South Carolina v. AdamsAnnotate this Case
Officers from the North Charleston South Carolina Police Department (NCPD),believed Petitioner Alfred Adams was a drug dealer. Acting without a warrant, officers placed a Global Positioning System (GPS) device on petitioner's vehicle. After monitoring petitioner's travel to Atlanta, Georgia, and upon his return to South Carolina, law enforcement stationed a drug canine unit on the interstate within the NCPD's jurisdiction, with instructions to conduct a traffic stop on petitioner's vehicle. An officer conducted the requested traffic stop and discovered cocaine in petitioner's possession, which resulted in his arrest. Petitioner moved to suppress the drugs, arguing that the warrantless installation of the GPS device violated the Fourth Amendment. The trial court denied petitioner's motion, finding no constitutional violation. The court of appeals found the warrantless installation of the GPS device violated the Fourth Amendment but determined that the exclusionary rule did not apply because "Adams's traffic violations were intervening criminal acts sufficient to cure the taint arising from unlawfully installing the [GPS] device and monitoring the vehicle." Petitioner contended on appeal to the Supreme Court that the court of appeals erred in finding that his traffic violations were intervening criminal acts that dissipated the taint from the unlawful search and concluding the facts did not warrant suppression. The Supreme Court agreed, reversed and remanded for further proceedings.