Thursday, May 2, 2013

Court overlooks "sloppiness" in GPS expert testimony; Others also address GPS and Jones issues

Many courts continue to deal with GPS and Jones in interesting ways. Here are some summaries from recent cases:

In United States v. Khan, No. CR-S-10-175 (E.D. Cal. 2013), the defendant argued that inconsistencies between a GPS log and a report of active surveillance from law enforcement created doubts about the accuracy of the evidence. The court found that the "drafting is incredibly sloppy but its sloppiness is not material." Even if the GPS tracking data had not been used, probable cause would have still existed.

In Pina v. Morris, No. 09-11800 (D. Mass. 2013), Pina brought an action under the Federal Civil Rights Act, arguing various rights violations. At trial, the definition of the word "search" was given as "a government intrusion upon 'a reasonable expectation of privacy.'" Pina had argued that a "'trespass' definition" under Jones was necessary to complete the definition, but the court disagreed. In the civil suit, the court found that Pina did not meet the standard for a new trial and that "it is difficult to see how it would have made any difference."

In State v. Lagrone, No. 49A05-1203-CR-135 (Ind. Ct. App 2013), the officers had taken a package of marijuana from UPS, added a GPS device and parcel wire, and had the package delivered. They then followed the defendant to his home and forced entry into the home after the wire signaled that the package had been opened. Because the device was attached before it was in the defendant's possession, the tracking was only 10 minutes, and they were also visually surveilling him, Jones was distinguishable. Further, applying Jacobsen, the opening and repackaging of the package did not violate a privacy interest. Further, applying Knotts and Karo, the transmission of information did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

In United States v. $2,599.00 in US Currency, No. 7:11-CV-192-BR (E.D.N.C. 2013), the court held that the Supreme Court's decision in Jones "did not negate the long-held principle that an individual must show some subjective expectation of privacy in order to have a basis for challenging a search." The claimants were arguing that Jones gave them standing under its trespass theory because the person authorizing the search of a safe "did not have a key."


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