Baltimore prosecutors withdrew key evidence in a robbery case Monday rather than reveal details of the cellphone tracking technology police used to gather it, says the city’s Sun. The surprise turn in Baltimore Circuit Court came after a defense attorney pressed Detective John L. Haley, a member of a specialized phone tracking unit, to explain how officers had tracked his client. He said officers had not used the controversial device known as a stingray. But when pressed on how phones are tracked, he cited what he called a “nondisclosure agreement” with the FBI.
When Judge Barry G. Williams threatened to hold Haley in contempt if he did not respond, prosecutors decided to withdraw the evidence. The tense exchange during a hearing concerning robbery charges against Shemar Taylor, 16, was the latest confrontation in a growing campaign by defense attorneys and advocates for civil liberties nationwide to get law enforcement to provide details of their phone tracking technology. Law enforcement officials say they are prohibited from discussing the technology at the direction of the federal government, which has argued that knowledge of the devices would jeopardize investigations.