Law enforcement agencies are now required to obtain a warrant before attaching a GPS device to a vehicle. The Detroit News reports the Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that the Justice Department was wrong when it argued that its agents didn't need permission to track private citizens without their knowledge.

The case in question centered around Antoine Jones, a Washington, D.C. nightclub owner and suspected drug dealer. Police installed a GPS device on Jones' wife's Jeep Grand Cherokee, which eventually led them to a substantial amount of cocaine. Jones was then sentenced to life in prison.

But Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that installing the device constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, Justice Scalia said, "The government physically occupied private property for the purpose of obtaining information."

In the Jones case, law enforcement agents had obtained the proper warrants to attach the device, but didn't manage to attach it within the 10 days specified in the warrant. The FBI accumulated 2,000 pages of data over four weeks by tracking the vehicle.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 53 Comments
      patrialuvien
      • 2 Years Ago
      If only the courts upheld the constitution more often.
        tkosoccer03
        • 2 Years Ago
        @patrialuvien
        ya, can you imagine half of our current laws being swept under the rug? lol... i read an essay a year or two ago in one of my poli-sci classes. it was written by a handful of retired federal judges and they claimed that there are more than 500 federal laws (that they knew of) that are most likely unconstitutional. if was an extremely eye-opening piece. i will have to see if i can find a copy of it to share.
          AMANDA
          • 2 Years Ago
          @tkosoccer03
          yeah and ron paul is the only pres. candidate who even wants to uphold the constitution. i'd be surprised if congress even knows what that document is anymore. everything done in the legislative branch has taken our rights away. why are people getting used to this?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @patrialuvien
        [blocked]
      brgtlm
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now if we can get companies like Onstar to not stalk and track people surreptitiously.
      lawyer4speed
      • 2 Years Ago
      Kinda right, but not exactly. The opinion says (thankfully) that the GPS constitutes a 4th Amend "search." Not every instance of a search needs a warrant, though most do. I don't mean to split hairs, but the distinction is important.
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lawyer4speed
        Although 4 justices opined that there was also a privacy issue, which i (non-lawyer) agree with.
      bleexeo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Duh. Of course it's a violation of the Fourth Amendment and a warrant is needed.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bleexeo
        [blocked]
          • 2 Years Ago
          [blocked]
      KAG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Like it will stop them from doing it anyways.
      tkosoccer03
      • 2 Years Ago
      unless you're suspected of being a terrorist.. then they can do whatever they want.
      Hunter
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought I would remind everyone of recent news published on this site and others. The police and FBI are GPS tracking people other than cocaine dealers. Remember the student who found a GPS tracker on his car and published it online? Then the FBI showed up and asked for it back? Remember that on Autoblog.com? Yup, that was warrantless tracking of a US citizen. Frankly, if one citizen's civil rights are violated to catch 100 criminals, then its a bad deal. This isn't a right-left thing. This is a right-wrong thing. Tracking a citizen without a warrant is illegal and really pretty immoral. Here are the two articles for reference - http://gizmodo.com/5658661/fbi-gets-caught-tracking-mans-car-wants-its-gps-device-back http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/08/report-student-finds-gps-tracker-stuck-to-car-fbi-asks-for-it/
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great news! As a diehard true Constitutional conservative this is the best news of the week. A unanimous vote is unheard of with this crew in SCOTUS, so that goes to show how far police have went to suppress out civil rights. If anybody is against this then they are hopelessly lost to mainstream media. My faith in this country just got restored, even if only a little.
        J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MONTEGOD7SS
        So you are a proponent of a strict interpretation of the original Constitution - including Article I, Section 2? : http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html
      Jeff
      • 2 Years Ago
      +1 (times a billion)
      speedyhen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great decision!!! For all you haters of Obama, if he hadn't stepped into office, GM, Ford and Chrysler would no longer be in existence. He is just cleaning up all of Bush's screw ups (which there is a ton)
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin
      WheelsNeedDeals
      • 2 Years Ago
      I never even knew that this was an issue until I read this. But it needs to work the same way as a house search warrant.
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