High Court: Police Tracking of Suspect Via GPS Requires Warrant


Last November, we discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s oral argument in United States v. Jones, which posed the question of whether police need to obtain a warrant before attaching a GPS device to a suspect’s vehicle during a criminal investigation.

We noted that in this case, 21st-century technology had come face to face with the constitutional requirements of the Fourth Amendment. We were hoping that the high court would uphold the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and hold that this action is a search that requires a warrant, but we took a pass on predicting what the Court would actually do.

On January 23, 2012, the Court decided the case – unanimously against the government and in favor of defendant Antoine Jones. The decision is fairly gratifying for those of us who believe it desirable to curb prosecutors’ power by imposing restrictions upon it, including, where appropriate, the requirement of a judge-issued warrant.

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