Professor Warnken Interviewed Regarding Supreme Court Decision on GPS Tracking
On June 27, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to decide when the Government violates the fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures when it secretly attaches a global positioning system (GPS) to a vehicle to track the movement of its driver and passengers. The Government argues that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in where a vehicle is located, and drivers and passengers already accept the risk that someone would follow them to learn their whereabouts. The defense bar argues that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy that the Government will not track their whereabouts on a “24-7” basis for months at a time.
Professor Warnken predicted that the Government will prevail. He noted that (1) the Supreme Court is pro-Government on issues of Fourth Amendment search and seizure; (2) in the Supreme Court, the side that persuades the Court to take the case usually wins (the Government took this case to the Supreme Court); (3) the Supreme Court has held many times that Defendants have a lesser expectation of privacy in vehicles, when compared to homes and personal effects; (4) a quarter century ago, the Supreme Court permitted placing beepers on vehicles.