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The Champion

July and August 2011 , Page 10 

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By Ivan J. Dominguez; Jack King

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Warrantless GPS Surveillance Case

By Ivan J. Dominguez and Jack King

On June 27, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the Obama administration’s appeal of United States v. Jones, a federal court decision holding that the government’s use of a global positioning satellite tracking device on a defendant’s vehicle for a month was a search that required a warrant.

In 2005, police investigating alleged drug activity secured a warrant, valid for 10 days, from a federal judge who authorized the attachment in the District of Columbia of a GPS device to a vehicle then being used by defendant Antoine Jones. Law enforcement then used the GPS device to record Jones’s movements around-the-clock for four weeks — but never went back to court to ask for more time. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, held that was an unreasonable search, distinguishing the pre-GPS law relied upon by the government.

“First, unlike one’

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  • Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or idominguez@nacdl.org
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