingray was wholly justified.
“Cell phone users have an expectation of privacy in their cell phone location in real time and that society is prepared to recognize that expectation as reasonable,” Judge Hamilton wrote, citing an important Supreme Court decision from 1967 known as United States v. Katz.
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