Target: North Carolina Chief Justice, Mark Martin
Goal: End lifetime GPS tracking of people who have already served their full sentence in jail.
A man who went to jail for only three years was sentenced to a lifetime of GPS monitoring. At first glance, tracking repeat sex offenders is an excellent idea. However, when actually looked at from a rights standpoint, lifetime GPS tracking infringes upon the Fourth Amendment. If a person cannot ever be trusted without a GPS tracker, then why is that person outside of jail?
As a society, accepting such tracking of citizens is a violation of what we stand for. Such GPS tracking probably is safer, but at what cost? Why not just be perfectly safe and track everyone? We are all potential criminals in the end. North Carolina courts must not allow this precedent to be set.
In response to the North Carolina man who went to jail for three years being issued a lifetime GPS tracker, the Supreme Court overturned a ruling by the state courts that sought to make lifetime GPS trackers not be considered a “search” under the Fourth Amendment. It then hurdled the ball back to the North Carolina state courts.
The question should not be about whether or not it is reasonable to track sex offenders. Instead, look at the broad picture–we should be questioning what other precedents this type of ruling would set. States are also considering GPS tracking of gang members and domestic abusers. If that type of tracking is allowed, what next? Should all former criminals have GPS tracking?
It takes four to six hours to charge a tracker, meaning that a human being must be plugged into a wall socket for that much time. Additionally, the government is allowed to enter the person’s home routinely to check on the GPS equipment. Does committing a crime mean that the criminal is no longer eligible to the rights that citizenships confers, regardless of whether or not they have finished their sentence? Such an outlook condemns a person forever and suggests that no one is capable of change.
This is wrong. It appeals to gut instincts about protection but “just trying to make good people safe” has resulted in terrible crimes. Protest this gross violation of citizenship.
Dear Chief Justice Martin,
Lifetime GPS trackers are a gross violation of American rights. They only set a precedent for government control in an area that the government has no business being. We could make America incredibly safe by GPS tracking every citizen–we’re all potential criminals–but presuming guilt does not make for a just society.
We take risks because we are willing to make sacrifices for our rights. People who have paid their dues in jail should not have to be cursed with a lifetime of the government tracking them at every moment of the day. Additionally, such tracking would be at great expense.
It is undeniable that we would be safer from sex offenders if they all had lifetime GPS trackers, but where would that end? The point is not what one gauges as being “more dangerous” or “more guilty” because everyone is going to disagree on that. The point is how we treat our citizens. In a decade, we might decide that radicals are more dangerous than sex offenders. Should the government be willing to GPS track all of them?
If a citizen is so dangerous that he cannot be trusted on the streets, then leave him in jail or get him to a psychiatrist. If he is safe enough that you are willing to let him wander the streets, he should be safe enough to not be tracked like an animal for the rest of his life.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Toni Lozano