The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 16 No. 7 • August 2013


U.S. Supreme Court Decision in U.S. v. Jones: Search
Warrant Required for Attaching GPS Device to
Car, Decided Jan. 23, 2012

In a decision limiting the government’s surveillance powers, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision (majority opinion written by Scalia) determined that, on the basis of trespass as well as the expectation of privacy, attaching a GPS device to a vehicle was a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment at the time it was adopted and, hence, a warrant was required.

The Court agreed 9–0 that this was a search requiring a warrant. Perhaps most interestingly, however, there was a division on the Court as to the reason that this came under the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. There was the majority opinion in which Scalia was joined by Roberts, Kennedy, and Sotomayer. Sotomayer also filed a separate concurring opinion, while Alito (joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan) filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. The Alito concurrence did not agree on a trespass basis for the Fourth Amendment violation, but relied on the “expectation of privacy” argument. The big surprise, however, was the concurring opinion by Sotomayer, which agreed with the majority opinion on trespass and “expectation of privacy” arguments for a Fourth Amendment requirement for a warrant. Moreover, Sotomayer said, “I would also consider the appropriateness of entrusting to the Executive, in the absence of any oversight from a coordinate branch, a tool so amenable to misuse, especially in light of the Fourth Amendment’s goal to curb arbitrary exercises of police power to and prevent ‘a too permeating police surveillance.’”

Sounds as though Sotomayer has (maybe) declared her independence from Obama, at least with respect to the Fourth Amendment.

Though this SCOTUS decision favored Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, a more recent 5–4 decision did the opposite by allowing police to take DNA samples without probable cause or a warrant from people who have been arrested but not convicted of anything. Scalia was incensed by the decision and insisted on reading his dissent word for word before the entire court. BRAVO!

Coercively taking a DNA sample from a mere suspect is NOT like taking a photograph or fingerprints! It is forcibly taking a piece of your body containing your internal blueprint, which is a search or seizure going much farther than a mere warrantless search/seizure of your home. Moreover, it is far easier to salt a crime scene with an innocent person’s DNA than with fake fingerprints. Want to imprison someone you hate? Swab their driver’s side car door handle, smear it on a piece of child porn, and send it to the FBI ...

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