Bold Move: Lawyer Demands Phone Records from NSA to Prove Client’s Innocence

    June 13, 2013
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

This is either the most brilliantly executed defensive move I’ve heard about in quite some time, or possibly the most ill-conceived air-grab since my buddy asked to read his wife’s texts “to prove she’s getting them ok.” Only time will tell.

Another question to remand to the future historians – what’s the deal with the NSA’s recently revealed phone data collection program? Massive invasion of privacy? A necessary, albeit heavy-handed tactic in the ongoing fight against terrorists?

I don’t know. I have opinions, but I don’t know. One thing I do know is that June 12th, 2013 will always be remembered as the day one defense attorney first turned the tables on the NSA’s no-longer-secret surveillance program.

This is beautiful, really. Marshall Dore Louis, attorney for Florida’s Terrance Brown, has decided to use recent revelations to his avantage. “Oh, NSA, I hear you’re spying on all of our phone calls. Well, how bout you let me see what you found so I can prove my client’s innocence”* – or something like that.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Brown is one of five men accused of robbing a series of armored trucks making cash deliveries to banks a few years ago. The prosecution has been using phone records to prove that the men were all nearby when the robberies occurred.

Well, the only problem is that prosecutors have been unable to obtain records for Brown during the period before September, 2010 (when at least one of the robberies took place). You see, Brown’s carrier, MetroPCS, simply doesn’t keep records that far back.

But wait a minute. Louis says he wants those records to exonerate his client by proving he was nowhere near the area of the robbery at Lighthouse Point in July, 2010.

“Who has extensive phone records on American citizens? Aha! The NSA of course! I just heard about that on the news.”**

“The president of the United States has recognized this program has been ongoing since 2006…to gather the phone numbers [and related information] of everybody including my client in 2010,” Louis said.***

He has a point. Imagine if this ploy actually worked. Seriously. Imagine it. Imagine lawyers all over the country asking the NSA to help prove their clients’ innocence.

Imagine the NSA laughing and saying no. That’s a lot easier to imagine, I guess.


* I don’t know what Mr. Louis was thinking. This is what I would have been thinking.
** Once again, I assume he must’ve had this train of thought. Just go with it, please.
*** He really said that – in court on Wednesday.

[Image via gadgetdan, Flickr]
  • Name

    It is actually a valid point. We know the records exist, so why not turn them over.

    Unfortunately, what will happen is the NSA will say no and the guy will end up going to prison. Lots of people get convicted on circumstantial or literally no evidence.

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  • common sense is no longer common

    I love it. This is the kind of tit-for-tat logic that would bring the criminals down if people just had the balls to push it.

  • common sense is no longer common

    And why not? Didn’t the defendant’s tax dollars pay for that surveillance? 😀

  • http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com ron

    They are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t but appeals will go all the way to the top. A three time looser could spend rest of his life in prison a “cruel and unusual punishment” for a crime that he says did not commit and has not been able to prove without evidence he knows and the authorities know exists, should be released if a fair trial not possible as innocent until proven guilty, so we are told.

  • Joshua

    He should serve a Subpoena Duces Tecum. I’d love to see the NSA come to court and explain why they won’t comply. With some judges, merely uttering the stock phrase “National Security” won’t do it.

  • Connie T

    Sounds like readers are assuming the guy is innocent because his lawyer claims he is.
    Surprise, all defendants and their lawyers claim they aren’t guilty.
    The location of someone’s phone doesn’t prove they were with the phone- its not surgically attached you know. You can lend it to family or friends (willing or unwilling), or even leave it somewhere else (intentionally or accidentally).
    The location of someone’s phone may require an explanation, (which may or may be truth), but it doesn’t clear or convict someone by itself.