Get a Warrant

Wow:

The Supreme Court on Monday put the brakes on the government’s use of high-tech monitoring devices to track motorists, ruling unanimously that police and the FBI violated the 4th Amendment by attaching a GPS device to a Jeep owned by a drug suspect.

The justices all agreed that the government needs a search warrant from a judge before it seeks to track a suspect by secretly installing a device on his car.

There’s a little bit of division on the ruling, with Scalia taking the narrower view that it was the placing of the device that violated the Fourth Amendment, while Alito thinks the tracking of the car in general was a violation.

Here’s why these attempts to bypass warrants bother me: warrants are generally easy to get. This is especially true of the FISA Court, which almost never rejects a petition, but even lower courts are fairly generous about this. To track a drug dealer, a simple undercover buy could establish a reason for a warrant. So why the big push to avoid them?

In any case, I’m glad to see the Court bounce this. Maybe it’s just me, but they seem to be having a pretty good session this year. Wouldn’t be interesting if Bush’s biggest achievement was the Roberts Court?

Comments are closed.

  1. Seattle Outcast

    Wouldn’t be interesting if Bush’s biggest achievement was the Roberts Court?

    Starting to look that way.

    I found it interesting that not only was this a unanimous opinion, the minority opinion took it even further and wanted to include GPS tracking of cell phones, etc.

    To track a drug dealer, a simple undercover buy could establish a reason for a warrant. So why the big push to avoid them?

    The obvious answer is to establish precedent that warrants aren’t needed, and then seek to expand it. Law enforcement is (and always has been) after nothing less than a blank check to do whatever the hell it wants at any time.

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  2. AlexInCT

    Here’s why these attempts to bypass warrants bother me: warrants are generally easy to get. This is especially true of the FISA Court, which almost never rejects a petition, but even lower courts are fairly generous about this. To track a drug dealer, a simple undercover buy could establish a reason for a warrant. So why the big push to avoid them?

    They want this primarily because they are sloppy and likely to do something like this without asking for the warrant, then have trouble in court over that. Especially when on a fishing expedition. I understand the law enforcement mentality, but if we lt these people decide how things work we can not only kiss the constitution goodbye, we can welcome a police state. And I for one am not inclined to like either.

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  3. balthazar

    What the heck are you on about Orpheus?

    I’ve never seen Alex even REMOTLY say he supprts a police state, the very opposite in fact.

    Wow, talk about off base, Alex has consistantly been opposed to shit like the patriot act, warrentless GPS, imminent domain, seizure laws, and the surge in things like every podunk town having a SWAT team.

    You are a fucking idiot.

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  4. hohokiss

    The justices all agreed that the government needs a search warrant from a judge before it seeks to track a suspect by secretly installing a device on his car.

    What if the opportunity presented itself spontaneously, that time was of the essence, window of opportunity?
    How does a GPS placed on my car really violate any of my rights? Invasion of privacy? On public roads?

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  5. sahrab

    The “Ticking Time Bomb” (your example) scenario never worked, still doesnt even if you support the Police State. Being in public doesnt mean you forfeit your rights to privacy (well it shouldnt).

    Hopefully, this is a trend and we may be on a path to reverse some of the more intrusive intrusions into our live that were enacted under the guise of “Safety”.

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  6. AlexInCT

    It hasn’t bothered you much in the past, Alex.

    What hasn’t bothered me much in the past? Because I have never been a fan of this particular practice, or a state that allows the police to trample my rights in other ways, even if it is for “security reasons”. Yes, I am willing to give the authorities some leeway, sometimes, but I draw the line at them being lazy fucks that think they can do shit like this when the system already provides them with an easy mechanism to get permission, if they have good cause. Or are you implying that because I am quite content to have foreign terrorists at war with us killed or put away forever, without the benefit of the show that the civilian trials the idiot leftists want would be, that by extensions I am a fascist that wants the state to shit all over the constitution and citizen’s going about their lives freedoms?

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  7. hohokiss

    So the danger here is that once the cops are allowed to place GPSs under cars, they’ll start putting them in coat pockets and childrens toys too. It just how things naturally go with cops

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  8. AlexInCT

    So the danger here is that once the cops are allowed to place GPSs under cars, they’ll start putting them in coat pockets and childrens toys too. It just how things naturally go with cops

    Actually the problem would be with a legal system that allowed any facts gathered in such a way into court as evidence. If the system forbids it – which is what the SCOTUS decision just did to this practice and anything like it – cops will not do it. But once something like this is allowed, cops will stretch its use to the limit, to get whomever they have a boner for convicted in court.

