Ethan A. Huff,
January 9, 2012
As long as law enforcement officials claim to have reasonable suspicion that you might be involved with committing a crime, they are free to affix a GPS tracking device to your car without your knowledge and monitor your every movement. At least this is the opinion of US Magistrate Judge David Noce from the Eastern District of Missouri, who recently decided that no warrant is needed to secretly track individuals suspected of criminal behavior.
The ruling came after 69-year-old Fred Robinson was accused of receiving $175,000 from the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office for work that he did not actually perform. Robinson allegedly never went in for work and was suspected of holding his position with the city in name only. This led law enforcement officials and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to secretly affix a GPS tracking device to Robinson’s vehicle while it was parked in a public place, and proceed to monitor his activities.
But rather than conduct a proper investigation, officials allegedly went straight to the GPS option to determine whether or not their suspicion of Robinson’s malfeasance was warranted. They apparently had no solid evidence, and obviously no warrant, and yet proceeded to pursue Robinson as if they had a warrant.
Robinson’s attorneys and civil liberties advocates say these actions are a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits unwarranted searches and seizures. But in Judge Noce’s opinion, installing secret GPS devices does not constitute a “search,” and is thus not a constitutional violation.
The US Supreme Court is currently facing a similar case involving a night club owner suspected of dealing drugs. Just like in Robinson’s case, officials installed a GPS tracking device on the man’s car without a warrant, which had already expired. The Supreme Court has not yet made a ruling in that case, but Justice Stephen Breyer recently gave testimony before the court that if it does permit this type of warrantless GPS tracking, it will lead to 24-hour monitoring of US citizens by the government (http://www.naturalnews.com/034167_Orwellian_government.html).
“There is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States,” said Justice Breyer. “You suddenly produce what sounds like1984,” he added, referring to the iconic novel written by George Orwell about the rise of totalitarian government.
Sources for this article include:
This article was posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 3:57 am