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Evidence thrown out after authorities failed to obtain warrant

As a citizen of the United States, Michigan residents have rights. Whether you are accused of a crime or not, those rights must be upheld.

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. In January, the Supreme Court ruled that during investigations, a warrant must be issued before police can use a GPS tracking device. That specific ruling has helped one man who is facing charges for an alleged drug crime.

Last September, a 49-year-old man was allegedly caught with 150 pounds of marijuana in his car. Authorities were tipped off that the man would be transporting the marijuana from Chicago to Kentucky. While the man was meeting with a probation officer, authorities placed a GPS tracking device on his car.

The man has a criminal record. If he is convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, he could face more than two decades in prison.

However, a federal judge recently ruled that the marijuana that was found in the man's car is inadmissible in court because the GPS device was placed on his car without a proper warrant. Without the evidence, it seems unlikely that the man will face time behind bars.

A case like this shows that a person's rights must be upheld even by authorities who promise to protect and serve the public.

It also shows how valuable a strong criminal defense can be. The man's attorney used the Supreme Court's ruling to argue that the marijuana was unlawfully found. Without his attorney's aggressive actions, the man may have lost years of his life behind bars.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Fed judge: GPS use illegal in Ky. Drug bust," Associated Press, May 23, 2012

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