ACLU: Documents Show Effort Of Police And U.S. Marshals To Deceive Courts In Use Of Controversial “Stringrays”

marshals-660x494stingray_500x280_0There is a highly disturbing story out of Florida where the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has uncovered instructions from the U.S. Marshals Service that appear to tell police to actively deceive judges and defendants about the use of the controversial surveillance tool called Stingrays, or IMSI catchers, which simulate a cellphone tower and trick any nearby mobile devices into connecting with them. The federal officials reportedly told police to lie to courts and defendants and say that the suspect’s location came from a “confidential source.”

The ACLU acquired five emails from April, 2009 detailing the deception. The emails are shocking and constitute an open and knowing effort to lie to courts in sworn documents — a crime. In one email, a Sarasota Police Department sergeant flagged that a North Port detective had mistakenly told the truth about the source of information and “specifically outlined the investigative means used to locate the suspect.” The detective was told to “submit a new PCA [probable cause affidavit] and seal the old one.” That would put a false account on the record and seal the truth. The instructions were clearly stated as coming from the U.S. Marshals: “In the past, and at the request of the U.S. Marshalls [sic], the investigative means utilized to locate the suspect have not been revealed so that we may continue to utilize this technology without the knowledge of the criminal element. In reports or depositions we simply refer to the assistance as ‘received information from a confidential source regarding the location of the suspect.’ To date this has not been challenged . . . ” That last part is particularly galling. It suggests that they have succeeded in the deception because no one is the wiser and no challenge has been brought. It is not only a knowing conspiracy to mislead the courts but it is a denial of protection constitutional rights of defendants to use evidence. It is not clear if this effort resulted in any false oral testimony from police on the stand.

The U.S. Marshals Service has not responded to calls for comment.

Average citizens are routinely charged with even the smallest misrepresentations to federal officials or false statements in court or before the grand jury. Here is a paper trail showing an express effort to deceive courts and defendants and file false sworn statements. Yet, there is no indication of a single disciplinary action, let alone a criminal investigation.

Source: Wired

Kudos: Michael Blott

36 thoughts on “ACLU: Documents Show Effort Of Police And U.S. Marshals To Deceive Courts In Use Of Controversial “Stringrays”

  1. When law enforcement decides its ok to lie and judges support them, we are all in trouble. The first time I was in an arraignment hearing with a more experience lawyer, I heard the police officer lie, not just fudge but actually outright lie. The judge clearly knew it, the prosecutor knew it and the defense attorney knew it. The judge took no action against the police officer. Luckily the client was released. I asked my colleague what that was all about he said : that’s Testalying . They all do it. Sometimes about small things and sometimes about really really big things. The reaction of the judge is always the same, a shrug.

  2. Throw out any convictions based off of false testimony or lies. Then charge any officer who gave false testimony with perjury.

  3. Very disturbing news on a variety of levels. I also look forward to seeing how the usual ACLU haters will somehow twist logic to hate the ACLU, but also the Obama Federal Government at the same time.

  4. This could explain those cellphone overage fees. When connecting to a stingray, is it free minutes or is there a fee the cellphone user pays?

  5. The right to lie (U.S. v Alvarez) does not apply when perjury and conspiracy to obstruct justice are involved.

    Like in this case.

  6. Just another blow to our society.

    With this kind of behavior from law enforcement/justice, many citizens are no longer governed by morality – now the issue is whether we think that we can get away with it.

  7. Good point dredd, anyone behind such letters should be subject to prosecution. Where are the DAs prosecuting these people? Surely there has to be some with good morals and ethics.

  8. If true, The Marshals and anyone cooperating with the deception to the courts, should be prosecuted by a special prosecutor.

  9. Now we know why monopolies are bad.
    The government prosecutors have a monopoly on criminal prosecutions, and the conspiratorial actors are immune from civil suit.
    They continue to do it, because they know that neither the judges nor the prosecutors will do anything about it, and the victim defendants are disempowered to do anything about it.
    Sum answer: Hey why not, makes my job a lot easier and there is no penalty.

  10. When the “good guys” can’t be differentiated from the bad guys, do we really have good guys anymore?

    Lying in court and in court documents is beyond the pale. The Marshal(s) that told police to lie should be fired, tried for suborning perjury and official misconduct, and put in prison for life.

  11. I know a retired US Marshall who hated this ploy. Please understand, not all law enforcement are evil, beaters, liars, etc. I first learned of this technology from a homicide detective I know. While the technology is new, the tactic of lying about illegally obtained evidence and saying it came from a CI is very old.

  12. Stingrays = Pandora’s Box: FCC, US law enforcement and yes, criminal hackers….Fun Stuff, who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy?

    The FCC knows about these flaws because they approve local use of “Stingrays” but won’t require phone companies to fix these vulnerabilities because they’re “in on the deal,”
    said Soghoian, which means the flaws will “stick with us for a long time.” Though Harris charges tens of thousands of dollars for the devices, US hackers have demonstrated
    it’s possible to build one for around $1,000. The “age of low cost stingrays are fully on the horizon,” he said.

    Some hackers in Berlin created an “IMSI catcher” using a $20 prepaid phone they modified. It works because Stingrays look like a normal tower to your cell phone but it doesn’t act like one.
    The German hackers designed software that looks for Stingrays’ tell-tale signature.

    Alan Butler, Appellate Advocacy Counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the legal standards for using stingrays are not clear but thinks they have constitutional privacy implications.
    The SCOTUS cases US v Karo and Kyollo v US are the closest to being on point, he said. Both are about revealing personal details in protected spaces. There are also arguably statutory implications,
    he said, in 47 USC Sec 222(f) and 47 USC Sec 1002(a).

