Geofence warrants to be tested in Virginia bank robbery case

Geofence warrants to be tested in Virginia bank robbery case
Defense attorneys say the searches unconstitutionally ensnare innocent people and violate the privacy rights of anyone whose cellphone happens to be near a crime scene. (Source: AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A controversial investigative technique is getting its first real legal test in a federal courtroom in Richmond, where a judge is being asked to toss out evidence gathered through a geofence warrant in a Virginia bank robbery.

Unlike traditional warrants that identify a particular suspect, geofence warrants seek location history data from Google on electronic devices used near the scene of a crime.

Police use of these warrants is exploding.

Defense attorneys say the searches unconstitutionally ensnare innocent people and violate the privacy rights of anyone whose cellphone happens to be near a crime scene.

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