GA: Lifetime GPS monitoring of SVPs after parole and the SO registry unreasonable under 4A

Lifetime GPS monitoring of a sexually violent predator was a Fourth Amendment violation that does not satisfy the special needs doctrine and is unreasonable. Despite the diminished expectation of privacy of a person on post-conviction supervision, this is just too intrusive. Moreover, GPS monitoring isn’t even part of probation or parole of a sex offender. Park v. State, 2019 Ga. LEXIS 138 (Mar. 4, 2019):

The permanent application of a monitoring device and the collection of data by the State about an individual’s whereabouts twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, through warrantless GPS monitoring for the rest of that individual’s life, even after that person has served the entirety of his or her criminal sentence, constitutes a significant intrusion upon the privacy of the individual being monitored. See, e.g., United States v. Jones, 565 U. S. 400, 407 (132 SCt 945, 181 LE2d 911) (2012) (Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, which was tied to common law trespass until the latter half of the 20th century, was expanded to include an analysis of whether a violation occurred based on government officers violating a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy.). See also id. at 415 (Sotomayor, J., concurring) (“GPS monitoring generates a precise, comprehensive record of a person’s public movements that reflects a wealth of detail about her familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.”). Moreover, as discussed in further detail below, the purpose of these searches is to collect evidence of potential criminal wrongdoing that can later be used against the individuals being searched. Based on the foregoing, we must conclude that individuals who have completed their sentences do not have a diminished expectation of privacy that would render their search by a GPS monitoring device reasonable. See, e.g., Vernonia Sch. Dist. 47J, supra, 515 U. S. at 653 (II) (“Where a search is undertaken by law enforcement officials to discover evidence of criminal wrongdoing, this Court has said that reasonableness generally requires the obtaining of a judicial warrant.”).

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Here, as explained previously, the privacy interests are not minimal. See Jones, supra, 565 U. S. at 416 (Sotomayor, J., concurring) (“GPS monitoring — by making available at a relatively low cost such a substantial quantum of intimate information about any person whom the Government, in its unfettered discretion, chooses to track — may alter the relationship between citizen and government in a way that is inimical to democratic society.”) (citation and punctuation omitted). OCGA § 42-1-14 (e) authorizes a twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, search of an individual who has already served his or her entire prison sentence that reveals constant information about that person’s whereabouts for the remainder of that person’s life. Because the privacy interests involved with respect to Fourth Amendment searches of the individuals covered by OCGA § 42-1-14 (e) who are no longer serving any portion of their sentences is by no means minimal, for that reason alone, the search authorized by the statute cannot be classified as a reasonable “special needs” search. See Chandler, supra, 520 U. S. at 314 (for special needs doctrine to be applicable, privacy interests implicated in the search must be “minimal”).

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