United States v. Antoine Jones
Antoine Jones ran a (now-defunct) club called Levels in DC (located in
NE at 1950 Montana) with his partner Lawrence Maynard. Based on
suspicions of cocaine trafficking out of the club, the FBI and
the DC police department began to investigate Jones and
Maynard. In the course of this investigation, a warrant was
obtained authorizing the police to secretly place a GPS
transponder on Jones' vehicle and track his movements. The
police waited until the warrant had expired, then placed the
device and tracked Jones' movements for a month.
Jones was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with
intent to distribute and sentenced to life in prison on the basis of
this evidence. Jones appealed the district court's sentence to the US
court of appeals in DC, which overturned the conviction. The US
justice department appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear
the case. I was involved in the preparation of
along with the EFF and a number of others in support of
Jones. The EFF has an excellent
the Jones case (including the other amicus briefs), and the Supreme
on the case has the complete collection of documents.
An essential point to note about the case is that whatever one might
think about constitutional protections against pervasive GPS tracking
in public space, inference techniques are so good that such tracking
would lead to a great deal of information about an individual's
Oral arguments were heard on November 8th, 2011.
The Supreme Court held that the government's actions were unconstitutional.
(The opinion is here
There has been excellent media coverage of the case.