United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN
WALTON JUDGE United States District Court
matter is before the Court on a Motion in Limine to
exclude any expert evidence concerning cellphone towers,
dumping, pinging, or triangulation, filed by Defendants
Lawrence Dusean Adkinson (“Adkinson”) and Jeffrey
Antione Kemp (collectively, “Defendants”).
(Filing No. 290.) Defendants requested a hearing to
determine the admissibility of any cellphone dumping,
triangulation and pinging evidence pursuant to Rule 703 of
the Federal Rules of Evidence and Daubert vs. Merrell Dow
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). On
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the Court held a Daubert
hearing on the issues raised in the motion in
limine, and, for the following reasons, the
Defendants' Motion in Limine is denied.
FINDINGS OF FACT
27, 2015, a T-Mobile retail store in Clarksville, Indiana was
robbed by four Black males. Initially, two of the robbers
entered the T-Mobile store posing as customers. Once the
store was clear, the two robbers pulled out handguns and
ordered the employees away from the counter and onto the
floor inside the office. After receiving a cellphone call
from one of the robbers within the store, two additional
robbers entered the T-Mobile store and locked the doors.
During the robbery, an employee overheard one of the robbers
speaking into his cellphone stating they were “ready to
go”. The four males then exited the store through the
emergency exit located in the rear of the store.
28, 2015, a Verizon Wireless store in Lexington, Kentucky was
robbed under similar circumstances as the Clarksville,
Indiana T-Mobile store. Thereafter, from July 2015 through
September 2015, several other retail cellphone stores
throughout the Midwest area, were robbed in a similar
of T-Mobile's Loss Prevention standard procedures,
whenever a T-Mobile retail location, T-Mobile Premium
Retailer, or a Metro PCS location reports a burglary or
robbery, the Loss Prevention Investigations Team will pull
‘tower dumps' of all calls that were made on any
T-Mobile tower in a small radius and time frame of the
location. (Filing No. 320 at 5.) In addition, if
information is received from other wireless companies about
similar incidences, T-Mobile will also pull tower dumps of
those events to aid in their investigation. Id. at
5-6. This data is analyzed by the loss prevention team to
find any links/connections between each incident.
Id. at 6. Based on its loss prevention policy,
T-Mobile initiated a tower connection data dump for the
Clarksville store robbery, as well as a tower connection data
dump of the T-Mobile tower servicing the Verizon Wireless in
Lexington. From the data dump, T-Mobile learned that a
T-Mobile account with the cellphone number (708) 543-7900 was
near both tower locations at the time of the robberies.
Special Agent Ronald A. Hornback, Jr. (“Agent
Hornback”), Detective Nate Walls of the Clarksville
Police Department (“Detective Walls”), and
T-Mobile's Loss Prevention investigator, Scott Wohl
(“Wohl”) conducted a conference call in which the
loss prevention investigators informed Agent Hornback and
Detective Walls that they had initiated a tower connection
data dump of the T-Mobile tower servicing its store in
Clarksville and the Verizon Store in Lexington, and the
T-Mobile account with phone number (708) 543-7900 was near
both tower locations during the commission of the robberies.
(Filing No. 320 at 4, Filing No. 320-2 at
5). Wohl further stated that he determined the account
associated with the number (708) 543-7900 was previously
associated with a pre-paid T-Mobile account in the name of
Lawrence Adkinson, however on July 7, 2015, Adkinson
authorized the number (708) 543-7900 to be switched to a new
subscriber, named Darcell Jones. Wohl also indicated that he
located pictures of Adkinson via social media and the
pictures were consistent with one of the robbers depicted in
the Lexington robbery surveillance video.
weeks later, on August 23, 2015, Wohl contacted Agent
Hornback regarding the robbery of another T-Mobile store
located in St. Louis, Missouri. Wohl explained that the (708)
543-7900 T-Mobile account cellphone number was near the store
at the time of the robbery. Three days later, on August 26,
2015, Wohl again contacted Agent Hornback stating there was
another armed robbery of a T-Mobile located in DeKalb,
Illinois, which he believed was related to the previous three
robberies because the (708) 543-7900 cellphone number was in
the area at the time of the robbery.
September 3, 2015, the Government applied for and obtained an
order, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2703, to retrieve
historical records for cellphone number (708) 543-7900,
including call records and tower connection data. The
historical connection data revealed that the (708) 543-7900
cellphone number was connected to cell towers near the time
of other robberies across Illinois and in Hammond, Indiana.
The Government then sought a precision location warrant for
cellphone number (708) 543-7900. While drafting the
application for a precision warrant, Wohl informed Agent
Hornback that (708) 543-7900 was no longer active, but the
equipment previously associated with cellphone number (708)
543-7900 was now utilizing the number (708) 262-6900. Based
on this information, United States Magistrate Judge Van T.
Willis issued a precision location warrant for cellphone
number (708) 262-6900 on September 11, 2015 and T-Mobile was
served with the warrant.
Defendants were charged with Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit
Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), Count 2:
Conspiracy to Brandish a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of
Violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(o), Count 3:
Robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), and Count
4: Brandishing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of
Violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). (Filing
No. 48.) This matter is set for trial by jury on August
filed a motion in limine challenging the
admissibility of evidence concerning cellphone towers,
dumping, pinging, or triangulation evidence and the testimony
of any expert witness on this subject matter. In response,
the Government asserts that admission of historical cell site
connection data concerning cellphone tower, dumping, pinging
and triangulation evidence is wholly supported by
Daubert and case law within the Seventh Circuit.
(Filing No. 332.) Thereafter, the Court scheduled a
Daubert hearing. On April 7, 2017, the Government
filed a notice of expert disclosure, (Filing No.
368), which provided disclosure of its cellular
connection data expert witness and his proposed testimony.
The Daubert hearing was held on June 14, 2017.
Motion in Limine
Court excludes evidence on a motion in limine only if the
evidence clearly is not admissible for any purpose. See
Hawthorne Partners v. AT&T Technologies, Inc., 831
F.Supp. 1398, 1400 (N.D. Ill. 1993). Unless evidence meets
this exacting standard, evidentiary rulings must be deferred
until trial so questions of foundation, relevancy, and
prejudice may be resolved in context. Id. at
1400-01. Moreover, denial of a motion in limine does
not necessarily mean that all evidence contemplated by the
motion is ...