This case argues for the need to obtain probable cause warrant before using a GPS tracking device

Case Background

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota filed a brief in State v. Liebl, a case that questions the validity of warrantless GPS tracking in the context of a Department of Natural Resources investigation. The ACLU-MN argues in its brief that the attachment of a GPS device and the subsequent tracking of Liebl's movements violated the Fourth Amendment because the mobile tracking order obtained by the DNR was not based on a finding of probable cause. The District court had previously ruled against the DNR and suppressed evidence in the case based on the DNR's warrantless search, however, the DNR appealed and the case is currently in front of the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The Department of Natural Resources secretly placed a GPS tracking device on the truck of Joshua Dwight Liebl in 2014. The DNR obtained a "tracking order," which does not require a showing of probable cause, for Liebl's vehicle because they suspected he was poaching deer.

The ACLU-MN is only taking a position on whether evidence obtained against Liebl should be suppressed based on the DNR's failure to get a valid, probable cause warrant before it tracked Liebl's movements with a GPS tracking device.

Date filed

June 29, 2016