D.C. Mayor Seeks to Penalize Tampering with GPS Devices

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Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser says a top priority is closing a loophole that allows criminals in the capital to cut off their GPS monitoring devices without fear that doing so could send them back to jail, the Washington Post reports. Bowser will propose a law to make tampering with any GPS device a crime, citing a case discussed this year in a Washington Post investigation. Antwon Pitt, a convict with a long record of sexual misconduct while in prison, was found with a disabled GPS monitoring device last year in a D.C. library. A judge allowed him to remain free, and he raped and beat a college professor in her home days later.

The loophole on GPS devices dates to a 2014 D.C. Court of Appeals ruling that that only criminals explicitly required to wear GPS devices by judges or the U.S. Parole Commission could be compelled to keep them on. The devices had become a common sanction of a different federal agency responsible for supervising offenders in the District. Bowser said her proposed law would make it a crime to remove any GPS device required by any “custodial or supervising agency” of the District’s convicts. The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, which is empowered by Congress to monitor convicts in the District, was responsible for Pitt when the rape occurred last year.

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