1/23/12. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in US v Jones today that a warrantless installation and use of a GPS device to track a suspect’s vehicle the Fourth Amendment.
“It is important to be clear about what occurred in this case: The government physically occupied private property for the purpose of obtaining information,” … “We have no doubt that such a physical intrusion would have been considered a ‘search’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it was adopted.”
The Fourth Amendment “persons, houses, papers and effects.” meant that the vehicle in this case was an “effect.”
“Whatever new methods of investigation may be devised, our task, at a minimum, is to decide whether the action in question would have constituted a ‘search’ within the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment,”
“Where, as here, the government obtains information by physically intruding on a constitutionally protected area, such a search has undoubtedly occurred. Trespass alone does not qualify, but there must be conjoined with that what was present here: an attempt to find something or to obtain information.”