Despite the circumstances that sent Timothy Carpenter to prison, he is going to be recognized in public for the Supreme Court case which carries his name.
The case Carpenter v. the U.S. established a new norm of privacy for today’s society. Namely, the police force is required to acquire a warrant prior to obtaining mobile phone location information from a cellphone company.
Fighters for privacy were thrilled with the verdict due to the potential increase in the protection of personal information.
Regardless of the Fourth Amendment, which protects us from the government prying into our personal lives, it will not be of use to Carpenter. Not long ago, a federal appeals court sentenced Timothy Carpenter to life imprisonment even after his triumph at the Supreme Court.
Carpenter was found guilty on a number of federal offenses, such as burglary and gun-related charges. However, the prosecutors came up with the 116-year imprisonment using cell-location, and afterward, the Supreme Court stated that that information was obtained illegally.
Consequently, any other type of criminal case ruled by the Supreme Court that might result in a reversed verdict, a new possibility to prove someone’s innocence, or victorious disputes against government pursuits is to be inspected suppression of marred evidence from now on. According to the exclusionary rule, evidence that is secured by violating the Constitution cannot be used on trial.
As it turns out, the government used cellphone tracking technology to track his every move for 129 days and exploited that information on trial to link him to burglaries in Ohio and Michigan. Later on, the Supreme Court determined that gathering this information without obtaining a warrant violated Carpenter’s right under the Fourth Amendment.
In essence, this should have been a victory for Timothy Carpenter since the evidence had been unlawfully procured. Unfortunately for the accused, the Federal Court stated that the Supreme Court’s ruling didn’t matter after all.
Earlier this week, the Appeals Court admitted that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when federal agents looked and gathered, without a warrant, Carpenter’s location information. The court asserted that the agents took measures that were in “good faith,” thus, any information they obtained could be used at trial.
Nathan Wessler, a member of the ACLU who represented Mr. Carpenter and won his case in the Supreme Court, asserted via email that this ruling was wrongdoing towards his client. He pointed out that nowadays when our personal information is offered on a platter to the police, it is vital to have a remedy for such violations.
An expert for the Fourth Amendment, Orin Kerr, who has failed in his endeavor to challenge the good-faith exception in the Supreme Court concluded that broadening Fourth Amendment protections for everyone at the price of relief for individuals like Carpenter might be the deal which could be good in the name of justice. Additionally, Kerr pointed out that the Supreme Court was supposed to decide people’s cases, and not only to put in laws order for people.
However, Georgia is the state where there is no good-faith exception to the Fourth Amendment. Wessler concluded that the development of the rule might be affected in the long run, while lower courts pardon violations and refuse to broaden privacy rights. While the rules are going in the direction towards better protection of privacy rights, Timothy Carpenter will be recognized by name and his prison sentence.