In US v. Pinedo-Moreno, decided January 11, 2010, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that: (1) there is no expectation of privacy in a car parked in your driveway. Police officers had attached a tracking device to the underside of the appellants car, while it sat awaiting the return of its owner. The court said that the homeowner had no gate, no signs barring trespassers and the car was visible from the street. As importantly, it also reiterated that (2) use of the tracking device is not a search.
I always laugh at the notion that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is some whacked out group of libs and socialista just looking for the chance to outlaw American currency and require we all stop wearing fur! Here again the bottom line crosses the Circuits – no reasonable expectation of privacy means no actionable search.
Factually, this one of those marijuana grow operation cases where DEA has identified a potential suspect but is looking for the grow. They attached tracking devices on seven occasions, and not one of them was a search. The US conceded that the car was parked within the curtilage of the home but the driveway was "only a semi-private" area. No reasonable expectation of privacy follows. If there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, there was no search when they followed the driver because the US Supreme Court has already held that a person who travels on public roadways has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his travels.
So there we are – full circle and back to criminal law. I may not post again for a couple weeks as I head to an island for warmth, sun, a little bone fishing and some time reading trashy novels. And there will likely be a country song or two: "Got my toes in the water…."