- Major Appellate Court Ruling: the 3rd Circuit Rules that a warrant is required to place a GPS tracking device on a vehicle
In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Jones, (132 S.Ct. 945, 2012,) that placing a GPS tracking device on a vehicle does constitute a search. The Supreme Court declined to rule whether such a search required a warrant, or if such searches are therefore unreasonable under the Constitution. The lower courts had punted on the issue since then, allowing good faith exceptions for GPS devices placed prior to the Jones ruling. This week, the 3rd Circuit issued a ruling that declared that not only does the placement of a GPS tracking device on someone’s vehicle constitute a search, such searches do require a warrant. United States v. Harry Katzin, et. al. (Docket No. 12-2548, Fed. 3rd Cir, 2013). [Case text included in linked Wired story.]
This does not prevent the government from using GPS tracking devices, it merely requires that the Constitutional warrant requirement be adhered to before they do so. The agents and prosecutors in the Katzin case knew about the Jones ruling, but did not bother to even ask for a warrant, even though they probably could have gotten one. Now, the evidence obtained as a result of the search will be excluded from any future trial, due to the government’s willful disregard for the Defendants’ Constitutional rights. This case will likely set a strong precedent, as it is in line with recent Supreme Court holdings.
In Florida, the Jones case has been followed in appellate cases refuting warrantless searches of cell phones [Smallwood v. State, 113 So.3d 724 (Fla. 2013)], and limiting officers who come onto property without warrants for investigatory purposes [Powell v. State, 120 So.3d 577 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013)].
via drudge: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/10/warrant-required-gps-trackers/
Posted in 4th Amendment - Search & Seizure, Criminal Law, Federal, Supreme Court
Tagged delaware, federal, gps, jones, maryland, new jersey, pennsylvania, search, supreme court
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 split decision, upheld the Florida Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the use of drug dogs to sniff on porches, Florida v. Jardines, Slip No. 11-564 (U.S., 2013). The decision was an interesting coalition of Justices, with Scalia writing the opinion joined by Thomas, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Roberts, Kennedy, and Breyer joined Justice Alito’s dissent.
Franky the Drug-Sniffing Dog
Scalia’s opinion should not come as a surprise, as he has discouraged government trespass on private property in other decisions, including the Jones opinion last year. In U.S. v. Jones, Scalia found that placing a GPS tracking device on someone’s vehicle without a warrant constituted a trespass and was impermissible. Likewise, today he writes that when the government enters on the curtilage of a home, they are trespassing if they exceed the implied invitation available to common guests. That is, officers can walk up to the front door and knock, but to bring a trained drug-sniffing dog to conduct a search is a search and a trespass. This case may ultimately prevent officers from looking through windows after approaching a home and its curtilage as well. The court reaffirms the “open fields” doctrine, where law enforcement will receive more latitude, but the immediate curtilage of the home, which must include the porch, carries an expectation of privacy much like the home itself.
Click to access 11-564_jifl.pdf
Sarah Jones modelling
wcpo.com was able to get the interrogation video from Sarah’s pre-arrest interview. Nothing shocking if you already saw the Dateline interview, as they played substantial clips, but worth a look if you’ve followed the Sarah Jones story. Be sure to check out our Sarah Jones archive.
Ex Bengal Cheerleader, and high school teacher, Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones is going to speak on national TV, this Friday on Dateline to talk about the case and her relationship with her student. Her young lover will also be speaking with Dateline reporters, as will the prosecutor and one or more of the investigators who worked on the case. Looks like it’s going to get the full Dateline treatment as their primary story, though you can get the whole back story here on Crimcourts, just click on the Sarah Jones category and search back through our archives as we have been on top of the case since starting this blog. You can catch a preview of the show here. #sarahjones #badcheerleader
Former Ben-Gal Cheerleader Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones, the former Ben-Gal who recently plead guilty to an inappropriate sexual relationship with a high-school student, has broken her silence about the case and her relationship. M.L. Nestel at The Daily has the scoop. She has given a brief commentary to The Daily, but she also plans interviews with NBC for “Today” and “Dateline” tomorrow. If you are as fascinated by this train wreck as I am, I’m sure they will be worth checking out.
The Daily Mail also did this in-depth background article, complete with more photos and an interview with Ms. Jones’ ex-husband. Apparently prosecutors allege the affair may have started while she was still married. Ms. Jones continues to pursue the defamation case against The Dirty, which alleged that she had an affair and contracted STD’s from one or more Bengals players. The case was originally filed against the wrong party, and at last report, the new case is still pending against the correct entity that publishes TheDirty.com website. I will try to follow-up when her TV interviews are broadcast.
UPDATE: Apparently there is no Dateline appearance yet, and the Today interview didn’t happen. We shall keep an eye out…
UPDATE 2: She’ll be on Dateline Friday, Details here!
Site views from around the world
The Sarah Jones story really has gone global, as it’s attracted visitors here from around the world, as you can see on my stats image, above. Yesterday saw visitors from Malaysia, Egypt and Taiwan! Kudos to wcpo.com for leading the coverage on this, especially Kendall Herold. You can see the full story on their website, including video of Ms. Jones and the victim leaving the courtroom hand-in-hand. As her attorney, Eric Deters, says on the video, there is nothing wrong with her having a relationship with the boy at this time.
