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California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Search Warrant Before Use of Electronic Tracking Devices


November-December 1997

On October 7, Gov. Pete Wilson (R-CA) vetoed SB 443, a bi-partisan measure that would have required law enforcement to get a search warrant to use electronic tracking devices (ETDs) ("Governor's off the track," Orange County Register, October 9, 1997, p. 8; Stuart Pfeiffer and Mark Katches, "Wilson rejects a measure requiring a warrant to affix such devices to suspects' cars," Orange County Register, October 8, 1997, p. 1).

Sen. Ross Johnson (R-Irvine) sponsored SB 443. It passed the Senate 33-4 and the Assembly 66-7. Even though the bill was sponsored and supported by many Republicans, most did not join the Democrats in the two-thirds vote needed to overturn the veto. Sen. John Burton (D-San Francisco), the major Democratic supporter of SB 443 plans to sponsor a modified bill next year.

Gov. Wilson rejected concerns over potential Fourth Amendment violations, saying, "too many murders and rapists have been set free in technical violations to contemplate tossing out evidence based on speculative concerns regarding conduct which has been held lawful by the United States Supreme Court."

California State Sen. John Burton - State Capitol, Room 4074, Sacramento, CA 95814, Tel: (916) 445-1412.

California State Sen. Ross Johnson - State Capitol, Room 5087, Sacramento, CA 95814, Tel: (916) 445-4961.