Constitutional Faces: The Retrial of Antoine Jones of Jones v. United States

March 3rd, 2012

This time, without any evidence seized from the GPS search:

Geise said prosecutors are examining evidence not related to the data investigators obtained from the GPS device.

Jones’ lawyer, A. Eduardo Balarezo, a Washington solo practitioner, said in court today that he anticipates he will challenge the admissibility of any evidence that flowed from the tracking of his client.

Jones, jailed since his arrest in 2005, has tried unsuccessfully several times to win his freedom since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated his conviction.

“We’d like to have a trial sooner rather than later, given that he has now been incarcerated for about seven years,” Balarezo told reporters after the hearing.

Balarezo said he doesn’t expect a substantively different trial this time around—save for the absence of the GPS data. The lack of that evidence “will leave a gap” for prosecutors, he said.

For Jones, who was in court today, the trial will be his third. The first jury acquitted him on most charges. Prosecutors later retried him only on the conspiracy count. A jury in 2008 convicted him on that charge, which carried a mandatory life sentence.

Update: Instead, they are using cell phone tower location data instead of GPS Data!
Prosecutors said they intend to use cell tower data in place of the GPS information, court records show. Cell tower data was not used in either of the first two trials involving Jones.
And from the Times:

The internal documents, which were provided to The New York Times, open a window into a cloak-and-dagger practice that police officials are wary about discussing publicly. While cell tracking by local police departments has received some limited public attention in the last few years, the A.C.L.U. documents show that the practice is in much wider use — with far looser safeguards — than officials have previously acknowledged.

The issue has taken on new legal urgency in light of a Supreme Court ruling in January finding that a Global Positioning System tracking device placed on a drug suspect’s car violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches. While the ruling did not directly involve cellphones — many of which also include GPS locators — it raised questions about the standards for cellphone tracking, lawyers say.

The police records show many departments struggling to understand and abide by the legal complexities of cellphone tracking, even as they work to exploit the technology.