StarChase statement on the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. (2012)
The Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Jones does not bar law enforcement’s use of the StarChase Pursuit Management System. In Jones, the Supreme Court held that long-term tracking of a criminal suspect’s automobile via a GPS device constituted an unconstitutional Fourth Amendment “search.”
The holding in Jones, however, is narrow, and does not bar law enforcement’s use of the StarChase Pursuit Management System, which is called into action at the commission of a crime. The Court in Jones did not hold that a warrant is required before a GPS device may be installed and used to track an automobile. Rather, it only held that a Fourth Amendment “search” has occurred in such a situation. By failing to state that a warrant is required, the Court left open the possibility that use of a GPS tracking device on an automobile may still be a reasonable search in some circumstances, such as immediately after the commission of a crime, even absent a valid warrant.
The StarChase Pursuit Management System is used by law enforcement for short-term monitoring directly after the commission of a crime. Even though Jones makes clear that attaching the StarChase GPS device and collecting information from it constitutes a “search,” the use of the StarChase Pursuit Management System is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment because the officers have probable cause to believe the vehicle they are tracking is being used in the commission or active escape from a crime. The StarChase Pursuit Management System is deployed in exigent circumstances, primarily, the high speed pursuit, stolen vehicle or other in progress felony. Such use under Jones remains constitutional.
The StarChase mission is to increase law enforcement’s safety zone in one of its most dangerous and deadly situations thereby reducing the risk of property damage, personal injury and loss of life. The StarChase Pursuit Management Technology provides law enforcement with a tool that allows for thoughtful, strategic and safe intervention in a high risk and dangerous situation.