COLUMBUS: 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.
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.