Supreme Court Set to Rule on Warrantless GPS Tracking | Rocky

GPS Tracking NewsPublished July 10,2011 at 10:00 am No Comments

The Supreme Court is expected to lay down the law regarding warrantless GPS tracking. Appeals courts all around the country have been hearing cases concerning the legitimacy of the evidenced obtained with GPS devices. Mixed rulings have created murky legal waters. In some cases,evidence gathered from a GPS device without a warrant was thrown out,while other courts ruled that the evidence obtained the same way was legal.

“Unless this court intervenes,the court of appeals’ decision will curtail law enforcement’s ability to use this important investigatory tool,” Solicitor General Donald Verrilli included in a brief to the court.

“Federal law enforcement agencies frequently use tracking devices to follow leads and tips before suspicions have ripened into probable cause and without a clear idea of how long it will take to gather useful information,” added Verrilli.

He further makes his case by noting that FBI agents used GPS tracking technology to follow a terrorist suspect,Najibullah Zazi,driving from Denver to New York City,a 1,800 mile distance.

The heart of the issue is every citizen’s right to privacy,and the right to be assumed innocent until proven guilty. There is no doubt that GPS tracking can help gather incriminating evidence,and bring outlaws to justice.

No one is claiming that the technology shouldn’t be used. In fact,the officers in the appeals case referenced by Donald Verrilli,had obtained a warrant to use GPS tracking.

The warrant had set limits and specifications that the officers did not heed. It comes down to who gets to decide whether or not GPS surveillance is warranted. In cases of wire-tapping,a similar evidence gathering aide,law enforcement must obtain a warrant from a judge. Some time during the next term,from October 2011 through June 2012,the Supreme Court judges will clear the muddy waters,and define what legal GPS tracking is.

Article Written by Marisa O’Connor

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