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GA: Georgia Court blocks lifelong GPS tracking of sex offenders

[thebrunswicknews.com – 3/4/19]

Georgia’s highest court says it’s unconstitutional to require “sexually dangerous predators” to remain on electronic GPS monitoring after completing their sentences.

The unanimous Georgia Supreme Court opinion published Monday says that violates the Fourth Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

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  1. AO

    Awesome! Now we need more of these “civil regulations” struck down for the punishment that they are.

  2. Eric

    Ah, yes, some sanity showing in the higher courts.

  3. Timothy

    My theory is it has always been about ” the gov use” of databases more than sex offenders.
    Here as in Grady V NC, the federal courts are beginning to outwardly acknowledge the true impact of the databases and infrastructure electronic upon liberty. These two rulings identify what the surveillance saints are really about. Continuous electronic monitoring of the people whole. King George would be doing flips with joy of he’d had the technology. Ultimately the political security of establishment groups are supported by and through the uses, constitutional or not.

  4. Bo

    So, if a condition violates the 4th amendment, does that also make it more than merely administrative?

    • AJ

      @Bo:
      No. It merely makes unconstitutional the manner in which was being administered.

      • TS

        @AJ

        How many court decisions is this now that shows similar conclusions reached by those in dark bath robes on a bench? If memory serves, NC (as noted here on this website) & WI (?) have reached this similar conclusion, but aren’t there others as well? I don’t believe the lifetime GPS tracking as part of a sentence could be lawful anymore than a lifetime registration scheme is, IMO.

  5. David

    It’s great that the opinion was unanimous! That leaves very little wiggle room for the GPS proponents.

    • Timothy

      The federal surveillance saints are Clearly ” in bed with” big data. This hurts their financial interests.

      Let us just presume it is a blow to the surveillance saints ability to further capitalize upon “the people’s electronic infrastructure” against the liberty of convicted individual Americans. There was no proof the Whetterling Act would work, but the people had the right to employ the strategy the regime proposed. The issue the court had here concerned the electronic device ‘s functionality at 50x per second searc, and it’s continuous government search of a man by electronic device. Many folks are just fine enslaving humans to machines, especially sex offenders.

  6. AJ

    I’m glad to see courts are starting to apply what SCOTUS clearly said in US v Jones (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Jones) and its progeny: GPS tracking is a 4th Amdt. search. The Gov’t may be able to articulate a reason (on a case-by-case basis) why a GPS monitor is a reasonable search, but to just issue them willy-nilly certainly indicates a lack of inquiry into reasonableness.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point making lifetime GPS tracking part of a sentence is found to be excessive (i.e. 8th Amdt violation). Just because it’s stuck inside the sentence doesn’t automatically make it a reasonable search. Of course the Gov’t’s answer to that is lifetime probation–which always ticks me off. If I’m so bad that I need lifetime supervision, how can I be good enough to roam in society? Once again, Gov’t is flapping out of both sides of its mouth.

    I foresee a day when there are very few cases where a GPS tracker is allowed outside formal supervision. And that’s as it should be. Just as in Doe v. Harris (http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/11/18/13-15263.pdf) where the 9th said RCs off supervision enjoy “the full protection of the First Amendment,” I think courts are now (finally) agreeing RCs also enjoy full FOURTH Amendment rights. What a concept…too bad it comes with the asterisk of BS registration and restrictions.

    On that note, if the 9th says RCs have full protection of the First Amdt., it would seem to make sense (I know, that doesn’t always come into play in a court of law) that presence and/or residency restrictions in the 9th’s turf would be restricted, if not outright prohibited. Or if there are such laws, their implementation and application should have to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Since the default standing is, “has full protection,” it would seem the State needs to provide reason for taking away any element of that protection that the rest of society enjoys. THAT, it would likewise seem, implicates Due Process. Are not the hosprisoners at Coalinga given some sort of Due Process prior to the curtailment (being kind in using that word) of their full First Amendment protections? How is that required, but other First curtailment is not? Where’s the tipping point along the curtailment continuum?

    • Chris f (@AJ)

      AJ, with this line of reasoning, do you think it could reach to DNA tracking results as well? I understand how DNA at a crime scene is a valid source of evidence to compare and use as part of a criminal investigation. Now that police are using dna databases to link people by relatives dna I would think that crosses some line of privacy and tracking that should at least require court permission to obtain. The idea that at any time and for any reason the government can track family history and relationships doesnt feel right to me though itbis a great tool to solve tough old cases.

