Supreme Court to decide legal limits of GPS use on suspects’ cars

Several years ago, a Maryland man had his vehicle parked in a Maryland parking lot. News sources don’t indicate where the man was at the time when his car was parked, but think about when you usually park your car. You probably pull into the lot, stow away anything that might be valuable, get out, lock the car and then walk away.

In that walk away from your car, you likely assume that the car will go untouched until your return. In the case of the above mentioned-man, he was a drug crime suspect. It was reportedly early on in an investigation when authorities went to the suspect’s parked car and put a GPS device on it.

According to sources, the Maryland suspect was being investigated in relation to the trafficking of large quantities of cocaine from Mexico. The investigation into the supposed drug crimes included a month worth of GPS-accumulated information. The data helped authorities come up with a case against the suspect and get him charged for allegedly leading a drug ring from 2003-2005.

Defense attorneys have challenged the charges, bringing into question the ethics of authorities using GPS devices on suspects. Critics of the investigative strategy argue that people should reasonably be able to expect a level of privacy in their vehicles. The Supreme Court is soon to examine the important issue, as the justices have to determine how officials’ GPS use fits into the Constitutional scope of the Fourth Amendment.

We will follow this important, national issue and post an update when there are new developments.


All Headline News: “Supreme Court to decide limits on police use of GPS tracking,” Tom Ramstack, Sep. 14, 2011

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