N.D.Ga.: Carpenter does not apply to GPS information yet

Defendant’s Carpenter argument against police capturing his GPS information fails. SCOTUS hasn’t ruled yet, but existing law permits it. United States v. Rogers, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33869 (N.D.Ga. Feb. 25, 2022):

Defendant relies upon Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018), in support of the argument that law enforcement’s gathering of his GPS and CSLI location information was a search under the Fourth Amendment. He suggests that the Court should extend the holding in Carpenter to find that GPS location information constitutes a search because it presents similar privacy concerns. The gist of Defendant’s argument is that governing Eleventh Circuit precedent (Karo & Knotts) are a “bad fit” for new cell phones and GPS location technology.

As noted by Judge Fuller, the parties concede that the Fourth Amendment implications of real-time CSLI or GPS tracking has yet to be squarely addressed by either the Supreme Court or the Eleventh Circuit. [R&R at 17-18]. Therefore, even if persuaded by the defense argument, this Court is obliged to follow existing circuit precedent. Moreover, even if the real-time tracking could be deemed a Fourth Amendment search, the Court also agrees that the Government met its burden to demonstrate exigent circumstances based upon the testimony of Detective Manthe and, in particular, his testimony that he had reason to believe that the life of the suspect’s kidnapping victim (Bridget Pounds) was in danger.

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