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Government Must Get Warrant for GPS for Car, Appeals Court Rules

By Andrea Peterson
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled Tuesday that the government must obtain a warrant to attach a GPS unit to a car.

The case involved alleged pharmacy burglaries in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland: the authorities suspected a trio of brothers and slapped a magnetic GPS unit to one of their vehicles after consulting the U.S. Attorney’s office — but without obtaining a warrant. Using the evidence gathered from the device, the vehicle was tracked to a recently burglarized RiteAid. Police stopped the brothers shortly afterward, and a search allegedly revealed items from the RiteAid.

In the resulting case, U.S. v. Katzin, the brothers argued that the evidence obtained as a result of the GPS unit should be inadmissible because the police had not obtained a warrant.

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