We are open during COVID-19 and available to speak about your case by video conference, over the phone or in person.

Articles Posted in 4th Amendment and Cell Phone Searches

What type of cell phone information can the police obtain without a warrant?  This is an important question under the 4th amendment that the Massachusetts Supreme Court recently addressed.  Nowadays, nobody leaves their cell-phones out of their sight, and a cell phone is almost an extension of a person’s body.  However, inside of your smartphone are powerful location tracking services, that “ping” your location whenever you are near a cell tower.  The use of this data in criminal cases is controversial, and many would consider it an invasion of privacy.  The Supreme Judicial Court recently decided a murder case involving cell site location information (CSLI) in Commonwealth v. Wilkerson.

What happened in Wilkerson?

The victim in this case was twenty-three year old Kristopher Rosa, who was a longtime rival of one of the defendant’s high school friends, Rhandisyn Lawrence.  Lawrence and the victim had a rivalry that apparently stemmed from both of them dating the same woman, Mendes, who the victim later had a child with.  In 2011, Lawrence and the defendant, Wilkerson, chased Rosa in cars when Rosa and his girlfriend were on the way to his mother’s house.  He was shot in the chest while still driving and pronounced dead from a gunshot wound.  The defendant was convicted of first degree murder of Rosa two years after the incident, when the defendant’s girlfriend called the police.

Does a Defendant Have Standing to Challenge a Warrantless Search of a Co-Defendant’s Cellphone?

   The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will hear oral arguments in a case on November 2nd addressing who has standing to challenge the illegal search of a phone.  Does a person sending a text message have standing to challenge the illegal search of a phone.

This issue came up in the case of Commonwealth v. Delgado-Rivera.  This case is on appeal from Superior Court allowing a Motion to Suppress on behalf of Mr. Jorge Delgado-Rivera. The issue in this case is whether the trial court erred in ruling that Mr. Delgado-Rivera has standing to challenge a warrantless search of a Co-Defendant’s cellphone on the grounds that Mr. Delgado-Rivera had sent the Co-Defendant text messages.  Standing means does a person have a right to have the court hear their claim that their 4th Amendment rights were violated.  Simply put, this means did the person have a expectation of privacy that society deems reasonable.  This case is very important as more and more information is shared over technology.

Contact Information