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  9. sahrab

    So the danger here is

    This is probably yet another example of your misunderstanding of how great our system really is. Unlike in other countries, In our system the Bill of Rights limits what the Government (important aspect) can impose upon the citizenry.

    This practice violated this freedom.

    It does not matter one flying fig whether there is/was/could be/should be/may be/potentially an inherit danger, the problem is the Government overreaching beyond its set limitations.

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  10. hohokiss

    “theres a right to privacy on American roads too” thats a new one. I’d rather have the cops follow a suspect safely and discreetly than weave through traffic, endangering the populace, or giving up the chase to avoid a lawsuit after a crash

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  11. hohokiss

    http://prairiepundit.blogspot.com/2011/11/is-there-expectation-of-privacy-on.html

    The facts of U.S. v. Antoine Jones are that District of Columbia police, working with the FBI, suspected a nightclub owner of being a drug dealer. They installed cameras near Antoine Jones’s nightclub, got his cellphone records, and attached a GPS tracking device to his Jeep Grand Cherokee. In 2005, acting on the information they had gathered, police executed a search warrant and found a huge stash of cocaine, firearms and cash. The defendant’s lawyers objected to the GPS, saying that tracking car movements over several weeks violated his expectation of privacy.

    so there was a warrant issued here and there

    Several justices noted that authorities could have tracked the suspect’s car if enough police officers devoted enough effort to follow him. Justice Anthony Kennedy told the defendant’s lawyer: “What you’re saying is that the police have to use the most inefficient methods.” Put another way, wouldn’t most Americans think it unreasonable to lock law enforcement into earlier generations of technology when criminals use the latest technology?

    What did Alito supposedly say?

    During the oral argument in last week’s GPS case, Justice Samuel Alito defined the issue well: “Maybe 10 years from now, 90% of the population will be using social networking sites, and they will have on average 500 friends, and they will have allowed their friends to monitor their location 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, through the use of their cellphones,” he said. “What would the expectation of privacy be then?”

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  12. JimK

    During the oral argument in last week’s GPS case, Justice Samuel Alito defined the issue well: “Maybe 10 years from now, 90% of the population will be using social networking sites, and they will have on average 500 friends, and they will have allowed their friends to monitor their location 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, through the use of their cellphones,” he said. “What would the expectation of privacy be then?”

    There’s a key concept missing from your entire argument and Alito’s question. I’ll rephrase his words to include it and see if you can understand why it makes all the difference.

    “Maybe 10 years from now, 90% of the population will be using social networking sites, and they will have on average 500 friends, and they will have allowed their friends to monitor their location 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, through the use of their cellphones BY CHOICE, and therefore using this argument as analogous to a government tracking device installed against their will is not just legally devoid of merit, it makes no logical sense so I’ll stop talking now.”

    There is a vast gulf between what we can choose to do and what we should allow the government to do.

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  13. Seattle Outcast

    hohokiss – you need to some serious reading on supreme court decisions over the last 100 years, your comments show a complete lack of understanding of your rights and the limitations of government.

    I’d suggest you start with Roe v Wade on the privacy issue and work back on the precedence used. Post again when you’ve completed about 20 hours of reading.

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  14. sahrab

    What did Alito supposedly say

    He said:

    he would go further and rule that the “long-term monitoring” of the vehicle with a tracking device violated the 4th Amendment regardless of whether the device was attached to a car. He took the view that the government violated a motorist’s right to privacy by tracking his movements for weeks on end.

    And in case your wondering, Justice Scalia said:

    The Fourth Amendment provides in relevant part that“[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searchesand seizures, shall not be violated.” It is beyond disputethat a vehicle is an “effect” as that term is used in the Amendment. United States v. Chadwick, 433 U. S. 1, 12 (1977). We hold that the Government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle,2 and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a “search.”.

    and he also said

    The Government physically occupied private property for the purpose of obtaining information. We have no doubt that such a physical intrusion would have beenconsidered a “search” within the meaning of the FourthAmendment when it was adopted. Entick v. Carrington, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C. P. 1765), is a “case we have described as a ‘monument of English freedom’ ‘undoubtedly familiar’to ‘every American statesman’ at the time the Constitutionwas adopted, and considered to be ‘the true and ultimate expression of constitutional law’” with regard to searchand seizure. Brower v. County of Inyo, 489 U. S. 593, 596 (1989) (quoting Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616, 626 (1886)). In that case, Lord Camden expressed in plain terms the significance of property rights in search-andseizure analysis:

    “[O]ur law holds the property of every man so sacred,that no man can set his foot upon his neighbour’s closewithout his leave; if he does he is a trespasser, though he does no damage at all; if he will tread upon hisneighbour’s ground, he must justify it by law.” Entick, supra, at 817

    In case you were wrondering, you can read the full thing here and here

    Your welcome.

