Monday, January 23, 2012

Supreme Court: GPS tracking requires a warrant

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects.

The GPS device helped authorities link Washington, D.C., nightclub owner Antoine Jones to a suburban house used to stash money and drugs. He was sentenced to life in prison before the appeals court overturned the conviction.

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said that the government’s installation of a GPS device, and its use to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search, meaning that a warrant is required.

“By attaching the device to the Jeep” that Jones was using, “officers encroached on a protected area,” Scalia wrote.

All nine justices agreed that the placement of the GPS on the Jeep violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

Scalia wrote the main opinion of three in the case. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor.
Read the rest here.

This is an important blow for civil liberties. And for the second time in the same year we have a rare unanimous decision.


Kelly said...

I am not sure why you would consider that a blow to civil liberties. Making the police get warrants is good for civil liberties, imo. The police shouldn't just be able to do whatever they want just because they *suspect* someone is doing something illegal.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

I think you misread my comment. I used the word 'for' not 'to.'

Kelly said...

My apologies for misreading. That's what I get for commenting before having my coffee.


John (Ad Orientem) said...

I empathize.

Visibilium said...

The Court's ruling means that gumshoeing isn't scalable, unlike warfare.