Fed. Judge Rules DEA Warrantless GPS Device Invalid

The exclusionary rule is alive in Kentucky. A federal judge in Kentucky is the latest to rule the DEA cannot place a GPS device on a suspect's vehicle without a warrant. It ordered all evidence suppressed that resulted from the stop of the defendant's vehicle, including the seizure of 150 pounds of marijuana.

In this case, the DEA agents had their fishing poles out to catch Lee,” U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar wrote. “Admittedly, the agents did not intend to break the law. But, they installed a GPS device on Lee's car without a warrant in the hope that something might turn up.”

The judge also found that "good faith" doesn't save the DEA's action. There was no evidence apart from the search to support the charges. The defendant, who was facing a 20 year mandatory minimum due to his prior record, should be released from custody. (The feds say they will review the decision and decide whether to appeal.)

The 19 page decision is a good one. I've uploaded it here.

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    I think this has the best first footnote (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed May 23, 2012 at 07:14:55 PM EST
    I've seen in a legal opinion:

    Despite finding that the good-faith exception applied to a DEA agent's conduct because he relied on binding Eighth Circuit precedent, the Amaya court initially sanctioned that same agent for submitting an affidavit in discovery that failed to disclose the GPS tracking. 2012 WL 1188456 at *9. That court later withdrew the sanctions. See 2012 WL 1523045 (May 1, 2012). But a paradox remains: the DEA agent in Amaya violated the common-sense understanding of good faith while qualifying for the Fourth Amendment‟s "good-faith exception." By contrast, the DEA agents in this case acted in good faith under a common understanding of the phrase, yet do not qualify for the "good-faith exception."

    Thanks for posting this Jeralyn.

    Good to see you back (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Peter G on Wed May 23, 2012 at 08:37:10 PM EST
    commenting, AndG.

    THis is good to hear (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 23, 2012 at 11:24:50 PM EST
    As a friend of mine once said long ago, sometimes the right thing happens. Kudos to the judge for what sounds to a layman like plain good sense.

    And, I think (none / 0) (#4)
    by NYShooter on Thu May 24, 2012 at 12:00:34 AM EST
    it's pretty analogous to the license plate scanning aka data mining in vogue today.

    Way to go jb... (none / 0) (#9)
    by fishcamp on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:02:09 AM EST
    You DC folks are good.  Now if you could please get the DEA to "tow the line" you would be even better, probably the best.

    I'm not a miracle worker :) (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Thu May 24, 2012 at 11:29:05 AM EST
    OT:  Are you an Aggie?

    I don't think you really mean (none / 0) (#11)
    by Peter G on Thu May 24, 2012 at 01:20:00 PM EST
    "tow the line."  Unless you want to DEA to go into the business of operating barges or tow-boats.

    Thanks Peter G... (none / 0) (#12)
    by fishcamp on Fri May 25, 2012 at 08:18:20 AM EST
    I knew that as soon as I posted.  "toe the line" has much history behind the term.  The British House of Commons required sword strapped members to stand behind the lines that were two sword-lenghts apart from their political rivals in order to restore decorum.  The Oxford English Dictionary says about 15% of the people make the same mistake I did.  It may be good if the DEA did get out there and do some honest work instead of lurking around sneaking their GPS devices onto cars.  And finally being a simple fisherman I'm used to towing lines around.  Cheers.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#14)
    by lousy1 on Sat May 26, 2012 at 09:39:47 PM EST
    And most of the posters here support Eric Holder?

    Off topic (none / 0) (#15)
    by Yman on Sat May 26, 2012 at 10:13:17 PM EST
    Not sure why you assume "most posters here support Holder", but you can generally support an administration or AG and oppose specific policies.  It's not either/or ...

    Well, (none / 0) (#16)
    by lousy1 on Tue May 29, 2012 at 12:01:09 AM EST
    the name TalkLeft implies a tilt. I don't mind your political leanings but might snicker at your blindness.

    BTW JM seems to demonstrate an intellectual backbone that many commentators ( right or left) should strive to emulate.

    I thought AG Alberto Gonzalez was an absolute disaster. He consistently chose to follow politics over ethics.

    Why can't you see that Holder is even worse?