Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chemerinsky: Keeping Up With the Joneses—How Far Does the ‘Reasonable Expectation of Privacy’ Go?

Posted on ABA Journal by Erwin Chemerinsky
“One of the most difficult, and potentially most important cases of the U.S. Supreme Court term will be argued on Nov. 8. United States v. Jones involves the question of whether it is a search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when the police plant a GPS device on a person’s vehicle and monitor it for 24 hours a day, for 28 days.

Since Katz v. United States, decided in 1967, the Supreme Court has defined the protections of the Fourth Amendment in terms of the “reasonable expectation of privacy.” But how does that apply in this situation?

On the one hand, the court has long held that people have no expectation of privacy for their public activities. The police could have followed Jones’ car on public streets for a month, perhaps by using undercover officers, and no one would have contended that there was a search or seizure that required a warrant.”  More.

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