M.D.Ala.: Information from seller’s GPS tracker on used car didn’t require a SW

Tracking a used car by its GPS for repossession didn’t violate the Fourth Amendment. Defendant bought a used car apparently to use in a robbery. A license plate reader identified the car and the police easily tracked it back to the dealer. The car had a GPS tracker for potential repossession. Police got the dealer to give the location and they found it and defendant. United States v. Jackson, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85800 (M.D.Ala. Mar. 15, 2022):

This motion presents the issue of whether police must first obtain a warrant before utilizing GPS tracking information provided by a car dealer to locate a vehicle. Under the facts here, the answer is no. Defendant, Lakeylea Andre Jackson, Jr. (“Jackson”), is charged with three Hobbs Act robberies in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), three counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Indictment (Doc. 1). The charges all stem from a string of armed robberies of Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores in Montgomery, Alabama, that occurred in December 2019. Police spotted a suspicious car near one of the robberies and utilized GPS location information provided by a car dealer without a warrant to find the vehicle. It was parked behind a row of townhouses. They set up surveillance on the vehicle, saw Jackson leave one of the townhouses and enter the car, and arrested him after a brief chase and foot pursuit. Police later obtained a state warrant to search the townhouse and car.

Jackson now argues that all physical and testimonial evidence obtained by police through use of the GPS location data should be suppressed. Mot. (Doc. 28) at 2. Undersigned held an evidentiary hearing on February 14, 2022, and for the reasons that follow, RECOMMENDS that Jackson’s motion to suppress be DENIED in its entirety.

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