Supreme Court says search warrants needed when police use GPS devices to track suspects


Placement of the GPS tracking device on the Jeep violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against ‘unreasonable search and seizure’

AP/Washington Post
January 23, 2012

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.

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