EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

October 11, 2013

SJC considers if warrants needed in cell records

BOSTON (AP) — Privacy advocates have told the state’s highest court that authorities should be required to get warrants for certain cellphone information that can reveal a person’s whereabouts.

The arguments Thursday before the Supreme Judicial Court stem from a 2011 cold-case murder arrest. Authorities obtained cellphone company records to try to determine where Shabazz Augustine was around the time of the August 2004 killing of Julaine Jules.

But the evidence was suppressed after a Superior Court judge ruled prosecutors conducted a “warrantless search.”

Suffolk County prosecutors appealed. On Thursday, the state argued Augustine hadn’t shown a search occurred and that the information obtained was so general, there was no reasonable expectation of privacy.

But an American Civil Liberties Union attorney said if there’s no warrant, there’s no check on what records the state can obtain in such cases.

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