Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sherry F. Colb D.C. Circuit Holds that Month-Long Police GPS Monitoring Triggers Fourth Amendment

by Sherry F. Colb

September 15, 2010

Last month, in United States v. Maynard, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the Fourth Amendment "reasonable search" requirement applies to police when they track the movements of a person's car via an attached GPS device. In so holding, the D.C. Circuit joined a growing list of federal appellate courts that have opined on both sides of the question whether GPS-tracking constitutes a "search" for purposes of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

This question is likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court before long, and it asks about the nature and extent of privacy that the Constitution grants us against government intrusion.