Judge Orders Drug Evidence Suppressed in Warrantless GPS Tracking Case
A federal judge in Kentucky this week upheld a lower court’s decision to throw out crucial evidence in a drug case because the evidence was gathered with the help of a GPS tracking device that was installed without a warrant on the suspect’s vehicle.
In a 19-page ruling Tuesday, Judge Amul Thapar of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky wrote that Robert Lee’s constitutional rights were violated when drug enforcement agents illegally tracked his car and then seized 150 pounds of marijuana from it.
Thapar granted Lee’s motion to suppress the evidence, noting that it had been obtained purely as the result of a fishing expedition. “In this case, the DEA agents had their fishing poles out to catch Lee.,” Thapar wrote. “Admittedly, the agents did not intend to break the law. But they installed a GPS device on Lee’s car without a warrant ‘in the hope that something might turn up,’” he said.