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Dysart Willis

Monitoring due to North Carolina sex offenses considered a search

People who are convicted of a crime must face their punishments. However, some people in North Carolina who have been convicted of crimes related to sex offenses feel as if lifelong GPS monitoring is a violation of their rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently issued a ruling on one case involving such monitoring.

Many states have laws involving such GPS monitoring. While North Carolina's laws deal with sex offenders, rulings could have broader implications for states that have similar laws for the same offenses but extend them to other crimes, such as gang involvement or domestic violence. The Supreme Court has recently sent a case involving such monitoring back to state court.

According to reports, a person convicted of sex crimes could have to wear a GPS monitor for the rest of his or her life, and certain authorities would have access to his or her residence without a warrant in order to maintain the unit's base. A person required to wear such a device would also need to charge the device for four to six hours a day, requiring him or her to be plugged into a wall outlet while it charges. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such monitoring is an attempt to collect data and qualifies as a search under the Fourth Amendment. A state court must now determine whether or not such a search is considered unreasonable.

An important aspect of this country's Constitution is the protections provided to all citizens -- including those who are accused or convicted of sex offenses. People in North Carolina who face such charges will likely want an experienced attorney to help ensure that his or her rights are upheld as they navigate through the criminal justice system. With such help, he or she has a better chance of receiving a fair trial or receiving an advantageous plea deal.

Source: USA Today, "High court orders review of sex offender GPS monitoring", Richard Wolf, March 30, 2015