Realtime cell phone GPS tracking of a fugitive for 7+ hours was not a “search” under the Fourth Amendment, following United States v. Skinner, 690 F.3d 772, 781 (6th Cir. 2012). United States v. Riley, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9900 (6th Cir. June 5, 2017):
This case calls upon us to clarify the rules by which police may seek to find miscreants: When a fugitive subject to an arrest warrant for armed robbery hides in a motel, may the government track his cell phone’s GPS coordinates to locate and arrest him?
Yes, the district court held—and we affirm, holding that the government’s detection of Montai Riley’s whereabouts in this case, which included tracking Riley’s real-time GPS location data for approximately seven hours preceding his arrest, did not amount to a Fourth Amendment search under our precedent in United States v. Skinner, 690 F.3d 772, 781 (6th Cir. 2012). The government used Riley’s GPS location data to learn that Riley was hiding out at the Airport Inn in Memphis, Tennessee—but only after inquiring of the front-desk clerk did the government ascertain Riley’s specific room number in order to arrest him. The GPS tracking thus provided no greater insight into Riley’s whereabouts than what Riley exposed to public view as he traveled “along public thoroughfares,” id. at 774, to the hotel lobby. Therefore, under Skinner, Riley has no reasonable expectation of privacy against such tracking, and the district court properly denied Riley’s motion to suppress evidence found upon Riley’s arrest.