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  15. hohokiss

    Ah, so the issue to Alito was “long-term” monitoring, not so much the use of the GPS, per se.

    Therefore following a suspect for hours, or perhaps even “days” ( exactly how many is acceptable per Constitution?), by car, pissing gas, maybe botching the surveillance along the way, etc. is all cops may do, lest they be deemed stalkers.

    And using a device attached to a car to track it constitutes a “search”, whereas following cars in cars with the eye is acceptable. Just keep it down to a few hours.

    Criminals ought to try putting GPSs on their cars and call ‘em “govt planted” in court

    I understand that to many Americans defending their Constitution from all and any change is more important than its effectiveness; no New Testaments or King James versions, ever, so the bad guys get a break.

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  16. sahrab

    I understand that to many Americans defending their Constitution from all and any change is more important than its effectiveness.

    Actually thats been our (American) standard from the start.

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety – Benjamin Franklin February 17th 1775.

    He wasnt just talking about terrorism.

    no New Testaments or King James versions, ever, so the bad guys get a break

    With that you show a lack of understanding of this disussion, this ruling, this site, and display the true value of your contributions on this site.

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  17. hohokiss

    Go ahead and spin this GPS issue into an essential-life-and-liberties-busting “Give me liberty, or give me death!!” chant along with a cynical “give the gummint an inch, they’ll take a yard!”

    Define the word “search” for me – how personally following a car’s location for one day is so different than remotely monitoring it for a week, in any way. Where and how does the “search” of the cars contents occur? What sacrosanct personal info is made public by the whereabouts of my car?

    Pointing a camera on a home for any amount of time is far more invasive. It can record folks and happenings that have nothing to do with the case under investigation. Cops may search my trash without a warrant:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1988/05/17/us/police-may-search-people-s-trash-without-a-warrant-court-rules.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    The Supreme Court, over an impassioned dissent, ruled today that the police may freely search through garbage bags and other refuse containers that people leave outside the home for collection.

    Under the Court’s 6-to-2 decision, such searches may be conducted without a warrant and without any reason to suspect criminal activity.

    The decision, in a narcotics case, was consistent with rulings by most lower Federal and state courts and was expected in light of the Court’s narrow view in recent years of the Fourth Amendment’s protection of the privacy of individuals against ”unreasonable searches and seizures.” Expectation of Privacy

    Cmon

    ”A search of trash, like a search of the bedroom, can relate intimate details about sexual practices, health, and personal hygiene,” as well as reading and recreational habits,” wrote.Justice William J. Brennan Jr., in a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Thurgood Marshall, ”Scrutiny of another’s trash is contrary to commonly accepted notions of civilized behavior.”,

    The GPS on my car shows I prefer McD’s over Taco Bell. maybe that I’m a speeder

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  18. AlexInCT

    There is a big difference, as others pointed out, between you choosing to let people track you on social media and your government tracking you for whatever reason. Especially if they then use whatever they collect on you to go after you for whatever reason. Our constitution protects us from our goverment that way. It’s why America didn’t turn into the shitholes most of the rest of the world are like where government disarmed the citzenry and treats them like sheep, and while our regressives are trying hard to do that, they seem conflicted enough not to get it done yet.

    BTW, there is a reason I avoid all that social media stuff….

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  19. hohokiss

    Especially if they then use whatever they collect on you to go after you for whatever reason.

    Thats what has me stumped. So they record my going to a certain locale regularly and deduce its for some illegal reason, obtain a warrant and search my car and the place I go. Maybe it works, maybe not.

    Or they just want to harass someone they hate and keep busting him and his buds, whom they know via GPS. Maybe theres something to find, maybe not

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  20. hohokiss

    Like bending the rules, corruption, fighting fire with fire, and all?

    Theres a few bad apples, but ya can’t condemn a whole police force and its government because of a few bad guys, that would be like hating all Americans based on the Gitmo incident

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