      • TS

        @Chris f

        I will chime in on this since I rail against the DNA collection process and uses time to time on here. I believe it could. Why would your cousin’s DNA be able to be used without permission to possibly tie your other relative a generation ago or more to an investigation? I see it will get to the point you mention. It will take some time, but it will get there as it does with all new things like this science that the courts cannot keep up with.

      • AJ

        @Chris f:
        I feel any change to the use of DNA through genealogy companies and the like will require a change to the third-party doctrine. EVERYone uses some sort of third-party repository anymore. Very few have a locked desk or file cabinet at home with secrets and precious documents locked away. As C.J. Roberts pointed out, his kids would rather have someone go through their rooms, desks, and such than snoop into their cellphones and online accounts. Third-party Doctrine is woefully behind the times and ripe for change. Thankfully, SCOTUS seems to be waking up to that. I suspect we’ll see more cases in the near future, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Third-party gets curtailed…or more.

        There’s certainly a difference between DNA and fingerprints when it comes to the sort of forensics now being done via relatives’ samples. (You can’t use Auntie Em’s prints to finger Dorothy for theft of the Ruby Slippers.) I’m skeptical, though, that any court will find a problem with it anytime soon. I’d like to see that change, privacy freak that I am, but I don’t see it happening in my lifetime–and I’m only 12 (kidding!). The courts view DNA swabbing and collection as little different than fingerprinting: a minor intrusion and inconvenience outweighed by public-safety and law-enforcement needs. Again, unless third-party information become subject to 4th Amdt. protections, I don’t see change happening.

    • TS

      @AJ

      I see this reply here was posted after I had submitted a reply above asking similar questions. I will take here as the answer for my post above unless you want to add to it there (or here).

  7. Dustin

    My reading of the opinion and Grady (for what it’s worth) is that the state can’t mandate GPS after the sentence is completed, therefore lifetime GPS can only be imposed on crimes that carry life sentences.

    One thing that Grady pointed out was that there must be a procedure to petition for relief to pass constitutional muster, something I’m pretty sure Georgia doesn’t have. Equally sure they’re not going to break their backs establishing one and if they do, whatever procedure they come up with will be nearly impossible to successfully complete and, even if a person does, he’ll still be denied.

    I don’t remember where, but I read another opinion where the judge wondered if the person requires monitoring and tracking to such (ridiculous) extents, then what exactly is the logic behind releasing him in the first place?

  8. mike r

    Okay, you guys seem to be actively posting on this post so what do you make of this,

    PENAL CODE – PEN
    PART 4. PREVENTION OF CRIMES AND APPREHENSION OF CRIMINALS [11006 – 14315] ( Part 4 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1385. )
    TITLE 1. INVESTIGATION AND CONTROL OF CRIMES AND CRIMINALS [11006 – 11482] ( Title 1 added by Stats. 1953, Ch. 1385. )
    CHAPTER 1. Investigation, Identification, and Information Responsibilities of the Department of Justice [11006 – 11144] ( Heading of Chapter 1 amended by Stats. 1972, Ch. 1377. )

    ARTICLE 6. Unlawful Furnishing of State Summary Criminal History Information [11140 – 11144] ( Heading of Article 6 amended by Stats. 1975, Ch. 1222. )
    11143.
    Any person, except those specifically referred to in Section 1070 of the Evidence Code, who, knowing he is not authorized by law to receive a record or information obtained from a record, knowingly buys, receives, or possesses the record or information is guilty of a misdemeanor.
    (Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 963.)

    Very specific and this is what the CA AG supplied in a letter about the dissemination of the cop’s criminal history info demanding they had no authority to “private” info. Here is a link to Section 1070 E.C. which is very specific,
    https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/evidence-code/evid-sect-1070.html

    See part of the AG letter at,
    https://ufile.io/5rcjg

  9. mike r

    “We thus see no reason to construe section 6254.5 differently than Evidence Code section 912 in this regard, and good reason not to do so. We conclude that, in enacting section 6254.5, the Legislature intended to permit state and local agencies to waive an exemption by making a voluntary and knowing disclosure, while prohibiting them from selectively disclosing the records to one member of the public but not others.”
    Ardon v. City of Laos Angeles (2016) 62 Cal. 4th 1176.

    Evidence Code section 912 does not allow waiver of criminal history records.
    http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=EVID&sectionNum=912.

  10. Edie

    Now, how can we make a case in CA using this case law?? Do you need participants? The anklet is the worst part of PPS for my son…

    • TS

      @Edie

      It only takes one person, e.g. your son, to start a case, but the more the merrier to show what the other cases of this topic show in SCOTUS, NC, GA, WI (perhaps), etc.

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