High Court Debate: Do Police Need Warrant for GPS Tracking? | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The big debate before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether or not police should have a warrant to track someone using GPS. Some said yes, others said no.
"Bullseye means he is stationary. That means he is not moving," said Kathy, a private investigator in Jacksonville, who has asked us not to use her full name because of the work she does.
She can track, via the internet, where cars are, how fast they are going and how long they stay in one place. She does it all without the driver even knowing.
"It's legal because he is married. Him and his wife own the car together. His wife is my client."
Tracking is just part of what she does in her work, but the tool is one police, including the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, use often to arrest criminals.
"I don't have as much a problem with the visual tracking of people because there is a limitation on what they can do. It's the GPS, basically can give 24/7... finding out where people are going and what they are doing," said Mitch Stone, a criminal defense attorney.
Stone said several of his clients have had their car tracked with GPS and even been followed by police in a plane, in the air. He said in all of those cases, JSO had a warrant to do the tracking.
But the debate in front of the Supreme Court right now is whether the police need that power at all?"
"What they are trying to do is get carte blanche," said Stone. He believes the move would be an invasion of privacy.
"I think it's great. I don't think they need a warrant," said the private investigator.
A former police officer, the investigator said the time to get a warrant could cause a problem. "By the time they get it, bad guy either already knows or opportunity is missed."
The other reason why she supports it, she said it's keeping her family safe. "If it's gonna help get someone off the street that's a criminal, track my phone, track my car. If I'm not doing anything wrong, I should want the drugs off the street to protect my family from criminals."
The Supreme Court should have a decision on the issue next spring.