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Is Access to Cell Phone Data Without a Warrant a Violation of the Fourth Amendment?

Is Access to Cell Phone Data Without a Warrant a Violation of the Fourth Amendment?

Technology advances so quickly that the courts have little hope of keeping up. Cases involving new technologies take years to make their way to the high court. During that time period, lower courts are often bound by precedents related to already outmoded technologies. A sort of legal limbo occurs, where litigants, lawyers, and the public remain uncertain about the law.


Though law enforcement and prosecutors have been using cellphone evidence for two decades, the Supreme Court has yet to make a definitive ruling on the constitutionality of warrantless access to a defendant’s cellphone data. The question will finally be decided later this year, when the supreme court issues its ruling on Carpenter v. United States. The court’s ruling will decide whether Carpenter’s fourth amendment rights were violated when the FBI obtained his cellphone records without a warrant and used them as evidence against him.


The Carpenter Case


In April, 2011, Carpenter was arrested for robbery, along with three other men. One of the other suspects confessed and provided the FBI with the phone numbers of the other suspects, including Carpenter’s. The FBI applied for and received a magistrate’s order for Carpenter’s cellphone’s transactional records, which show his calls and the locations and times he made them. Based partially on this evidence, Carpenter was convicted of robbery.


He appealed, and the sixth circuit federal court affirmed his conviction. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in his case and, as of June 4th, 2018, he is awaiting the decision.


The case’s impact


The Carpenter case is widely expected to provide the definitive answer to whether law enforcement must obtain a warrant for cellphone data. In Carpenter’s case, he argues that the magistrate’s order was not enough to meet constitutional requirements. His lawyers believe that the fourth amendment, when it states citizens have the right to privacy in their personal effects, includes cellphone data.


Courts have a history of looking backwards for guidance in technology-related cases, which often results in the court basing its decision on an analogy. For example, a tablet could be compared to a notebook in terms of determining if the data on the tablet constituted protected data. The court now will struggle to determine how the framers of the constitution would view the seizure of Carpenter’s phone records.


Legal experts anxiously await the decision. Many courts, as seen from the Carpenter case, lean toward law-enforcement’s view that the constitution provides no protection for cellphone records. When the court rules, a definitive standard will apply across the U.S.


Does Ethics Have a Place In Law?

Does Ethics Have a Place In Law?

Ethics are defined as the moral principles that help govern a person’s behavior or the conduction of a certain activity. Since the dawning of civilization, laws have been used as a beacon of order in society. This goes as far back as the Code of Hammurabi, a preserved Babylonian code of law used in ancient Mesopotamia. Since then, a long-standing debate has remained the world of law. Do ethics have a place in it?

Rules are used to maintain minimal civil standards in society and they tell us what our punishment will be if we do not adhere to those edicts. They do not inform us of whether or not that is what an ethical person would do. The rule of law is grounded in principles of fairness, equality, and justice. In many scenarios, judges and lawyers have to practice proper behavior in order to maintain these characteristics. If these guidelines aren’t followed, then the rule of law will begin to unfold while public unrest would be on the rise.

The law profession can lead to many conflicts of interest because there are situations where the rule of law may go against one’s ethical beliefs. Just like health professionals are not allowed to discriminate or treat others unfairly, the lawyers have an obligation to ensure that there is no internal conflict between his beliefs and what the law states. These conflicts of interest have the capacity to exacerbate over time and can lead to serious legal proceedings, such as negligence or breach of trust.

In addition to this, there also arises the issue of potential confidentiality issues and whether or not the lawyer is double minded. There is an inherent duty within those who practice law to exhibit a level of trust that the client can rely upon. This issue of trust gets further exacerbated if the lawyer has nefarious means to what decisions he chooses to make. Whether it be intentionally misleading the court or other forms of manipulation, ethical dilemmas typically arise because there is a gross lack of transparency.

