U.S. Supreme Court ruling changes valley police practices - CBS 5 - KPHO

U.S. Supreme Court ruling changes valley police practices

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police must get a judge's approval to use GPS technology to track criminal activity.

Phoenix police spokesman Det. James Holmes said Phoenix police have used GPS tracking devices frequently in drug, gang and violent crime cases. Holmes said the department has found the tool extremely helpful but that they would change how they do business.

"We're going to stop immediately using GPS devices without probable cause and without search warrants, but again, it's going to slow us down, but we're still going to be able to do our jobs," said Holmes.

Defense attorney Scott Maasen said the ruling shows that the Supreme Court believes in the right to privacy.

"It says that the police can't surveil and surreptitiously follow us around until they get a judge to sign off on it first. And they have to do a number of steps to do that in order to follow the rules," said Maasen.

One of Maasen's clients is Jerice Hunter, who according to Glendale police is the prime suspect in the disappearance of her 5-year-old daughter, Jhessye Shockley.

Last month, CBS 5 news talked with two people who said they found GPS tracking devices on their cars after befriending Hunter and helping with rides to appointments. One of the women said they didn't know what it was and when she drove to the dealership to have them look at it, a Glendale police detective approached her and demanded his property back.

Glendale police would not confirm they were using GPS to keep track of Hunter's movements.

CBS 5 contacted Glendale police to see if they too would stop using GPS unless they have a warrant.

In an email, a department spokeswoman said, "We would not want to comment until we can review the ruling ourselves as well as determine its impact on our department."

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