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When Can Police Use GPS To Track Suspects?

Matt King, Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — A 2-year-old Supreme Court decision has added more confusion, rather than clarity, about how police may track the whereabouts of criminal suspects.

In 2012, the justices unanimously affirmed a lower court ruling that police made an error when they didn’t have a valid warrant but still attached a GPS tracking device to the car of a Washington, D.C., nightclub owner. It led them to a stash house for drugs.

But in three separate opinions, the justices offered different legal rationales — and that’s left a muddled legal landscape.

New technologies are developing more quickly than judges can issue opinions, and courts in different jurisdictions have reached different conclusions on similar issues, leaving law enforcement confused about what it can legally do.

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