Commonwealth v. FelizAnnotate this Case
In this criminal case, the Supreme Judicial Court held that, as applied to Defendant, GPS monitoring as a condition of Defendant's probation was an unconstitutional search under article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.
Defendant was convicted of possession and distribution of child pornography. The terms of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, 47 requires judges to impose GPS monitoring as a condition of probation for individuals convicted of most sex offenses. In accordance with the statute, the sentencing judge imposed GPS monitoring as a condition of Defendant's probation. Defendant appealed, arguing that, as applied to him, the condition of mandatory GPS monitoring constituted an unconstitutional unreasonable search. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed, holding (1) Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, 47 is over inclusive in that GPS monitoring will not necessarily constitute a reasonable search for all individuals convicted of a qualifying sex offense; (2) to comport with article 14, prior to imposing GPS monitoring on a defendant, a judge is required to conduct a balancing test weighing the Commonwealth's need to impose GPS monitoring against the defendant's privacy invasion arising by the monitoring; and (3) in the instant case, the Commonwealth's particularized reasons for imposing GPS monitoring on Defendant did not outweigh the privacy invasion that GPS monitoring entails.