U.S. Supreme Court Rules GPS Monitoring of Vehicle Constitutes a Search

In a win for criminal defendants, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled today that the government’s installation of a GPS device on someone’s vehicle, and the use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search.  This case outlines the extent the courts will allow law enforcement to go in order to make arrests.

In this case, U.S. v. Jones, the police tracked the suspect by placing a GPS device underneath his vehicle (without his consent and without a valid search warrant) while it was parked in a public parking lot.  The police then tracked the suspect’s movements for the next 28 days. Using information conveyed from the GPS device, the suspect was arrested on drug charges.

In ruling, the Court explained:

It is important to be clear about what occurred in this case: The Government physically occupied private property for the purpose of obtaining information. We have no doubt that such a physical intrusion would have been considered a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it was adopted.

The opinion was written by J. Scalia.  For the full opinion, go here.

~At Matthews Law Firm, P.A., we practice criminal defense & health law. Offices in Bartow, Florida~

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