NC Supreme Court will hear GPS monitoring case

By Emery P. Dalesio, AP . . . North Carolina’s Supreme Court is re-evaluating whether forcing sex offenders to be perpetually tracked by GPS-linked devices, sometimes for the rest of their lives, is justified or a Constitution-violating unreasonable search.

The state’s highest court next month takes up the case of repeat sex offender Torrey Grady. It comes three years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his case that mandating GPS ankle monitors for ex-cons is a serious privacy concern.

“There’s different possible outcomes of the case. One is that it’s never reasonable at all. Another is that it’s reasonable, maybe while the person is still on post-release supervision” for five years after prison release, said James Markham, a professor who focuses on criminal law at the University of North Carolina’s School of Government. “Another possibility is that it’s reasonable for the rest of their life.”

Grady took his case to the nation’s top court arguing that having his movements forever monitored violated his constitutional protection against unreasonable searches. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that attaching a device to a person’s body in order to track their movements qualifies as a “search” and a question of constitutional rights. But the decision left it up to states to decide whether imposed monitoring is reasonable, and for how long.

States are still at work answering that question, with Michigan and Wisconsin among the handful that have considered whether long-term electronic monitoring’s public benefit outweighs the privacy rights of the sex offender. Both decided it constituted a reasonable search. Delaware’s Supreme Court last year rejected a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union to a law requiring GPS monitoring of certain sex offenders complained the ankle bracelets were embarrassing, sometimes painful and an invasion of privacy.

North Carolina’s Supreme Court will consider Grady’s case on Dec. 3 as well as a second challenging the GPS tracking ordered for Darren Gentle. The combination would give the justices “an opportunity to compare and contrast those different situations,” Markham said.

Read the full piece here at News & Record

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    • #48775 Reply

      Continuous search is abhorrent to free men and free movement. To be sure the general public will land upon the side that upholds continuous search for persons like Mr. Grady. The public likes to know where he is at all times. I have little doubt some North Carolina folks would be just fine having a tracking chip implanted in Mr. Grady.

      The sex offender pathology was the very reason used to justify GOV use of the DATABASE ex post in the first place. Electronic means of search are popular with LEO and their unions have embraced their unconscionable and unconstitutional use. The ATFs operation fast and furious used tracking devices hidden in the stock’s of guns. LEOs use of GPS trackers placed without warrant upon vehicles of those suspected of drug trafficking has been rejected by SCOTUS. Simply put LEO knowingly violates or cheats the rights first then courts provide relief later. Packingham case proves that absolutely. I still do not know about those convicted before his case. Obviously all those similarly situated were indeed not provided a constitutional process and were wrongly convicted.
      Robin, what was the resolution of the pre-packingham folks?

    • #48915 Reply

      In NC v. Griffin, No. COA17-386, decided August 7, 2018, the NC Court of Appeals directly quoted the 4th Circuit (Doe v. Cooper, 842 F.2d 833, 846 (4th Cir. 2016), addressing premises restrictions) when addressing this very issue:

      “The State tries to overcome its lack of data, social science
      or scientific research, legislative findings, or other
      empirical evidence with a renewed appeal to anecdotal case
      law, as well as to “logic and common sense.” But neither
      anecdote, common sense, nor logic, in a vacuum, is
      sufficient to carry the State’s burden of proof.”

      I seriously doubt the NCAG can get around this reasoning for necessity of the law requiring lifetime satellite monitoring in general. I would think he would try to concentrate on Grady’s case and circumstances here to paint all registrants with the same brush. Unfortunately, I would think the NCSC would buy into that approach. Pretty sure they did in Packingham.

    • #49643 Reply

      Wondering Robin’s opinion on this and also, any updates he or anyone else has from the day’s proceedings

    • #50640 Reply

      This disappeared from the court calender. Any updates?

    • #50835 Reply
      Buttered Biskit

      in Wisconsin, a sex offender with 2 crimes must register AND be on electronic monitoring for life. This has become to be as of September 2018.

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