Jones’ appellate lawyer, Stephen Leckar of Washington’s Shainis & Peltzman, argued that the circumstance in the Jones case is different from the scenario the Supreme Court ruled on in Knotts. In the Jones case, police used GPS to supplant traditional surveillance, not to augment it, Leckar said. (Both the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation supported Jones as an amicus in the case.)
Tatel noted what he called the “big caveat” in Knotts. The late Justice William Rehnquist said in Knotts that if 24-hour surveillance were ever implemented, “[t]here will be time enough then to determine whether different constitutional principles may be applicable. The Jones case, [Judge] Tatel said, presents that scenario.