But wait, isn’t the age of consent 16 in Kentucky? Wasn’t the “victim” 17 at the time of the offense? That’s correct, except that Kentucky, like many other states, has a statute prohibiting sexual contact between minors and persons in a position of trust. So, 16-year-old girl dates a 30-year-old… no problem. But if a 17-year-old boy has contact with his cheerleader-teacher, she commits First Degree Sexual Abuse. But for some prosecutorial discretion, she would be a felon, face prison time, and be branded a sex offender for the next decade or two (25 years in Florida). Kudos to Ms. Farmer and the Commonwealth for having the good sense to resolve this case equitably. Unfortunately, legislators around the country pass these harsh laws but many times prosecutors aren’t willing to be as reasonable as Mr. Farmer. Obviously, it’s important to protect children from abuse of persons in positions of trust, but the dangerous sexual predators should be handled differently than consensual situations between near-adults.
Sarah Jones, former Ben-Gal Cheerleader
The wcpo.com reports states that Ms. Jones will comment further on her relationship with the “victim” at some future date. I will keep an eye out for that and post any updates on this blog as they become available. Until then, I will have to find another story that gives me an excuse to run pretty cheerleader photos. She had to give up her teaching career due to her own bad choices, and isn’t going to try to go back to the Ben-Gals. Deters reports that she has been working in his office as a legal assistant, and that she’s considering law school. Crimcourts wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavors. It’s good that a lapse in judgment, while immediately devastating, won’t prevent her from moving on and having a happy, productive life. Good work by Eric Deters and the Commonwealth attorneys for working this out reasonably. #sarahjones
former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones
According to WCPO’s Kendall Herold, the plea deal has gone through. Ms. Jones left the courthouse holding hands with the victim. As part of the deal, Ms. Jones admitted to the improper, sexual relationship with the student. She will not have to register as a sex offender, and will not serve jail time. That’s the update from Ms. Herold from the courthouse, I’m sure wcpo.com will have the full story up shortly. Follow @kendallherold on Twitter. #sarahjones
UPDATE: Details are up on wcpo.com. She got
two five years of probation. It appears she pled to custodial interference and something related to the sexual misconduct charge (UPDATE: misdemeanor sexual misconduct). As I expected, there was a reduction to misdemeanors, and no sex-offender designation to entice her to enter the plea. Her mother also pled to a misdemeanor reduction. It souns like a pretty fair resolution, as the victim and his family were not seeking the prosecution, and going through a trial would have been stressful for everyone involved.
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones is set for court at 9:00 this morning. As last report, she is slated to accept a plea deal, but no details have been made available. WCPO.com has gotten confirmation from her attorney, Eric Deters, that she and her mother are prepared to enter plea deals. Deters has not responded to a twitter inquiry. Sadly for Crimcourts, I may run out of excuses to run pictures of the lovely Ms. Jones on the blog. I hope to have updates later today. #sarahjones
UPDATE: The deal does not include jail time, and she will not have to register as a sex offender, per WCPO.COM and reporter Kendall Herold. The judge still has to accept the deal, and apparently isn’t too happy about something.
former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones
Reports out of Cincinnati indicate that Sarah Jones and her mother have both reached plea agreements in their cases, and are set for court to enter a plea on Monday. WCPO reports that her attorney, Eric Deters, has confirmed a plea agreement has been reached, but I haven’t been able to glean any details. I expect that the charges will be reduced in some way- to a non-sex offense for Ms. Jones, for her to be willing to take a plea offer. Since the victim has apparently denied the alleged sexual relationship, I would not be surprised if the plea was to a mere misdemeanor and some probation, with a similar reduction for her mother’s case.
Judge Patricia Summe recently ruled that the text messages that the Defense sought to suppress would be admissible at trial. I agree with Mike Allen who commented for Fox, and said that these text messages alone would not win the case for the Commonwealth. However, not only are they quite embarrassing, they may have offered a suggestion of corroborating the allegations. Jones purportedly told the student to ‘deny everything’, which is not an admission but it gives the appearance of a guilty conscience. I will post updates on Crimcourts as they become available. #sarahjones
92 year-old Kentuckian Earl Jones heard an intruder in his house, and calmly shot him through the heart. Kentucky has codified the “Castle Doctrine”, the legal principle that a man’s home is his castle, and he has the right to defend it. It’s an element of the Florida Stand Your Ground Law, but hasn’t been as controversial as the no duty retreat in public section. Most people don’t take issue with the right to defend one’s home. As in Florida, Kentucky law gives the presumption that deadly force is correct if they are defending an unlawful and forcible entry into their homes.
Here in Fort Myers, a home defense shooting went to a Stand Your Ground immunity hearing and the case was dismissed. I doubt Mr. Earl will ever be charged, and rightfully so. The dude’s 92 and had been ripped off a couple of times in recent months. Criminals take their lives into their hands when they go into someone’s home, and especially if they do it while the occupants are home. I’d rather read this story, than a story about how an old man was killed in a home invasion.
In Florida, the surviving burglars would be facing felony murder charges. I don’t know if Kentucky’s felony murder statute is as broad. That’s a capital felony in Florida, with a minimum sentence of life without parole. They should be punished harshly, but I’m not sure they deserve life without parole when they had no hand in the killing of their codefendant.