In a case of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has held that exigent circumstances can justify law enforcement’s access to a defendant’s cellphone “pings,” or GPS location, and call logs—even after failing to obtain a warrant.

The court heard the appeal of Erick Hobbs, who challenged the Maryland district court’s denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained after police collected cellphone location data from his cellular provider without a warrant on the ground of exigent circumstances. The lower court also held that the officers properly used the call logs to “narrow the search area” established with the pings. 

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