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Bank Robbery Suspect Wants NSA Phone Records to Prove His Innocence

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User Info: NoName999

4 years ago#1
When federal officials recently confirmed the existence of a massive National Security Agency program that has been collecting Americans' phone data for years, they argued it was needed to fight terrorism.

But that acknowledgment has opened potentially seismic rifts in the nation's legal system, allowing defendants to argue that the government is holding a massive trove of evidence that is necessary to their cases — the same kind of evidence that, when it's collected by police, is commonly turned over to defendants.

As a result, one south Florida case has become a surprise center of focus in the debate over secret government surveillance. It may prompt a midtrial showdown with the federal government that would be closely watched by privacy advocates and national security officials alike.

"This falls into the category of 'you have to be careful of what you ask for,'" Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said of the NSA's phone-monitoring program. "The government asked for complete storage of data for all citizens, and they got it. Now they're in possession of a unique resource of information."

Since the end of May, Terrance Brown has been on trial on suspicion of masterminding a Brinks armored-truck robbery in Florida that left a man dead in October 2010.

About a week into the trial, the Guardian newspaper published a top-secret order showing the U.S. government forced wireless provider Verizon to hand over phone records and metadata on millions of customers daily. Official acknowledgment of a broader program shortly followed.

The disclosure riled privacy advocates, who pointed out that such records can typically show where someone has been and with whom they've spoken. Brown's attorney had a different perspective.

Phone data has long been used in court to show what defendants were doing — and where they were — at the time of a crime. In Brown's case, the FBI used phone data to compile maps that show that least one of Brown's codefendants had apparently made calls in the same multi-block area where a series of robberies related to the case were committed.

Investigators weren't able to find all of the relevant data for Brown's phones, because his carrier apparently didn't keep records covering the entire span of the crimes.

On Sunday, after federal officials acknowledged the NSA trove, Brown's attorney, Marshall Dore Louis, filed a midtrial motion asking the NSA to turn over Brown's phone records.

"The records are material and favorable to Mr. Brown's defense," Louis wrote, adding that the request was "not intended as a general fishing expedition."

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum asked the Justice Department to file a response by Wednesday so that she could decide on Brown's request. (Her deadline was later extended to next Wednesday.)

Rosenbaum added that she would review the legality of any NSA data gathered on Brown as part of the surveillance dragnet affecting the nation's phone users.,0,2282361.story

On one hand, if the government is gonna spy on everyone, might as well ask for that info.

On the other hand, this could pave way for the prosecutors to use those phone calls
"This grass feels funny," Kirby thought. It feels like.... pants

User Info: Anarchy_Juiblex

4 years ago#2
On the other hand, this could pave way for the prosecutors to use those phone calls

Not without a warrant.

User Info: DJStrong

4 years ago#3
This will certainly be something to keep an eye on.

Also of course i didn't see this, it was to early!
"On the contrary my friend, we're going to live!"

User Info: Vdashone

4 years ago#4
Haha, this is excellent. We need more of this.
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