GPS tracking bracelets have become a common restriction for accused criminals released on bail or convicted criminals on parole. So common, in fact, that perhaps the criminals are not taking them seriously.
In Massachusetts recently, Patrick Malone was arrested and charged with trafficking in cocaine. He was arraigned on October 26, and prosecutors recommended that he be held on $20,000 bail. Instead, the judge ordered a bail of $2,500. However, the judge did require Malone to wear a GPS bracelet, follow a 7pm to 7am curfew, and avoid any contact with his co-defendants. The judge did not place any restrictions on Malone as to what areas he could or could not visit.
On November 19, 26-year-old Leroy Cooper was found with a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the local hospital. After gathering surveillance footage and witness testimony, police checked the monitoring data from Malone’s GPS tracking bracelet. That information placed Malone at the scene when Cooper was murdered.
Based on this evidence, city police and U.S. Marshals arrested Malone and charged him with the armed robbery and murder of Leroy Cooper. Malone entered a not guilty plea and is being held without bail on both charges. Law enforcement is still investigating the crime and attempting to determine the motive behind the killing.
This incident shows that the mere wearing of a monitoring device will not necessarily deter criminals from involvement in unlawful activity. The use of tracking bracelets must be accompanied by careful checking of the data and restrictions on the individual’s activity. In many instances, those wearing such a device are restricted from visiting certain areas. If they violate the restriction, the device sends out an alert to the monitoring agency. A close supervision such as this might have been helpful in Malone’s case.
Regardless of what restrictions should or should not have been in place, the core issue is the perception of the one wearing the device. If the individual does not grasp the reality that his every move is being tracked and recorded, then he will not be deterred from further criminal activity. On the other hand, the individual who understands his constant surveillance and its ramifications will zealously avoid any appearance of wrongdoing. Perhaps this incident will be a stepping-stone in the path of increasing criminals’ respect for the GPS tracking bracelet they wear.