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High court orders review of sex offender GPS monitoring

WASHINGTON — State programs that use GPS systems to monitor sex offenders could eventually be jeopardized based on a preliminary Supreme Court ruling Monday.

The justices gave a North Carolina sex offender another chance to prove in state court that being forced to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet for life could be unconstitutional. Full Article


Los Angeles Times

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I just saw that at the LA Ties website. This is good. Not nearly enough, but good. They say you can’t simply have a blanket policy (or law) to monitor all or a category of sex offenders with GPS devices. They say that GPS monitoring would come under the 4th Amendment as a search, so requires search-warrant-level justification for the monitoring. They left it open to use the GPS on a case by case basis. And I believe they are saying lifetime is never justified. And an idea in extrapolating: Its not the wearing of the device that is… Read more »

My theory on whether the United States Supreme Court accepts cases on the expectation of ruling AGAINST the RSO will come to light here. My contention is that Chief Justice John Roberts is doing his best to deny cert to sex offender related cases UNLESS he knows the court, based upon its current makeup, will rule against the RSO. The reason is that Roberts doesn’t want any decisions to go AGAINST his own performance in Smith v. Doe as the leading attorney for the state that successfully reversed the original 9th Circuit Court’s original negation of the registry. I wish… Read more »

Actually, there had already been discussion about this – it was inevitable. The court previously had ruled about using GPS to track people without a warrant. All they did here was say that being a sex offender does not make a difference, it still applies the same. You need a warrant based on a good enough reason specifically assessed for that person for that. So, it isn’t just that Roberts knew others would go along with this ruling. They don’t at all mind if they stand alone against all the others.They had already made this ruling in another non-sex offender… Read more »

I’m glad you brought that up Eric, as I’ve been trying to figure out how to get that exact data in front of Janice for her opinion.

Not exactly related to specifically the GPS issue, but how does this information regarding Justice Roberts affect our hopes to someday have the registries rendered unconstitutional? Will we ever be able to bring it back to the SCOTUS, or is it a null point while Justice Roberts is still seated?

You also need to realize, Roberts does not unilaterally grant review of cases. All members of the court vote on that. Yes, individual members have extra authority on cases in the district to which he or she is assigned to oversee, so they can limit the number of cases coming out of that district, but there are nine members of the court and they are all reviewing cases. What Roberts does get to do is to decide who will write the prevailing opinion in any case. Also, re the Ninth Circuit, it is known as the most liberal of the… Read more »

I have permanent damage on my left leg from wearing the GPS tracker for 4 1/4 years. I have a perminant scar where i had to keep the GPS bracelet up as high as i could, using a rig i made with cloth materials, strapped to my upper leg. My bone on my shin has an indentation that is likely never to go away. I have nerve damage from the many times the GPS bracelet dropped while riding my bike. Let’s not forget the time i was required to charge, even during a lightning storm. Parole wouldn’t answer or return… Read more »

Not only to help those in North Carolina unshackle the intrusion of gps but can help here in california as well…
…maybe call or write to your public defender office or ex-offender real private attorney and ask for a review to be off those lifetime shackles gps…..note this USsupremecourt ruling for cause to review…….others in other states as well start tomorrow to have review this is your right from that intrusion …that injustice.

Not even the high court will admit the obvious; all evidence points to the uselessness of GPS to do anything but enrich the monitor companies.

Eric, I would disagree with your belief the Roberts won’t allow a sex offender Registry case that might contradict his “win” when he was Alaska’s AG. The evolution of S.O. Registries has gone so far beyond the simple registry defended by Roberts a decade ago, that any current case would address very different, grossly expanded Registries.

The GPS program in Orange County is disorganized. I wore a bracelet for 3 yrs. Monitors rarely and sporadically tracked my location. This is typical of all government run programs…overwhelmed and understaffed. I informed my P.O. that if I am mandated to wear it, he should at least monitor and maintain vigilance on my whereabouts…I merely wanted him to work harder.

Would have preferred it to not be a repeat offender. This is the kind of case that is dangerous if not argued correctly. For anyone wearing a monitor, 4th amendment seems like only a part of it. Imagine a life of anxiety worrying about this thing dying or malfunctioning!insightful to hear about the physical effects of one too.

So I’m not a lawyer but the fourth amendment does state: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized The following points are all referenced in Mincey v. Arizona, 437 US 385 – Supreme Court 1978 …the State points to the vital public interest in the prompt investigation of the extremely serious crime of… Read more »

Can this be extended to registration itself and being photographed? After all it is nothing but a search of every pimple and wrinkle on one’s face. Courts should determine if it’s reasonable or not before imposing such requirement on some one.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x