Associated Press . . . North Carolina’s second-highest court says authorities can’t force a sex-offender to wear a monitoring device for decades because evidence fails to show that tracking protects the public.
A divided three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that because officials presented no evidence that satellite-based monitoring is effective, it violates the U.S. Constitution’s bar against unreasonable searches.
The U.S. Supreme Court set that constitutional standard in a 2015 North Carolina decision.
Tuesday’s case involved Thomas Earl Griffin, who spent 11 years in prison for abusing the pre-teen daughter of his live-in girlfriend. A Craven County judge in 2016 ruled he must wear a tracking device for 30 years.
Griffin did not challenge being ordered to register as a sex offender, but argued that the trial court violated his Fourth Amendment rights by ordering him to submit to continuous satellite-based monitoring for 30 years.
“After careful review of the record and applicable law, we are compelled to agree,” the Court of Appeals opinion reads.
Judge Wanda Bryant disagreed, saying it expands the state’s burden of demonstrating the risk of a sex-offender repeating his crimes.
“By requiring our trial courts to find the efficacy of (satellite-based monitoring) in curbing sex offender recidivism in order to satisfy Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches in the context of (satellite-based monitoring), the majority would impose a standard other than is required by Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” Bryant wrote in her dissent.