In May of 2010, the Drug Enforcement Agency and members of the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team received information from a confidential informant that Brian Scott Fisher (“Fisher”) was involved in the sale of cocaine and had suppliers in Lansing, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois. The informant also revealed that Fisher would drive to Lansing, Michigan, in a white four-door Oldsmobile on May 28, 2010, and would return to Escanaba, Michigan, the following day with a shipment of drugs. On May 28, 2010, police attached a Global Positioning System (“GPS”) unit to the bumper of Fisher’s car. The battery-operated GPS provided the vehicle’s location when contacted by a telephone signal so long as the GPS was within range of a cell phone tower. Relying on a combination of GPS monitoring and physical surveillance, the police confirmed that Fisher traveled to Lansing and later returned to Escanaba.
The next month, in early June 2010, the confidential informant again told police about an impending drug run, this time to Chicago, Illinois. The informant described the vehicle that would be used, who would be traveling, and the dates of the trip. The events that unfolded corroborated the informant’s tip. Officers observed Fisher leave Escanaba on June 11, 2010. Using ten to twelve vehicles, the police followed Fisher until he arrived in Chicago. The GPS then indicated that Fisher’s vehicle stopped at a location in Plainfield, Illinois. This was corroborated by physical surveillance. When Fisher’s vehicle left the Chicago area several days later, on June 14, 2010, the GPS informed police that the vehicle had started traveling northbound. While the GPS does have a “live track” feature, which allows the police to track the vehicle in real time, it was used sparingly because of the GPS’s limited battery life. Once Fisher entered Michigan, he was stopped. After a trained narcotics dog named “Rambo” alerted to the presence of drugs in the vehicle, police conducted a warrantless search and discovered three ounces of cocaine.
Judge(s): David McKeague
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
Related Categories: Constitutional Law , Criminal Justice
|Circuit Court Judge(s)|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Paul Peterson||Office of the Federal Public Defender|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Sally Berens||U.S. Department of Justice|