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GPS Tracking Needs Warrant In Real Life

I know I don’t usually talk about criminal procedure here in The Write Report. My forte is civil law, not criminal. But a recent Supreme Court case put the kibosh on a very common plot device, so I wanted to alert you to it.

You see it all the time on TV. The cops put a tracking device under the fender of the suspect’s car. Let’s follow him from a safe distance, or let’s watch where he goes, they say. Well, unless they had a warrant, that tracking information is illegal, and everything they got from it will likely be excluded.

The police put a GPS device on a suspected drug dealer’s Jeep and monitored him for 28 days. The Court said this violated his 4th Amendment rights. “We hold that . . . read more in The Write Report.

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GPS Surveillance


Since I wasn't able to access your full report (message stated "Service Unavailable"), I have several questions about  (1) what basic principle is used to allow all sorts of police surveillance without a warrant but disallow GPS surveillance or tracking without a warrant and (2) is the warrant in question the kind needed to access/search one's private domicile (property) or is this some other type of warrant and (3) isn't it the case that in traffic stops, police can search one's vehicle for contraband items such as drugs without having a warrant and, if so, what legal reasoning/principle allows this violation of privacy without a warrant but disallows GPS tracking without a warrant.

As a layman, I find the different applications (cited above) of the law to this whole area contradictory and confusing and would greatly appreciate any clarifications you can provide in a reply here.