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National

DE: Supreme Court weighs sex offender GPS monitoring

An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware is arguing to the state Supreme Court that it is unconstitutional for some sex offenders to automatically be required to wear and pay for GPS monitoring while on probation. Full Article

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  1. Joe123

    Here in Massachusetts, you automatically are required to wear a GPS bracelet even for a first time non-contact computer offense, COMPUTER. How such a law could have passed, is beyond basic human comprehension. It is a COMPUTER offense, so why do you need to know where the individual is located? How on earth is this justifiable? Seems like a relatively easy lawsuit to win, just requires the right attorney here to do it. This would be a major win for tax payers as well, as they’re paying for the unjustifiable GPS monitoring.

    • JM of Wi.

      It seems to me that more & more of these costs (lie detectors, GPS, registration, monitoring, DNA testing, probation etc.) are being deferred to registrants. That money is very feel good political legislative fodder for continued repression. If the money stream is cut, the continued repression is not as politically positive. GPS monitoring may be a valid tool, but it being an income stream, or it being unjustly or haphazardly used; Is just further repression, punishment, and feelgood politics.

    • ma.concerned.citizen

      Not only are you required to wear one in MA for any sex related parole/probation, it’s insanely expensive! It was something like $600/month. Definitely a money making scheme. I was fortunate enough to not have to pay for mine because if I remember correctly I petitioned that I had to support my family or something like that. My lawyer was able to get the fees waived. But if I hadn’t asked about it, I would have had to pay.

      • Nicholas Maietta

        Holy cow! Okay so hear’s the deal. Anyone can buy a tiny device which includes a “system on a chip” based computer board, with a GPS receive and also a slot for a SIM card. Think of it as a cellphone without the keypad and screen, speaker and microphone and now you have the guts of a GPS ankle monitor. What’s left is the housing and the strap.

        The scary part: A home brew version costs around $25 to build. The Omega2 chip is soon to be available to purchase and is the size of a quarter. Hook up a tiny quarter sized GSM SIM800L module and write a bit of code that communicates through the standard serial interface, and now you have the basics.

        For more convenience you could just go to https://particle.io and buy almost ready to deploy devices. Their website platform offers a way to send and receive data to these little devices over the cellular networks, from a programmable interface. This means it would take almost no real effort to assemble a mapping system, alerts, geofencing tools, all the same stuff you’d find in existing GPS offender tracking solutions.

        These devices cost only ~$100 per and their monthly data would consume maybe around $4 – 5 of cellular data per month.

        Digital displays, Digital Kiosks, Security systems, DIY drones, Home automation, Asset tracking, the list goes on and on and on. It’s called IoT, Internet of things.

        Now why is the public being ripped of? Because they can.

        • ,Timmr

          All that would be required, then, is something like a wrist watch. I guess they have to make it look and feel like a shackle.

  2. Chris F

    I am not sure why this can’t be argued that it’s also a violation of “equal protection” since non sex offenders that are dangerous are not also bound by law, regardless of circumstances, to wear a GPS.

    It should also be a separation of powers issue, with legislature mandating something that judges could already do on a case by case basis as part of their responsibility to punish, rehabilitate, and protect.

    There is this law that contradicts what they are doing too:

    U.S. v. DAVIS•452 F.3d 991, 995 (8th Cir. 2006)

    Federal law requires the district courts to consider the “nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant” when crafting a special condition of supervised release. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3553(a)(1), 3583(d)(1); cf. United States v. Heidebur, 417 F.3d 1002, 1004-05 (8th Cir. 2005). That inquiry must take place on an individualized basis; a court may not impose a special condition on all those found guilty of a particular offense.

    • Joe123

      According to Florida Action Committee, the case has been lost as of today. I personally think the lawyers could have done a better job. It’s not hard to argue that by strapping a device to your leg that will send you to jail if it loses signal or you forget to charge it, constitutes AS PUNISHMENT. Thus, each case’s probation requirements should be handled with the judge’s discretion. Who on earth approved of these ‘GPS for all’ blanket laws? Who’s the guy that is getting illegal kick backs for promoting 3M’s (and other manufacturers) devices?

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