Finally admitting to the lies they have been telling all along (Sort of)

The man who headed up the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department “Stingray” admitted in court Friday he and his team members never told judges or prosecutors that they were using the so-called “cell site simulators” – nor did they specifically ask for permission to use one.

Lt. Dan Morrisey testified in a case brought by the Sacramento County Public Defenders Office.

Morrissey said prosecutors and judges were not on the list of people who he was allowed to talk with about Stingray.

“I don’t think that’s the way the FBI wrote that non-disclosure agreement,” Morrissey said. “I think it was that you had to be a sworn peace officer.”

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said the public defenders will have to ask for information on  individual cases.

But public defender David Lynch presented the court with a spreadsheet containing 10,000 potential instances where Stingrays may have been used – saying it would be like searching for a “needle in a haystack.”

“That’s not justice. It’s not practical, and it’s not fair,” Lynch said.

Lt. Morrissey testified that his team always deleted evidence gathered by Stingrays after passing it on to detectives, who further developed criminal investigations. So, he said, there’s no way to track when the Stingray was used.

Lynch specifically questioned Morrissey about why, if he has no record of Stingray usage, was the sheriff previously able to say 500 criminal cases involved Stingray surveillance.

Morrissey said the 500 number was an “estimated guess.”

When Lynch asked what other surveillance devices were used with the Stingray, and how they were used, Morrissey repeated the same answer: “Those are privileged”, or “That’s privileged.”

But the Sheriff’s former Stingray team leader made another admission. He said detectives normally got a “Pen Register” or “Trap and Trace” order to find the general area where suspect’s cell phone’s might be, and then his team rolled out its Stingray.

Most of those orders were signed by Judge Steve White; the same judge who is presiding over this case.

Just for information the officer cited “Privilege” multiple times during his testimony.

Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for February 19th.