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ShotSpotter Official Refuses to Release Documents in Criminal Case

ShotSpotter is a technology that aims at reporting gunshots to police officers (Was ShotSpotter involved in the death of Adam Toledo?) However, the technology has been manipulated by ShotSpotter employees to help cops leverage probable cause in cases where they would not otherwise have it. In fact, this constitutes a fraud on the public, the defendant, the court, and society at large. Rather than release documents during a trial, a ShotSpotter spokesperson took the unusual measure of asking the court to hold the company in contempt rather than release documents that would show that the company perpetrated a fraud against the citizens of Chicago. 

What is ShotSpotter and How Does it Work?

Ostensibly, ShotSpotter technology places audio devices around the city which then trigger alarms if they hear a noise that is loud, like a gunshot. The report could give police probable cause to stop individuals in the area. However, evidence has shown that shot spotter employees manipulated reports ex post facto to establish that a gunshot came from a specific location in order to give police probable cause to initiate detentions. 

ShotSpotter Catches Nefarious Criminal in DUI

These facts culminated in a case in which a driver was pulled over for DUI. No, the driver was not firing a weapon at the time he was pulled over. Police reported that they heard a gunshot in the area and used that as probable cause to pull over a car. The driver may or may not have been inebriated at the time of the detention. However, he was charged with DUI. Now, the question becomes: Can the police use ShotSpotter to initiate a DUI arrest? Well, they can use ShotSpotter to search a vehicle and if the driver is visibly intoxicated, they can arrest them for DUI.

Nonetheless, ShotSpotter is at the center of a probable cause hearing in which the arresting officer claims that a ShotSpotter report led him to pull over vehicles in a general area. The officer then found an intoxicated driver and arrested him for DUI. The driver’s criminal defense attorney demanded that ShotSpotter turn over records related to a gunshot report in the area, but rather than disclose those documents, ShotSpotter chose to be held in contempt of court.

Why would ShotSpotter rather be held in contempt than turn over the documents? Well, there could be evidence that ShotSpotter did not report a gunshot from that location at all and instead, arranged to report a gunshot so that the officer could argue that he had probable cause to pull over the vehicle. 

Problematically, ShotSpotter can pick up fireworks or other noises that sound like gunshots. Analysts are employed to make decisions on whether or not a sound was a gunshot or something else. Sometimes, these decisions are made several months after the actual incident. Herein lies the problem. If probable cause becomes an issue, then a fabricated or repurposed ShotSpotter report allows police to circumvent the probable cause requirement to initiate a stop.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If ShotSpotter played a role in your arrest, then you may have a strong argument as to why the arrest was illegal. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense immediately. 

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