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    Wrongfully Convicted US Man Has Case Overturned in Landmark Surveillance Ruling

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    Antoine Jones was sentenced to life in prison in January 2008 for possessing and conspiring to distribute more than 50 kilograms of cocaine after investigators used a GPS tracking device to obtain key evidence in the case. Jones sat down with Sputnik to discuss his Supreme Court case to challenge surveillance methods and how he never lost hope.

    "I always have faith, and believe in God," Jones told Sputnik Radio's By Any Means Necessary about his will to fight. "I got to give him the glory. The government in this case… it was a political case."

    "For one, they look at the case as the biggest drug bust case in [Washington] DC history… this is stuff that would make them political, and also I would say move up the ladder."

    ​In 2004, Jones, who was a nightclub owner at the time, came under investigation by the FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department for narcotics violations. In order to keep tabs on Jones and collect additional information about his whereabouts, investigators installed a GPS on his vehicle for nearly a month.

    After his arrest in 2005, Jones was tried in court for the first time in 2006, which ended with the federal jury deadlocked on a conspiracy charge and acquitting him of several other charges. He was retried in 2007, and in 2008 found guilty on one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine and 50 or more grams of cocaine base.

    He was sentenced to life in prison. However, this setback wasn't going to keep Jones from challenging the charges. After noting that the GPS device was implanted without a valid warrant, which made the device illegal, Jones appealed his conviction, and in August 2010 he won his argument.

    But that wasn't the end of it.

    Even after the US Supreme Court heard his case, and in January 2012 ruled that investigators had indeed violated Jones' rights when they attached the illegal GPS device, prosecutors went after him for a third time in 2013 on cocaine distribution charges. He eventually took a plea deal that sentenced him to 15 years in prison and saw him forfeit $1 million that federal agents had seized.

    Jones told hosts Eugene Puryear and Sean Blackmon that in some way, when he was placed in solitary confinement, it was a blessing, since he could use the time to see how he could use the law to fight his case.

    "I could say that the Lord blessed me. It blessed me to be by myself, it blessed me to study more on the Bible, it blessed me to keep my health, and work out everyday, and it also blessed me to learn the law," he said. "What the government didn't know is that I'm here in total separation… I learned the law. I read law book after law book."

    "The Lord just blessed me that I didn't break down, because I should have broken down, because I'm flesh like everybody else, and I didn't. Once I learned the law, I said, ‘They can't do this,' and I realized not only were they doing this to me… they've been doing this to millions of people," he continued.

    "[The case] was bigger than me. I was just a tool. It was political… it was the case that was meant to be there [at the US Supreme Court]."

    Jones' Supreme Court argument is largely seen as a landmark case regarding the Fourth Amendment and citizens' reasonable expectation of privacy. All nine judges agreed at the time that the placement of the GPS device violated the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

    Jones was released from prison in 2018.

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    Tags:
    GPS Tracking, Surveillance, US Supreme Court, Antoine Jones, United States
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