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On November 18, 2011, charges was bought against Antoine Jones for possession of drug trafficking. The case was the Supreme Court of the United States, No. 10-1259, Citation 565 U.S 132 s. Ct. 945, 181 L. Ed 2d 911; United States, petitioner v. Antoine Jones. All 9 parties of the Supreme Court were present for the trail as well as the plaintiffs which were the law enforcements along with Deputy Michael R. Dreeben and the defendant Antoine Jones. Each party hand a chance to deliberate their opinions and stating their case against Antoine Jones. This case was not only bought into court just for Mr. Jones’s cocaine distribution but for authorities violating Antoine Jones Fourth Amendment rights by planting a GPS device on Jones’s vehicle without his consent. The law requires that a warrant must be obtained before law enforcements can attach anything to an individual’s private property with consent. Authorities did not have a warrant to affix a GPS device to Antoine Jones’s vehicle nor did they obtain Jones’s permission.

  Antoine Jones was a proprietor of a club when authorities put him under surveillance because they suspect that Jones was distributing cocaine. Through various investigations, law enforcement was given a warrant to implant a tracking device on Jones’s vehicle. The vehicle belongs to Jones’s wife; however he was listed as a driver. Authorities were given 10 days from the date the warrant was received to plant the device on the vehicle in the District of Columbia. However, law enforcement decided to attach the device on the 11th day in Maryland which was out of the warrant grace period as well as in another district.  Experts fixated the device on the base of the vehicle while it was parked in Jones’s opened garage to track its movement.[1] The vehicle was followed up to 100ft allowing authorities to generate multiple data for a period of 28 days. Law enforcement were able to gain enough evidence to obtain an arraignment against Antoine Jones for possession of drug trafficking.

The controversy in this case is that Jones’s Fourth Amendment right was violated because a GPS tracking device was installed on his wife vehicle without their permission or consent. It was also the fact that weather or not the evidence that was retrieved when law enforcement illegally attached a tracking device to the vehicle could be used to convict Jones on drug charges who was sentence to life in prison. According to the Fourth Amendment citizens have the right to be secure in their houses, papers and effects against an reasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated an no warrants shall be issue, but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and person or thing to be seized.[2]

The United States district court for the District of Columbia is where the case first started. From there it went to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. After being trialed in the District of Columbia court of Appeals, in August of 2010 it went to the United States Supreme Court. The District of Columbia had original jurisdiction in the case and first trailed Jones in 2006 where the jury returned with a guilty verdict on one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute 5 or more kg of cocaine and 50 more grams of cocaine base.  The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled out Jones’s conviction because the data that was transmitted from the device that was implanted on Jones’s vehicle was not submersible in court due to the protection of the Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court of the United States proceeded with the case in 2011 where a verdict was received in January 2012.

The Supreme Court voted unanimously and the judge expelled the case and ruled the case as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Authorities’ broke the law by trespassing on private property and planting a tracking device without a valet warrant or consent. On January 23, 2012 the Supreme Court held that the Government’s installation of a GPS device on a person vehicle and its use of that device to monitor the vehicles’ movement constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment.[3] The majority argued that putting a GPS device on private property would be considered trespassing on private property and that it constitutes Jones’s Fourth Amendment rights. The minority argued that the Fourth amendment was not violated in that particular situation because Jones was under suspicion of drug trafficking and they had the right to install a GPS device on Jones’s vehicle. They argue the fourth Amendment can be breached under certain circumstances and situations. The minority concurred in the judgment but criticized the framing of the question in terms of trespass to property and believed that such a construction of the problem strained the language of the Fourth Amendment and that it would be better to analyze the case by determining whether the Government violated Jones’ reasonable expectations of privacy.[4]

The Supreme Court decision was reach by analyzing and researching the Fourth Amendment and basing their findings on the fact that authorities should not rely on technology and should not neglect the citizens of the United States rights of the Fourth Amendment when it’s concerning the use of a warrant and trespassing. These findings was also based on the property base analysis and the cases of Katz v. U.S and that the Government key tracking cases, U.S. v. Knotts as well as U.S. v. Karo. Those analysis states “that it does not foreclose the more expansive reasonable expectation for privacy and the Government’s key tracking cases were inapplicable and thus not controlling.”[5]

The rulings of the court may have effect on some Americans because some may agree that even without a tracking device law enforcements can still follow you and put you under surveillance without you knowing. The recognition the Supreme Court display for this case has secured each citizen by protecting the Fourth Amendment.  It has allowed authorities to understand and recognize that they cannot get around the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment by using technology to search an individual’s property without a proper warrant. The Court’s resolution emphasized the importance of the verifiable purpose and objective of the Fourth Amendment rights. It has prompted society that the privacy law was fused into the Constitution of the United States to secure the citizens against government trespasses against law enforcement or others and their private property. I believe that the rulings did not affect the interpretation and enforcement of any particular law.


  1. Brittany Boatman, United States v. Jones: The Foolish revival of the “Trespass Doctrine” in Addressing GPS Technology and the Fourth Amendment, http://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2292&context=vulr (last visited May 20, 2017).
  2. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/United_States_of_America_1992 (last visited Mar 20, 2017).
  3. United States v. Jones (2012) https://en.wikipedia.org/w/indes.php?title=Uniteds_States_Jones(2012)&oldid=770405758 (last visited mar. 20, 2017)
  4. United States v. Jones, Oyez, https://www.oyez.org/cases/2011/10-1259 (last visited Mar 20, 2017).
  5. United States v. Jones Concerning Warrantless GPS installation and Tracking Under the Fourth Amendment, United States v. Jones Concerning Warrantless GPS installation and Tracking Under the Fourth Amendment, http://epic.org/amicus/jones/ (last visited Mar 20, 2017).