Jones Vs US Warant-Less GPS Tracking

  • Tracker placed GPS device on Antoine Jones's car
  • Police issued warrant - did not follow specifications
  • Tracked car's movements for 28 days with GPS device
  • Antoine Jones arrested October 24, 2005 for drug possession
My Opinion
  1. Personal property
  2. GPS is specific and convinient
  3. Long period of time
1. Personal Property
  • 4th Amendment states the protection of persons, houses, and effect, against unreasonable searches
  • Car is effect - obtaining information is a search according to Justice Scalia
  • Jones has right to his privacy and security and government respecting this
2. Specific Location
  • GPS is very specific to location - down to 50-100 ft. (Court Slip Option)
  • Following in person is harder and more suspicious
  • GPS is 24/7
  • GPS is convenient - if allowed than could track many locations with click of button
3. Long period of time
  • Police tracked Jones for 28 days
  • Would have been different if tracked for 24 hours
  • Daily "warant less tracking" in the real world
Court argument
  • Met November 8, 2011
  • Unanimous decision (9-0)
  • Justice Scalia delivered Opinion
  • Michael R. Dreeben as advocate
Opinion 1 - Justice Antonin Scalia
  • Device falls under search and seizure in 4th Amendment
  • Vehicle is an “effect”
  • Monitoring vehicle movements is a “search”
  • Refers to understanding of Amendment in time that it was first made
  • “4th Amendment reflects close connection to property instead of just the security of people and unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Opinion 2 - Horace Cooper
  • Degree of privacy when Amendment was first adopted
  • Connection to modern world and new understanding of privacy
  • “Without this ruling, federal and state gov’ts would be given a free license to survey any and all Americans with state of the art technology.”
  • What happened to privacy if other side of case won
Opinion 3 - John Whitehead
  • Court didn't rule sufficiently - "physically" touched private property is not ruled enough
  • Needed to rule with new understandings of privacy
  • Technological Bill of Rights
  • “New technologies, which enable the radical expansion of police surveillance operations require correspondingly robust legal frameworks in order to maintain the scope of freedom from authoritarian oversight envisioned by the Framers.”
Opinion 4 - Michael R. Dreeben
  • Privacy in home or car is protected by 4th Amendment - not public movements
  • "What is revealed to the world, like one's car movements on a public roadway, is not”
  • Uses Knotts vs US as backup to argument - involved warrant-less tracking
  • Beeper is different than GPS
Knotts vs US 1983 (9-0)
  • Tristan Armstrong suspected of buying chemicals from Hawkins Chemical Company that could be used to be made into illegal drugs
  • Narcotic agents installed a tracker into a container of the chemicals with consent from the Hawkins Chemical Company
  • Armstrong bought chemicals and agents were able to track Armstrong to Leroy Carlton Knotts cabin in Wisconsin
  • Did not cross 4th Amendment because of consent from Hawking Chemical Company & beeper did not replace ability to do visually - only allowed a greater following distance
Katz vs US 1967 (7-1)
  • Police installed listening device outside telephone booth used by Katz
  • Convicted Katz for illegal transmission of wagering information
  • “Amendment protects people, not places” (Justice Potter Stewart)
  • Phone booth is public property
  • Jones's car is private property - protected under 4th Amendment
Limited Government
  • Government can only do what constitution allows - one of main principles the Founding Fathers built this country with
  • No government official or police officer is "above the law"
  • Did the government break the law by not following Jones's privacy rights protected by the 4th Amendment?
  • Preamble, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish JUSTICE, …”
  • Justice - everyone has equal rights
  • Police were unjust by not respecting Jones's rights
  • Section 3 of WA State Constitution - Personal Rights - “No person shall be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law”
Common Good
  • Safety of general public
  • GPS can help track down criminals
  • Compromise - making a warrant easier with enough info & time limits until another warrant is needed
Individual Rights
  • People have right to privacy
  • Government should not be allowed to track people for no reason at all
  • Can compromise for the common good by having limits to tracking without a warrant - facial recognition OK, GPS not OK
Daily life
  • Stated in “Our Rights” - the right to privacy is our fundamental understanding of freedom
  • New technology rising up needs change to our understanding of our privacy rights
  • Lines need to be draw
  • “Citizens could not, for example, commit murder or molest a child. Where does the right to privacy end?” (Our Rights)


Created with images by madnzany - "Arthur" • davidsonscott15 - "Police Car Lights" • WDnetStudio - "rotary camera monitoring safety" • Cknight70 - "Justice Antonin Scalia" • Powie - "drone multicopter dji" • mattmangum - "cabin" • Meditations - "booth box british" • frizzzzle - "Crowd"

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