On July 31, 2015, Quartavious Davis petitioned for certiorari in Davis v. United States, No. 15-146, asking (1) whether the acquisition of a cell phone user’s location data from his cellular service provider constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment and (2) if it is a search, whether the search requires a warrant.
In previous posts, we explained how a number of courts have considered whether the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access cell phone geographic location information. In May of this year, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that Mr. Davis had no reasonable expectation of privacy in his cell phone location records and, even if there were such an expectation, a warrantless search was still reasonable.
The Supreme Court denied Mr. Davis’s petition on November 9, 2015, but it remains an important issue. As noted in the Brief of Amici Curiae Electronic Frontier Foundation, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Center for Democracy & Technology, The Constitution Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cell phones and cell sites in the last 20 years. Additionally, the number of law enforcement requests for location information is increasing, and Courts continue to be faced with resolving whether a warrant is required.