By John R. Ellement . . . Convicted sex offenders retain a constitutional right to privacy, and those rights are being violated by a state law mandating that everyone convicted of some sex crimes wear a GPS monitoring bracelet as part of their sentence, the state’s highest court ruled Tuesday.
In a 7-0 ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court decided that privacy protections found in both the state and federal constitutions apply to sex offenders, who are entitled to a case-by-case review of whether GPS monitoring is needed to protect society.
“The government does not have an ‘unlimited’ ability to infringe upon a probationer’s still-existing, albeit diminished, expectations of privacy,’’ Justice Frank M. Gaziano wrote for the court. “GPS monitoring is not a minimally invasive search.”
The court said judges must now make an “individualized” determination that GPS monitoring is necessary in order to protect the public, especially children, from the offender, and will also decide whether GPS monitoring will help with rehabilitation of the defendant.
“Mandatory, blanket imposition of GPS monitoring on probationers, absent individualized determinations of reasonableness, is unconstitutional under the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights,’’ Gaziano wrote.