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Decision Commonwealth v. Johnson

Date: 04/07/2017
Organization: Appeals Court

Table of Contents

Commonwealth v. Johnson

Commonwealth v. Jamie B. Johnson
Appeals Court, April 7, 2017
(Search and Seizure/GPS Device)

The collection and the analysis of GPS data, as occurred in this case (where the defendant consented to being tracked by a GPS device as part of his pretrial release), was not a search in the constitutional sense. By agreeing to the terms of his release at his arraignment, i.e., an agreement to provide the probation department with his constant and continuous location, the defendant failed to manifest a subjective expectation of privacy in that information. “[E]ven if the defendant harbored a subjective expectation of privacy in the GPS data, we nonetheless conclude that society would not be ‘”willing to recognize that expectation as reasonable.’” Commonwealth v. Montanez, 410 Mass. 290, 301 (1991). The Court factored into this analysis the following: the defendant does not control, possess, or have access to the ELMO system; the defendant did not have a possessory interest in the data; the defendant did not take any steps to protect any privacy interest; and the nature of the intrusion was one the defendant voluntarily agreed to.