Grady v. North Carolina

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: March 30, 2015
  • Case #: 14–593
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam
  • Full Text Opinion

The Supreme Court will not examine the issue of whether North Carolina's satellite based monitoring is an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment when the State's appellate courts did not first examine the reasonableness of the search.

Petitioner was subject to satellite based monitoring (SBM) as a recidivist sex offender after serving his second sentence for sex offenses. Petitioner agreed that he is a recidivist sex offender under the North Carolina statute, but argued that SBM violated his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches. The trial court disagreed and subjected petitioner to SBM for the rest of his life. In light of the the United States Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Jones, which held GPS tracking of a vehicle to be a search, petitioner renewed his Fourth Amendment challenge to SBM.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals rejected petitioner’s argument, and held that a civil SBM proceeding was readily distinguishable from the suppression of evidence issue in Jones. Petitioner appealed, and the North Carolina Supreme Court affirmed the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Petitioner petitioned the United States Supreme Court, and the Court granted certiorari to decide whether North Carolina’s non-consensual civil SBM is an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. The Court vacated the grant of certiorari and remanded the case to the North Carolina Supreme Court. The Court reasoned that the Fourth Amendment only limits unreasonable searches, and because the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court did not examine the reasonableness, the Court will not do so in the first instance.

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