A federal judge has ruled that law enforcement illegally placed a GPS tracking device on a Kentucky man’s car, and has barred prosecutors from using 150 pounds of marijuana discovered in a subsequent search of the vehicle.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Kentucky State Police found the cannabis in a car belonging to 49-year-old Robert Dale Lee near Lexington in September 2011 because they used the GPS tracking device to follow him without a warrant authorizing it, concluded U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar, reports Brett Barrouquere of The Associated Press
Lee is charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, but it looks like the case against him just took a huge hit now that there’s no weed.
The U.S. Supreme Court in unanimous decision in January struck down the police use of GPS devices without search warrants
. That decision—in what was likely the biggest Fourth Amendment case of the computer age—rejected the Obama Administration’s position that American citizens have no right to privacy in their public movements.
Because Lee’s case predated that decision, the outcome remained in doubt until Judge Thapar’s decision.