The Case between the United States Government Versus Mr. Jones
Mr. Jones was accused by the American government of possessing and dealing with illegal drugs. By the time the joint metropolitan police and the FBI suspected him of the illegal deals, they approached a court for the issuance of an order to mount a GPS device in order to monitor his movements and establish enough evidence to charge him in a court of law. But the authorities committed two mishaps. One was that the warrant was supposed to expire in ten days and instead they installed the device on the eleventh day. The other technical mistake was that the warrant was issued at the District of Columbia and the device was fitted in Maryland. When the case was mentioned, Jones moved a motion challenging the prosecution over his right to privacy. The court held the evidence from the GPS device and ruled in his favor. According to the constitution, one has a right to privacy to his or her property and is, thus, protected from unnecessary search. The government lost the case subject to the execution of the fourth amendment of the constitution.
Later the following year the government appealed the case arguing that any one travelling an a vehicle on public ways had no personal protection to the right of privacy and for that reason the jury in March charged Jones with conspiracy and this time introduced the evidence gathered by the GPS. Evidence pointed that Jones conspired in a drug syndicate consisting of cocaine, an illegal drug in the USA. The jury at the District court found Jones guilty and was imprisoned for life. When Jones appealed, the USA court of appeal rejected the ruling and denied to the factor in the evidence of the GPS citing that Jones was protected under the fourth Amendment.
The court agrees with the government that the device was actually so negligible and could no way interfere with the operations of the vehicle but ruling from this perspective could fault the Fourth Amendment and bearing in mind that the court was responsible for protection of the personal rights, it declined to reverse the ruling. Further the court reasoned that if the GPS device was a statutory requirement for auto makers, then the Fourth Amendment would not be applied.
Another theory leading to the release of Mr. Jones was the fact that the police used the GPS device for a relatively short time but if the tracking device would have been installed and then the detectives spend time chasing the signal unidentified, then there would be no protection of the Fourth Amendment. In the case of Mr. Jones, detectives fitted the GPS device after his wife who owned the said car gave her husband authority to use it. The court reasoned that should the device have been installed before Jones took the car, then the Fourth Amendment could not have protected him. The court relied so much on the trespass law but failed to reason that in the case the said vehicle was stolen and had a tracking device installed on it and the police used the signal to locate and arrest the thief, then would the Fourth Amendment still be applicable? That question leaves some doubt in the final decision of the court. Finally it was easy to establish that Jones had in fact conspired to traffic illegal drugs if the court considered listening to a trained technician over the reliability of the GPS device and then issuing a verdict after considering the governments appeal. The final verdict was the release of Jones and since the verdict came from the High Court of Appeal, the case was closed.
Related Justice essays
- The Capital Punishment
- Malicious Prosecution
- Preliminary Findings of a Crime Scene
- Domestic Violence and Recovery for Women and Children
- Pretrial Diversion
- Punishment and Other Correctional Goals
- Court Participation
- Victim?s Rights Amendment in Ohio
- The Corrections System