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TMCNet:  Wisconsin court rules police use of GPS in burglary case OK [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

[February 07, 2013]

Wisconsin court rules police use of GPS in burglary case OK [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MADISON, Wis. - Police did not violate a Wisconsin man's constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure when they impounded his car and secretly installed a GPS device on it, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.


James Brereton, 46, of Janesville, was stopped in the fall of 2007 in Walworth County by police who suspected him in a number of burglaries there and in neighboring Rock County. The police impounded the Pontiac vehicle Brereton and a companion were driving and secretly installed a GPS device.

Police obtained a warrant from a Walworth County Circuit Court judge to "place an electronic tracking device" on the Pontiac, but the warrant did not specify the device's features in detail.

Brereton was arrested four days after the GPS was installed at a home that had been broken into, and police found evidence on site, according to court documents. Brereton contended the police's warrant was invalid because the GPS provided "real-time" location tracking, which he said exceeded the warrant's scope.

He made a motion to suppress evidence in the case, but an appeals court denied it, saying police acted reasonably in executing the warrant. In a 6-1 decision, Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the appeals court ruling.

(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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