With the U.S. Supremes poised to hear oral argument in the GPS tracking case, U.S. v. Jones, in November, most of us can do nothing but sit and wait for the day when the police finally know every movement every person makes. Boy, will I feel safer then. (My previous comments on this issue can be seen here and here.)
But one Ohio court just could no longer bear the anticipation and went ahead and decided to protect the rights of some Ohioans, at least until a higher court smacks them down. (In addition to the pending SCOTUS case that would NOT prevent Ohio from giving greater protections under its state constitution, similar issues are also pending before the Ohio Supremes).
According to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Appellate District of Ohio, police there, for now, will at least need a good
lie reason and a rubberstamp magistrate to allow monitoring of every move a person makes.
Noting “an alarming trend whereby the privacy and dignity of our citizens is being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps,” the Ohio court held that BOTH the installation of the device and the monitoring of its movements implicated the Fourth Amendment and thus required a warrant.
It’s at least slightly comforting to know that there still exist in the judiciary decision-makers willing to protect the people from the increasingly terrifying military force that goes by the name “police.” I hope, without being too optimistic, that there turn out to be at least five such decision-makers on the Roberts Court.
Hat tip to the very informative (and often scary for those of us who don’t want police all up in our business) fourthamendment.com.