  13. It was a stringray device which stole the email conversations of Justice Alitos Clerk which reveals that he is in conivance with the NSA on the cell phone cases before the Court. This will all come out in the Monday Wash– which is a new blog–run by dogs.

  14. Well, they lost putting the tracking devices on cars without a warrant, what do you expect them to do. They have to find criminals somehow. /snarc

  15. Whoa?!?!? A conspiracy? Surely a conspiracy this vast would have had someone come forward and spill the beans.
    There has never been a conspiracy in America…..

    This is some tinfoil hattery….

  16. So let me get this right. If some guy X uses a stingray on my cellphone and it’s detected, then I can use Ransomeware on guy X’s cellphone?

    Once installed, the Trojan “scans” your device and then throws up a screen informing the victim that U.S. law enforcement has detected “prohibited content” on the phone.
    The Trojan then informs the victim that he/she owes a fine of $200 USD, which can be paid using pre-paid MoneyPak cards.

    The Trojan effectively blocks all user interaction with the infected phone. Rebooting the phone has little effect, as the Trojan starts running as soon as the phone is switched on.

  17. How many of you have read the Glenn Greenwald book : No Where To Hide. ?
    Read it and learn. Do not be swayed by the “megadataownedmedia” which holds sway in AmeriKa. That would be all the newspapers and television networks excepting say LinkTv or DogBlog. “MetaData” is the weenie word enshrined by the NSA and by Fox News as meaning No Harm Done– we are only collecting “data” and lots of it so it cannot be private. yeah. Megadataownedmedia is a different term than metadata. The media is the message folks–the only message which you will get on Fox, CNN, CBS, NBC or CIA. Oh, where is the cell phone case today on Scotus? You know, Wurie and Riley. Those are two dog names but they are not dogs but litigants in two important cases involving cell phone, smartphone, laptop, and your private information. Data? yeah. Privacy rights at stake? Yeah. Delay of game because of the Stingray revelations about Alito and the NSA? Yeah.

  18. BarkinDog – the CIA only has jurisdiction outside the US. Obama does not currently have the balls to drone Americans inside the United States. If I were you, I would rethink my position. BTW, the NSA seems to be everywhere. If they can bug Merkel’s phone they can bug you.

  19. Yeah, the CIA only has jurisdiction outside the U.S. And the FBI? The NSA? They all work together with the Koch Brothers, with American corporations, with the RepubliCon Party, with Pepsi Cola. They have Old Lady Feinstein in their pocket or vice versa. Her husband’s pocket.

  20. Obummer is owned by any and all 3 letter agencies meaning his masters begin with the british royal family, then the rocefellers and rothchilds and every other intermarried ubernaire who has stolen their riches from the world

  21. The greater problem is that of the change of definition of the word “honor” from the period it meant that truth was the basis of honor — not just arrest and win-loss records in court. The idea behind public policing was to hire and maintain honorable police forces — and that has been eroded to catch the bad guy — innocent or not while not being caught in bending the process to the breaking point,.

  22. [music]
    And London Bridge has fallen down, and moved to Arizona.
    Oh, I know why.
    Substantiate the rumor that the English sense of humor… is drier than the Texas sand.
    For when your from down south, and open your mouth, you always seem to put your foot there.
    I wanna go home to the armadillo,
    Good country music and amarilla and lima beans
    Its the prettiest women and the horniest hookers you’ve ever seen.


    Which is why, we have climate change.

  23. Al – the London Bridge that was falling down was the Tower Bridge, not the one that was moved to Arizona. BTW, it was falling down because they kept building buildings on it.

  24. “Statute Enforcement Officers” should replace the name “Law Enforcement Officers” – police officers enforce statutes passed by legislatures – their authority begins and ends with statutes.

    They aren’t a special class above the law.

  25. Stingrays: coming to a theatre near you. If you are on wifi then carefully look at the supposed network that you are connected to. If your network is called: Singsong for example then be wary of a second name appearing on the screen with more power strength shown on the little scale there with Singsong1. That is how they entice you. Then they steal all of your information. Anything on your computer. That is not just “data” folks. That could be your bank code, social security number, name rank serial number, last Will and Testament, emails to Ayn Rand, emails to Muslim Brotherhood, letters sent to the abortion clinic, letters sent to JackMehoff. etc

  26. Barking dog,
    I call the CONglomerats…

    Met Greenwald last week on the streets of Seattle. I was so bummed out not getting a ticket in time so I went on the waiting list. He said to email him my contact and he’d get me in. He did. Spoke for an hour and signed books. Many people attending don’t follow details and keep up with current information. I posted a link a month ago, here on Turley’s blog, about the trove of documents contained in his book for any and all to see.

    It is amazing that anyone now, would continue to defend the usurpation of their Rights linked to “Privacy”. Association, meetings/gatherings, warrants, discussions, videos, you name it. You may do “IT” (sic) in the “privacy of your own home” as they say, and still… Not “PRIVATE” enough?

    And, as they say… Only in America.
    Stay safe.

  27. This is outrageous. They are using Stasi tactics. By lying, the police are also corrupting themselves and then who knows what they´ll be willing to do. Really stupid of them to put themselves in that position. This effects them and their families too, not just criminals. That said, my daughter´s i-phone was stolen last week. She´s thinking of not replacing it. She said she´s had the most relaxing 5 days of her life.

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