« Should SCOTUS Prohibit Ex Parte Blogging? |
| Current Odds on Obama's Supreme Court Nominee »
May 12, 2009
Two Courts, Same Issue, Different Outcome
Wisconsin resident Michael Sveum appealed his aggravated stalking conviction because prosecution evidence included Sveum's movements as recorded by a GPS device police secretly attached to his car. This, Sveum said, violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The Wisconsin Appellate Court said no violation occurred because the device was attached to the car in a public place, and is the same type of evidence that can be obtained through other types of public surveillance. The police did obtain a warrant in this case, but the court made it clear a warrant was unnecessary.
From the Court's opinion:
Like the Seventh Circuit, we discern no privacy interest protected by the Fourth Amendment that is invaded when police attach a device to the outside of a vehicle, as long as the information obtained is the same as could be gained by the use of other techniques that do not require a warrant.
The Seventh Circuit case to which the Court referred is United States v. Garcia
, 474 F.3d 994 (7th Cir. 2007). The Court was a bit troubled by their conclusion, though not enough to rule otherwise, and suggested that the Wisconsin legislature consider legislation that addressed the issue. The Wisconsin opinion, issued on May 7th, is here
and a news report in the Chicago Tribune is here
The New York Court of Appeals decided today that placing a GPS system on a defendant's vehicle without a warrant does violate the Fourth Amendment. The Court reviewed seminal Supreme Court decisions such as Katz and Olmstead
and came to the opposite conclusion than the Wisconsin court. Oddly, the Court of Appeals also cited Garcia
, but ignored its holding. It noted other state courts that took the same view, notable Washington State and Oregon. The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule in this type of case, but may get the chance if one of these two cases goes for further appeal. The New York opinion is here
, and a story about the case in Newsday is here
May 12, 2009 | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Two Courts, Same Issue, Different Outcome:
The New York case was expressly decided on state constitutional grounds and, therefore, will not be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Judge Lippman's opinion contains a very interesting and detailed discussion about GPS technology and its implications for privacy.
Posted by: Larry Cunningham | May 12, 2009 12:32:13 PM
Post a comment