GPS Tracking Case Heard by 3rd Circuit


In October, a panel of three judges unanimously agreed that a GPS tracking device on a vehicle put in place by police would be considered a search under the Fourth Amendment. However, the panel split 2-1 when deciding if evidence gathered was admissible in court under the good-faith exception, which would exempt the evidence from the exclusionary rule.

The case revolves around three brothers who purportedly burglarized pharmacies in the Philadelphia area. Law enforcement attached a GPS tracking device to one suspect’s car without a warrant.

Prosecutors appealed the panel’s original decision requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before attaching a GPS device to a suspect’s car arguing, “Under the principles announced by the Supreme Court, the panel’s decision unjustifiably applies the ‘massive remedy’ of suppressing reliable and probative evidence without achieving appreciable deterrence.”

The case will be reheard by the full court in May 2014.


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