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NJ Says Cops Need Warrants to Track Cell Phones

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Jul 19, 2013, 10:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The New Jersey State Supreme Court handed citizens of The Garden State a victory against the tracking efforts of law enforcement on Thursday. The court ruled that police must first obtain a warrant before tracking suspects' cell phones. The ruling is one of the first such in the country and may set the tone for similar cases around the country. The decision was the result of an appeal made by Thomas Earls, who was arrested on burglary charges in 2006. Earls contended that law enforcement tracked his location via cell phone without obtaining a warrant and in so doing violated his state-protected privacy rights. New Jersey's state constitution contains stricter privacy safeguards than even the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment. "Cell phones are not meant to serve as tracking devices to locate their owners wherever they may be," wrote Chief Justice Stuart Rabner of the decision. "People buy cell phones to communicate with others, to use the internet, and for a growing number of other reasons. But no one buys a cell phone to share detailed information about their whereabouts with the police."

NJ.com »



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Jul 19, 2013, 11:35 AM

I wonder...

I wonder what he will receive as compensation. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets half the appropriate penalty just because of this... Certainly a little compensation for the breach may be in order, but I bet he gets way more than he deserves. Reminds me of a case I read about once where an individual was robbing a home and got locked in the garage somehow whilst trying to escape. He was trapped there for 6 days, until the family arrived home from vacation. He survived on a case of mountain dews and some dog food that was left in the garage. The family pressed charges for burglary, he counter sued for cruel and unusual punishment for his entrapment. He won and then family had to confer a large sum. I think he still spent a little time in pri...
Most likely, any evidence gathered as a result of the tracking will be thrown out, and a new trial will be ordered. At that point, the DA will decide if the evidence that's left will be enough to get a conviction, and he or she will decide whether to...
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