SBM Blog's post "How Many GPS Devices Was the FBI Monitoring Before the Supreme Court Said No," which reported that the FBI has disabled 3,000 GPS devices in the wake of U.S. v Jones, prompted a complaint from one of Michigan's foremost lawyers on criminal procedure -- Wayne County's Chief of Research, Training & Appeals,Tim Baughman. As have many news reporters and commentators, SBM Blog said that the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Jones nixed the use of GPS monitoring without a warrant. Baughman writes:
After the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Jones that the use of the monitoring devices without a warrant violated the 4th amendment,... ." There is no such holding in the case, which held that installation/attachment of the devices to gather information is within the 4th Amendment, without reaching the questions of 1)the level of cause needed, or 2)whether a search warrant is needed. See Tom Goldstein from scotusblog.com: "describing the case correctly is important. In this post I explain how I think that the press got the case wrong. The Court’s only holding is that the installation of a GPS monitoring device is a search. That is a different question from whether it requires a warrant and whether it requires probable cause, as opposed to a lesser standard like reasonable suspicion. The Court in Jones did not decide the government’s argument that this “search” (installing the GPS device) did not require a warrant.. . . The upshot of the coverage of Jones is that the American public now seriously misunderstands the law on a significant issue. The inevitable impression left by at least most of these pieces is that the police always have to get a warrant from a judge to use GPS tracking. That is simply not true. That question is at best unresolved, and at worst it may prove to be completely incorrect when the courts later addressing monitoring over the course of a short time."
Pass it on.