OH1: GPS pings on stolen vehicle led to attempted knock-and-talk and observation of its tracks

Officers following a GPS ping on stolen vehicle with off-road tires came to defendant’s home for a knock-and-talk. Receiving no answer, the officer followed the driveway and saw three storage buildings. “Because the driveway is open to the public and it is not a part of the curtilage, and the detective had a right to be on the property pursuant to the investigation of the stolen equipment, the detective’s observation from the driveway of ‘fresh track marks that would be made by a track-type vehicle similar to what had been described as stolen’ leading to the inside of the building was not in violation of the Fourth Amendment.” State v. Evenson, 2022-Ohio-1336, 2022 Ohio App. LEXIS 1239 (1st Dist. Apr. 22, 2022). [Observation: Even if the observation of the tracks had been suppressed, there probably was probable cause for the warrant from the pings alone. The vehicle would not likely be in the house, and there were three storage buildings.]

The trial court erred in suppressing defendant’s cell phone. The stop of defendant’s vehicle was valid, and the phone was seized, and a search warrant obtained for it. All this was reasonable. The state preserved its argument below, and it was able to more fully develop it on appeal. People v. Alwaily, 2022 Mich. App. LEXIS 2231 (Apr. 21, 2022) (unpublished).*

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