Wisconsin police can attach GPS to cars to secretly track anybody's movements without obtaining search warrants, an appeals court ruled Thursday.After all the cases of stalking and resulting death, I'm for this.
However, the District 4 Court of Appeals said it was "more than a little troubled" by that conclusion and asked Wisconsin lawmakers to regulate GPS use to protect against abuse by police and private individuals.
As the law currently stands, the court said police can mount GPS on cars to track people without violating their constitutional rights -- even if the drivers aren't suspects.
The ruling came in a 2003 case involving Michael Sveum, a Madison man who was under investigation for stalking. Police got a warrant to put a GPS on his car and secretly attached it while the vehicle was parked in Sveum's driveway. The device recorded his car's movements for five weeks before police retrieved it and downloaded the information.Now we're just awaiting this law in the legislature.
The information suggested Sveum was stalking the woman, who had gone to police earlier with suspicions. Police got a second warrant to search his car and home, found more evidence and arrested him. He was convicted of stalking and sentenced to prison.
Sveum, 41, argued the tracking violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. He argued the device followed him into areas out of public view, such as his garage.
The court disagreed.