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Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Authors

Sarah Shekhter

Abstract

In 2006, California voters passed Proposition 63 ("Jessica's Law") which, among other provisions, required lifetime GPS monitoring of sex offenders. So far, California has only succeeded in fixing GPS devices to registered sex offenders on parole, yet this already constitutes the largest use of GPS monitoring anywhere in the world. A proper analysis of the constitutional issues surrounding electronic surveillance of parolees, probationers, and the released is warranted before further implementation.

This note explores past constitutional challenges to surveillance technology and sex offender legislation, applying their analyses to lifetime monitoring of sex offenders. It concludes that lifetime GPS monitoring threatens the protections of the Fourth Amendment, the ex post facto clause and the Fourteenth Amendment. This note also discusses the policy implications of using GPS devices. Beyond issues of constitutionality, this note argues that GPS monitoring raises serious concerns for society, both in terms of its costs and potential infringement on civil liberties.

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