Last week, the Third Circuit decided in an 8-5 ruling that prosecutors could use evidence gathered after a GPS device was placed on a suspect's van without a warrant. The lower court had disagreed, as had a three-judge panel of the appeals court, but the government appealed which led to a rehearing before all 13 circuit judges.
The court essentially found that the police may have reasonably believed that they did not need a warrant under existing law. This was certainly not good news for the Katzin brothers who are accused of burglarizing pharmacies in the Philadelphia area. The brothers have been free on bail, but will now be given a trial date.
As you might expect, this extension of the good faith exception to the Fourth Amendment generated a lot of controversy. The Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.) did a good story on the decision. While I understand the need to balance what the court called the "substantial costs of suppression" against the value of deterring law enforcement's constitutional overreach, my gut generally favors protecting constitutional rights for fear that failure to do so will encourage still more overreaching by law enforcement.