Discussing the role of ethics in law ultimately remains fruitless if the honorable nature of the law profession isn’t the initial point of concern. As the topic continues to gain traction, it is important the integrity isn’t compromised.


5 Employee Rights you Should Know About

5 Employee Rights you Should Know About

5 Employee Rights you Should Know About

Businesses owners and managers need to pay attention to their employees. Although your work to create a healthy, productive work environment matters, you can hurt yourself if you ignore the legal and regulatory requirements that affect your firm as an employer.

Failure to discover and fulfill your obligations can result in civil and legal penalties that can negatively impact your ability to do business. The following five employee rights will remind you of some of your basic responsibilities as an employer.


Although employers have a right to monitor employees as they do their work, your employees still have a right to privacy regarding their personal possessions. These rights extend to handbags, briefcases, and lockers. They also apply to mail that is personally addressed to employees.

Also, you should be aware that employees may have privacy regarding their telephone calls and voicemail messages. However, practically no protections exist for the way employees use your business’ computers, network and internet connection.

Fair compensation

Labor laws require that you must pay your employees in a fair and equitable way that at least approximates industry norms. However, you must pay employees within your organization similar wages if they do similar work. If you follow this guideline, you will protect yourself from allegations of gender, age, and race-based discrimination.

Hiring practices

Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating in the hiring of workers based on their race, religion, sex or nationality. Some laws may also forbid you from discriminating based on sexual preferences. Generally speaking, you should hire based on the knowledge, skills and other capabilities of an applicant.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits your firm from discriminating against qualified candidates with certain disabilities. Also, “reasonable accommodation” rules mean that you must take reasonable measures to ensure that disabled team members have equal access to your facility and work areas.

Age Discrimination

Laws prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants and employees who are more than 40 years old. However, these rules don’t work in reverse, so you can favor older employees over younger ones.

You’ve just reviewed five important rights that employees have. Now, it’s up to you to take the next step and learn more about employment law and the federal, state, and local regulations that affect your business.


Abogado Aly Civil Law:

Civil Law consists a group of laws that govern disputes between individuals in such areas as contracts, property, and family law. Civil Law is anything that is not criminal or public law. There are breach of contract cases where one makes a deal, signs a contract and does not follow the contract obligations that were laid out. There are consumer rights cases where you are protected as a consumer from businesses trying to take advantage of you. Lastly, there are construction law cases with lien matters, landlord-tenant matters and more.

At the offices of Abogado Aly, each attorney has their own specialization; however, they meet everyday to ensure that each case is handled by a group of professionals with varying specializations so that all attorneys at this office can look at each case from multiple angles. Adriana Rodriguez’s specialization is in Civil Law, and the aim of this blog is to inform readers on Civil Law in the news today.

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The attorneys at Abogado Aly, PLLC come with the greatest care and compassion for their clients. Adriana Rodriguez is no stranger to that. As a native Houstonian, she was raised in Houston’s own East End District. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and obtained her Bachelors Degree in Government. After graduating, Ms. Rodriguez attended South Texas College Law of Downtown Houston where she obtained her Law Degree. As a young child, Ms. Rodriguez grew up watching friends and family struggle with constant difficulties directly stemming from their legal issues. After witnessing these struggles as a child, she knew that she wanted to become an attorney to help people with their legal troubles. Now an Attorney at the Law Office of Abogado Aly, Ms. Rodriguez wants to help you understand your rights and keep you from being taken advantage from. She primarily deals with issues of family and immigration; however, all of the attorneys and staff at the offices of Abogado Aly assist each other on all of the cases within the office. Ms. Rodriguez understands that family cases can be tricky and difficult, but she is there to find the best possible solution for both parties in this time of need. If a couple gets married in another county but establishes Harris County as their residence in the three months prior to filing the divorce, they can still have Ms. Rodriguez represent them for their divorce cases.
Andrea Rodriguez | Attorney at Abogado Aly Law PLLC