Find My iPhone Signal = Reasonable Suspicion for Police Investigatory Stop

4th Amendment
1

find-my-iphone-ios-app-100610988-large

The Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled on April 6, 2016 that a location signal from a robbery victim’s stolen iPhone provided the requisite “reasonable suspicion” to permit the police to make an investigatory stop of the suspects.  The court ruled that the evidence was properly admitted and the conviction was affirmed.  The case is Danson Exantus-Barr v. State of Florida.

The victim was walking home late at night in West Palm Beach when he was accosted by two men who stole his iPhone 4.  They fled south.  The victim called the police, reported a description of the two men, and gave the 911 operator his username and password to track his iPhone.  According to the opinion, “the victim explained that he had an app on his phone, Find My iPhone, that worked essentially as a GPS tracker for his phone.”

Within five minutes, an officer arrived and issued a BOLO alert with the description of the men and the direction they ran.  A second officer used his own iPhone to track the victim’s phone through the app.  At some point, the second officer saw three people outside of a building where the app indicated that the phone was located.  Two matched the description of the BOLO.  No one else was around.  Upon trying to flee in a car, the officer approached, told them to stop, and found evidence to arrest.

The court stated that an investigatory stop was proper when it was based on specific and articulable facts that point to a reasonable, well-founded suspicion that a person committed a crime.  According to the opinion, the defendant argued that the second officer’s actions were comparable to acting on a hunch.  The court concluded that the totality of the circumstances — reported crime, description of men, direction, phone signal, no one else was around, and the men in the area matched the BOLO — was sufficient for an investigatory stop.

This MacWorld article explains how to track down an iPhone with Find My iPhone, here.

photo credit: Macworld.uk

Data Breach
Protect the Privacy of Your iOS Devices – Palm Beach Bar Association July 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court recently noted, in Carpenter v. US, that Americans “compulsively carry cell phones with them at all times.” For those with iPhones and iPads, have you spent time in Settings protecting your private information? This article from the Palm Beach Bar Association Bulletin, explains ten different ways …

4th Amendment
US Supreme Court Touches on Social Media (Facebook) Discovery in Collins v. Virginia (2018)

On May 29, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a case involving a Fourth Amendment search of a motorcycle parked on the curtilage of a home.  In Collins v. Virginia (8-1), SCOTUS held that a motorcycle parked in an enclosed area of a driveway was within the curtilage of the …

4th Amendment
Yes, Florida Police Check UPS Packages for Drug Shipments

In the recent case of James Johns, III v. State of Florida, the Second District explains the basics of 4th Amendment “Terry stops” while also illuminating the techniques that Florida police use to catch drug shipments sent via UPS (and presumably other carriers). The court sets the scene this way: …