Judge Admits GPS Evidence In Md. Burglary Case

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In one of the first such cases in the nation, a Baltimore County judge ruled that evidence obtained through a global positioning system (GPS) device can be admitted in court, says the Northeast Booster. “The technology of TV has never been adjudicated by the courts of Maryland. That’s almost what we are dealing with here,” said Judge Dana Levitz. At issue was evidence collected against Ronald Diehl, 33, who was charged with several counts of burglary and theft stemming from incidents at two construction sites. Defense attorney David McGill argued that the evidence obtained through GPS tracking devices placed on his client’s vehicle should not be admissible because such technology has not been accepted by the scientific community as reliable.

The use of such tracking systems is an emerging technology in law enforcement, said P.J. Doyle of CJIS Group, a Florida-based criminal justice research firm. The system features 24 satellites in orbit 11,200 miles from Earth. Signals sent from any four satellites to global positioning satellite receivers provide enough information to pinpoint a receiver’s location within 20 to 100 yards. Levitz noted he’d used GPS technology himself, citing a voice-navigation system that provided directions for his wife’s trip to Richmond for a funeral. “It’s such a common everyday technology that it’s hard for me to imagine how it could be questioned as to whether it’s generally accepted,” Levitz said.

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