Ohio law is playing catch-up with the increasing police practice of secretly installing GPS devices on suspects' vehicles to track their travels and potentially crack crimes, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Two Columbus-area prosecutors are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to clarify state law on law enforcement use of the devices to remotely follow criminal suspects. And changes are being proposed in Ohio court rules to directly address search warrants to install tracking devices.
The rules now make no distinction between warrants to search property or track vehicles. Police and prosecutors argue that search warrants should not be required to track vehicles in some cases, because law permits searches of vehicles without warrants for evidence of crimes when officers have probable cause. But criminal-defense lawyers counter that permitting police to place tracking devices on cars without warrants is a violation of the constitutional prohibition against illegal search and seizure.