United States v. Rosario, No. 20-2330 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
On December 5, 2013, individuals burglarized a closed Ann Arbor, Michigan, store, taking 24 firearms and other goods. Officers discovered that a caller, using the *67 code, had placed multiple calls to the store after it closed. Under the Stored Communications Act, officers can obtain cell‐site location information by voluntary disclosure, or “exigent request,” 18 U.S.C. 2702(c), or by court order, section 2703(d). The officers made an exigent request to Comcast, the store’s telephone service provider. After Comcast voluntarily disclosed the caller's number, officers determined that Sprint was that caller’s provider and made another exigent request. Sprint voluntarily provided cell‐site location information, which indicated that on December 3-4, the phone had pinged off Illinois cell towers. On December 4, at 11:14 p.m., the phone pinged off of an Ann Arbor tower; it pinged off Ann Arbor towers until 6:37 p.m. on December 5, then returned to Illinois. Officers discovered that the phone number had been provided to a hotel under Rosario’s name, then obtained court orders (2703(d)) to obtain the store’s phone records and the cell‐site location information.
Applying then-law (prior to “Carpenter” (2018)), the court denied Rosario’s motion to suppress, holding that the acquisition of cell‐site location information from third‐party service providers did not constitute a Fourth Amendment search. The Seventh Circuit affirmed Rosario’s convictions for transporting stolen goods in interstate commerce and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Officers relied on section 2702(c)(4) in good faith; their emergency request form stated that “the number of stolen handguns, pose[d] a significant community risk.” The inevitable discovery doctrine also supported the district court’s decision.