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Wisconsin court finds 2011 warrantless GPS tagging admissible evidence

by GPS4US 2014-04-25 14:34


Admittedly, this story doesn’t have much to do with the retail world of GPS units.  No Garmin nuvis or Garmin zumos or GPSMAPs   or anything like that.

But as GPS becomes more and more prevalent, its societal uses will become more defined.

Case in point, a Wisconsin appeals court ruled recently that evidence gathered from GPS trackers police
attached to cars without a warrant in 2011 is admissible evidence because the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t
rule a warrant was necessary until 2012.

The 2nd District Court of appeals ruled that officers who place GPS devices without a warrant could
reasonably rely on a 2009 state appellate ruling that found the practice constitutional before the
Supreme Court ruling.

The ruling stems from a Kenosha, Wisc., case from 2011 when police attached a GPS unit to a suspect’s
car to gather information on a drug case. Prosecutors ultimately charged Scott Oberst with three felony
counts and one misdemeanor.

The Supreme Court says installing a GPS device amounts to a search, and requires a warrant.

But a judge ok’s the GPS tapping in Oberst’s case because officers believed they were within their
rights when it happened.

“Law enforcement officers could reasonably rely on (the 2009 ruling) to install and track GPS devices
on vehicles without warrants prior to the (2012 Supreme Court ruling),” the court said.

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