Bloomberg Law’s® extensive network of reporters and editors helps subscribers to stay ahead of legal
Law enforcement analyzing cell tower data should be introduced as an expert witness and have its work determined by a court to be scientifically sound before admitting the information as evidence, the Connecticut Supreme Court found ( State v. Edwards , 2017 BL 103410, Conn., No. SC 19735, 4/11/17 ).
The average juror doesn’t understand cell phone data, the court said in its majority opinion to be released April 11.
That’s why officers testifying about the likely locations of defendants based on which towers their cell phones contacted during a crime should be reviewed as expert testimony, the opinion said.
Two cases played an important role in the state Supreme Court’s decision finding that the trial court improperly admitted cell phone tower evidence in the case of a man convicted of multiple charges relating to a home invasion.
At trial, the court conducted a hearing to ensure that the data analysis the officer used in this case was sound under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals instead of State v. Porter.
Daubert sets the national standard for determining whether scientific evidence is sound, but Porter provides a specific list of factors for Connecticut judges to consider when conducting a Daubert analysis. In other words, Connecticut judges must take specific steps in deciding the reliability and relevance of scientific evidence before admitting it.
Defendant Eugene Edwards Jr. was convicted of home invasion, robbery, assaulting an elderly person and larceny. The victim, a woman, was robbed in her attached garage after Edwards followed her home from a grocery store.
Despite the error in admitting the cell tower evidence, the court found it harmless in light of other overwhelming evidence, including fingerprints left on the woman’s car door that matched Edwards.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jessica DaSilva in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Reilly Larson at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)