Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What to Watch In the Proposed Tracking Legislation

CNET brings more news about possible federal legislation concerning warrantless GPS searches and cell phone searches.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) proposes to require a warrant whenever the police attempt to locate a person through a wireless device or through a GPS tracker placed on a vehicle.
The important thing to watch as this legislation makes its way through Congress is the enforcement provisions.  The article suggests that, as currently written, the use of evidence obtained in violation of the proposed statute in court is limited.

Suppression is not guaranteed, however.  Simply because an act by law enforcement is declared illegal by Congress does not mean that the evidence would not be admissible in court.  If the act does not violate the Fourth Amendment, then Congress is generally free to establish whatever remedy it thinks is appropriate.  For example, Congress could decide that location evidence obtained in violation of the statute would be admissible in a criminal trial, and then allow the defendant to file a lawsuit against the officers. 

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