United States v. Curtis, No. 17-1833 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Curtis led a crew that robbed cell-phone stores in suburban Chicago. He was arrested after the last of the heists and stood trial for four counts of robbery, four counts of aiding in the brandishing of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, a count for conspiracy, and a count for being a felon in possession of a firearm. A jury convicted him on all counts except one for robbery and one for aiding in the brandishing of a firearm-- each related to a robbery of a store in Joliet. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that the district court should have excluded evidence of cell-site location information, which Curtis alleges was obtained under the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. 2703, in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and that the district court prohibited him from cross-examining witnesses about a potential source of bias, violating the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause. Although it is now established that the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant for the type of cell-phone data present here, exclusion of that information was not required because it was collected in good faith. Because Curtis made his desired arguments and impeached his co-conspirators, any error in denying the cross-examination was harmless.