GPS GOES CRAZY

A convicted rapist is on probation and is required to wear a GPS tracking device. As part of the GPS law he is prohibited from going to certain places; these places are called exclusion zones. On January 3, 2011 he was at home when his probation officer called him and told him that he had violated an exclsuion zone and the police were coming to arrest him. He exlaimed to his probation officer that he had not left the house and had not been anywhere near the exclusion zone (the home of the victim who lives across and down the street). Attorney Lewin called the Probation Officer and insisted that they check the accuracy of the GPS device. It turned out that the GPS device was giving off what are called “floating points”; these are points on the tracking maps that are not accurate. They are false tracking points. In this case the tracking points showed the offender literally walking across a pond. In addition the tracking points showed the offender moving a distance of 100 yards in 2 seconds. On Friday, January 7, 2011 after a full court hearing, the Probation Department admitted that the offender had not violated his GPS restrictions and the probation violation was dropped. The accuracy of the GPS tracking system can and must be called into question in these cases.