Compliance Management, Threat Management, Privacy

Oakland PD accused of misleading judge for stingray use

An Oakland, Calif.-based defense attorney is accusing the local police department of deliberately misleading a judge who signed an order used to justify the use of two stingrays in order to locate her client.

The move comes just a few day before the city's Public Safety Committee is expected to formally recommend the City Council adopt proposed legislation which would prohibit law enforcement from making secret, unilateral decisions concerning surveillance equipment including stingrays, according to a city Agenda Report.

Defense Attorney Martha Boersch filed three motions, one of which to suppress all the evidence gathered by the stingray, arguing that the order used to justify the use of the device “did not allow the FBI or OPD to bypass the carriers and independently use a roaming cell-site simulator,” according to court documents filed May 1.

The prosecution argued that a warrant wasn't needed under the exigent circumstances exception, to which the defense challenged.

“If the government intended this order to cover its use of the two Stingrays, it deliberately misled the state court judge by failing to inform him of the technology being used, the materials to be collected, or the nature of the surveillance it was conducting,” Boersch said in the documents. 

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