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Criminal Defense Blog

Supreme Court of Georgia Strikes Down Lifetime Electronic Monitoring of "Sexually Dangerous Predators"

Posted by Ryan Brown | Mar 04, 2019 | 0 Comments

In the past couple of weeks SCOTUS has published quite a few opinions that were victories for the civil liberties afforded Americans in the United States Constitution. Today, Chief Justice Melton continued freedom's hot streak. 

In 2003 Mr. Joseph Park was convicted of several crimes and sentenced to a twelve year sentence, eight of years of which he had to serve in confinement. When he was released, the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board (a bureaucratic board of a government agency) reviewed his case and classified Mr. Park as a "sexually dangerous predator." Because of this classification, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 42-1-14, he was required to pay for, and wear, a GPS device for the rest of his life. 

Mr. Joseph Park challenged O.C.G.A. § 42-1-14 which requires, in part, that a person classified as a "sexually dangerous predator" - but who is no longer on probation or parole - pay for and wear a GPS monitoring so that the State may track his or her location for the rest of their lives. 

The Supreme Court of Georgia held that requiring a person who is not on probation or parole to wear such a GPS device violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The court answered quite a few questions. First, they determined that required someone to wear a monitoring device is in fact a search as contemplated by the 4th Amendment. These devices locates, records, and reports their wearers location to the State at all times, even after they complete their criminal sentence. In 2015, the United States's Supreme Court ruled that such location requirements are in fact a search as contemplated by the Fourth Amendment. 

Second, the court had to determine whether the search was reasonable. For a search to be reasonable a search must be based on individualized suspicion of wrongdoing. The court held that the law requiring said tracking of a person who has completed their entire criminal sentence is unreasonable.  

The court held that because lifelong monitoring, after a sentence is complete, is patently unreasonable the particular code section is unconstitutional. 

A good day for freedom.

Don't Fight Alone. 

About the Author

Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown has always hated bullies. Growing up, Ryan took on bullies, fighting for those who needed his help. His parents always told him, "Never start a fight, but always defend yourself." When a prosecutor brings charges against you, they have picked a legal fight. You must defend yourself. P...


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