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Conviction Reversed Due to Warrantless GPS Tracking Device

Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, in addition to being a convenience to people who use it voluntarily on their mobile devices, can also be a useful tool in an investigation. But in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that law enforcement authorities installing a GPS device on a vehicle to track the vehicle was a search requiring a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement. Prior to that decision (U.S. v. Jones), the law was not settled that attaching such as a device was search. In the recent Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals decision in State v. Phifer, M2013-01401-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 9-23-2014), the appellate court declined to apply a good faith exception where authorities installed a tracking device on a suspect vehicle prior to the ruling in U.S. v. Jones.

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