Tracking Predators: Microchip Implants, a Constitutional Alternative to GPS Tracking for North Carolina?

The North Carolina Court of Appeals’ recent decision in State v. Grady held that the State of North Carolina failed to prove the reasonableness of continuing Satellite Based Monitoring (SBM) for the lifetime of a sex offender. It is the State’s burden to prove the necessity, and looking at the totality of the circumstances, the court found two factors significant in determining that lifetime SBM is unreasonable: the physical intrusion of the SBM device, and the continuous GPS monitoring. In light of the court’s holding that SBM affected a Fourth Amendment search (which was unreasonable even for a convicted sex offender who has a diminished expectation of privacy), how can the State continue to protect the public? One way is to implant microchips into offenders once GPS tracking has ceased. Use of a microchip implant to restrict a convicted sex offender from access to certain public places would alleviate both factors significant to the court’s analysis: the implant has little to no discernable effect on a person and a sex offender’s movements would not be tracked continually. This avoids the unconstitutional aspects of SBM and achieves a policy goal of protecting the public from recidivism in convicted sex offenders.

  • Author: Alex Rutgers
  • Cite: Alex Rutgers, Tracking Predators: Microchip Implants, a Constitutional Alternative to GPS Tracking for North Carolina?, 20 N.C. J. L. & Tech 149 (2018), http://ncjolt.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/RutgersFinal.pdf.
  • PDF: http://ncjolt.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/RutgersFinal.pdf
  • Volume: Volume 20, Online Edition

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