Next year, the Supreme Court will decide whether it’s okay for law enforcement to put a GPS tracking device on someone’s car without a warrant. Some courts say yes and some courts say no. If it’s not the po-po tracking you, though, but a spouse who suspects you might be cheating, a New Jersey court says, “Go for it.”
A New Jersey woman hired a private investigator to follow her husband to find out if he was straying. Her husband, Kenneth Villanova, a Gloucester County sheriff’s officer, kept managing to lose the investigator [*insert high-speed car chases here*]. So the investigator, Richard Leonard, advised his client to put a tracking device in her husband’s car, reports the Star-Ledger. She put it in the glove compartment of their jointly-owned GMC Yukon.
Busted: Within two weeks, it revealed Villanova’s car sitting in the driveway of a woman who was not his wife. Oh, the bittersweet pleasure of catching a partner in the act.
Villanova was not pleased. He sued his wife and Leonard for invasion of privacy and for causing him “substantial and permanent emotional distress.” My married colleague Matt Herper has (jokingly) remarked to me before that there is no privacy in marriage. Asked to clarify, Herper says: “There’s no presumption of privacy, or right to it. If invading a spouse’s privacy is an offense, it’s probably a smaller one than expecting to keep very many secrets.”
The New Jersey appellate judges came to the same conclusion, but with slightly different reasoning…