Search of home after improper GPS tracking affirmed

August 8, 2014

Though the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed the warrantless installation of GPS devices was improper, it affirmed a trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence subsequently collected at the home of a suspected drug dealer.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers made numerous controlled buys of cocaine and heroin from Victor Keeylen in 2009, according to the record. Detectives received authorization, but not warrants, from a magistrate to place GPS tracking devices on his vehicles, but the record also shows that police continued to track his car after authority to do so expired.

The search uncovered heroin, cash, paraphernalia and a shotgun, after which Keeylen was charged with Class A felony counts of dealing a narcotic drug and possession of a narcotic drug; Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon; and Class C felony possession of a narcotic drug and firearm

In  Victor Keeylen v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1308-CR-419,  Keeylen argues on interlocutory appeal that the warrant for a search of his home was predicated on a probable cause affidavit that contained omissions that misled the court.

“(I)t is telling that the officers did not seek a 'warrant,' Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the panel. “Their failure to do so suggests that the officers, by merely seeking an order of authorization, sought something less than a warrant, and, as is easily inferred, on less than probable cause.”

But the panel found Keeylen’s argument fell short given the facts and circumstances of the case.

"Even though the warrantless installation of the GPS devices and monitoring of Keeylen's vehicles was improper, the trial court did not err in concluding that Keeylen failed to establish that the police engaged in deliberate falsehood or acted with a reckless disregard for the truth when they omitted the information regarding the GPS tracking devices from the probable cause affidavit,” Mathias wrote. “Nor did Keeylen establish that probable cause would no longer exist if the omitted information had been considered by the issuing judge."




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