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Author Topic: United States v. Jones  (Read 3637 times)

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Markalot

  • Citizen
  • Posts: 364
Re: United States v. Jones
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2012, 08:21:17 AM »

Following vs listening.

I did not know you needed a warrant to place a long term tail on someone, so to me the case is now fairly clear.
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-- Mark

Zafer Kaya

  • City Elder
  • Posts: 3,735
Re: United States v. Jones
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2012, 10:45:21 AM »

Just a random thought here....isn't placing a GPS on the car (I'm assuming this was done without the owner's knowledge, not being familiar with this case) similar to placing a bug in someone's house/workplace/whatever? 

The difference is that in someone's house there is an expectation of privacy, whereas cars are driving on public roads in open places.  And in fact, I think the prior court had ruled that GPS information from the car when it was parked in Jones' private residence was inadmissible.  Although of course that evidence was not important since all the GPS data would say is "Dude's at home."  It was the tracking of the guy's movements that was important.

This gets to markalot's point as well.  Technically, I suppose you could follow a car long-term as long as you wanted without a warrant.  But realistically, at some point that car will enter a private area.  And if the guy has half a brain, that's where he'll do his illegal business.  Or even if he doesn't, any evidence obtained as a result of having observed what happened in that private residence would also be invalid.

Basically what I think happened is that technology in the last few decades has generally aided criminals.  Like in the old days you had to do business more in the open.  But then you could use telephones so no one could see your deal go down.  And you didn't have to exchange stacks of cash.  Money could be sent wirelessly to offshore accounts.  You had cars where you could drive deep into the woods, etc.

Cops would put hundreds of hours of work into catching a guy.  And the ONLY way to catch this guy would be with the help of invasive techniques, because just following a person around using only your eyes and ears wasn't going to cut it.  Judges were loathe to let guys go free who they *knew* were guilty and who, if set free could go back and continue to commit crimes in the exact same way they were doing them and could never be caught.  And if it intruded upon the privacy of someone who wasn't committing a crime, that person was generally at least a shady character who hung out with criminals and probably helped them out, you just couldn't prove it.

But now things have sort of come around to the point where it's too much.  Because now it's too easy for the cops to just start tracking your internet activities and throw a GPS on you.  They don't have to do anything.  In the meantime, your entire life is available to them and quite likely none of it is criminal.  So now it feels like the cops are just lazy busybodies up in everyone's business, whereas before the cops were spending hours and hours painstakingly tracking a single target.

juggles

  • Tourist
  • Posts: 189
Re: United States v. Jones
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2012, 02:21:48 PM »

The thing I'll never understand in surveillance cases like this is why the cops don't just get a damn warrant just to cover their asses.
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