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Ohio prosecutor appealing ruling on GPS tracking

Published: April 9, 2014 10:46 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A prosecutor said he will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to consider whether police can use GPS devices to track vehicles without a warrant.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien will request an appeal of last week's ruling by a county appeals court that threw out evidence in a burglary case because a detective placed a GPS device on a suspect's car without asking a judge for a warrant, according to The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1oLKQ00 ).

Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Holbrook ruled in February 2013 that some evidence against 22-year-old burglary suspect Montie Sullivan was inadmissible because it violated his constitutional right against illegal searches.

Holbrook relied on a 2012 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that found that placing a GPS device on a vehicle and tracking it constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. That ruling, however, did not address the need for a warrant.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld the ruling.

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Sullivan's attorney said the appeals court decision means that prosecutors "have no evidence left" against him.

The Franklin County detective placed the device on the outside of a car registered to Sullivan in a public parking lot on Jan. 14, 2010, after Sullivan and another man were linked to a series of home invasions. The car's movements were monitored until the detective noticed the car lingering in the area of a residence south of Columbus on Jan. 23.

Within minutes, a resident reported a home invasion. By the time deputies arrived, two gunmen had fled after shooting through a side door. The GPS was used to track the pair to an apartment, where they were arrested.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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