United States v. Elmore, No. 16-10109 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
After Antonio Gilton was charged with four counts related to the murder of Calvin Sneed, Gilton moved to suppress his historical cell-site location information. The district court granted the motion to suppress, concluding that the warrant was so deficient in indicia of probable cause that no officer could have relied on the warrant in good faith.
The Ninth Circuit agreed with the district court that the warrant authorizing the seizure of Gilton's location data was not supported by probable cause, but held that the deficiencies were not so stark as to render the officers' reliance on the warrant "entirely unreasonable." In this case, although the warrant was not supported by probable cause, the officers relied on good faith on the warrant they obtained. In light of the prevailing belief in 2012 that CSLI data was not protected by the Fourth Amendment, the panel held that there was no "willful" or "grossly negligent" error here where the officers nevertheless took the precautionary step of seeking a warrant and provided ample factual background by which the magistrate could reach his own determination of the existence of probable cause. Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's judgment.