Another court tells police: Want to use a stingray? Get a warrant
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that the warrantless use of a cell-site simulator violated the Constitution when a man suspected of sexual assault and robbery was located by local police.
In a 2-1 opinion issued Thursday, the DC Court of Appeals—effectively the equivalent of a state supreme court—agreed with the lower court's ruling that the use of the device, also known as a stingray, was unconstitutional. In addition, however, the judges went further: they found that the violation was so egregious that any evidence derived from the stingray should be excluded from the case, which overturned the conviction.
The case, Prince Jones v. United States, joins a recent string of judgements from around the country that concluded that stingrays are a "search" under the Fourth Amendment. That means they require a warrant, barring exigent circumstances or other known exceptions.