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Frederick man loses challenge on police use of GPS tracker in stolen car – Argument

Frederick man loses challenge on police use of GPS tracker in stolen car – Argument

An accused burglar on Wednesday unsuccessfully challenged the use of a GPS tracker that police placed in a stolen vehicle he was driving without first getting a warrant.

Washington County Circuit Court Judge Daniel P. Dwyer ruled that Charles Taylor Gardner Jr. did not have legal standing to challenge the Washington County Sheriff’s Office’s use of the tracking device placed on a 2005 Nissan Armada on the night of March 6-7. Gardner was arrested on March 7 as police tracked the vehicle to a house he had allegedly broken into.

Taylor testified at Wednesday’s suppression hearing that he had given a man drugs on three occasions between December 2017 and February 2018 in exchange for using the Armada. Gardner cited his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer several specific questions about the transaction posed by Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher McCormack.

Gardner also testified he learned from the man in January that the Armada did not belong to him.

Gardner’s attorney, Robert Kline, told the court that the man who gave Gardner the vehicle died on Feb. 24, 2018.

“There was no reason for him to believe (the Armada) was stolen,” Kline told Dwyer.

McCormack argued that a person has “no reasonable expectation of privacy” even if he did not know the vehicle was stolen. McCormack said afterward police would normally have to obtain a search warrant to place a tracking device on a person’s vehicle.

Dwyer noted the car’s owner and a detective testified the car was stolen, and Gardner had no expectation of privacy regardless of whether he knew it was stolen.

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