Still no decision in Wisconsin GPS lawsuit

By Dave . . . In March 2019, a federal class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by attorneys Adele Nicholas and Mark Weinberg on behalf of eight people on the registry living in Wisconsin. The suit was a response to a 2017 opinion by then Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel to expand the class of Wisconsin registrants required to wear GPS tracking devices for life.

Individuals convicted of sex offenses on two or more separate occasions were already subject to lifetime GPS monitoring. However, in 2017, Schimel re-interpreted the law to include anyone convicted of more than one count — even if the charges stemmed from only one occasion.

In December 2019, the U.S. District Court dismissed the suit and denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the GPS monitoring. Three of the plaintiffs immediately appealed to the 7th Circuit.

Finally, in September 2020, oral arguments were presented to a panel of 7th Circuit judges. Among other things, plaintiffs’ counsel spoke of the extreme intrusiveness of GPS and that it was imposed after the plaintiffs’ sentences were completed. Also, the State conceded it did not have data to support that the GPS technology served its intended purpose: to reduce future crimes.

What happens next? We wait.

There is no deadline for the 7th Circuit to make its decision. In the meantime, nothing has changed. Plaintiffs — and everyone else affected — still have to abide by the re-interpretation of the “separate occasions” statute.

NARSOL will report more on this as soon as a decision is announced.

a guest writer

Written by 

NARSOL accepts original, unpublished submissions no longer than 750 words and written in Word or a comparable, editable program. Whether used or not, you will be notified. All submissions are subject to editing for grammatical structures and clarity. Please specify the name you wish used as author, a sentence or two of self-identification, and a valid email address. Email as an attachment to

6 Thoughts to “Still no decision in Wisconsin GPS lawsuit”

  1. AvatarWilliam Gerald Bennett

    I have been on the registry for 20 years following a plea agreement NOT to have to register… no sooner did I sign the written negotiated plea agreement and they registered me the same day anyways… I have spoke to every attorney I have ever had about this and they all claim it is outside the scope of their representation…they don’t care what is legal in Wisconsin… or even if a higher court rules in our favor… they do whatever they want…

  2. AvatarWilliam Gerald Bennett

    In Packingham v. North Carolina (2016) The United States Supreme Court struck down any law or supervision rules that interfere with a registrants ability to utilize social media as long as the defendant did not use the internet to facilitate their offense… but wouldn’t you know Wisconsin doesn’t care what the highest court in the land says as my agent still directed me to shut down all of my social media accounts…

  3. AvatarWilliam Gerald Bennett

    The craziest part of this entire GPS equation is that regardless how much time any defendant may serve on GPS monitoring there is still no sentence credit provision toward the completion of anyone’s sentence… The department currently determines hours in your residence as well as hours out as well as where each individual is allowed to go… so if any individual is “locked down” in their residence for any amount of hours everyday, they still receive zero sentence credit toward service of their sentence… while an individual who is placed on ankle monitoring for Huber receives sentence credit for everyday served… can anyone say “equal protection” because to say non registrants get credit while registrants do not is severely demonstrative of legal bias to an otherwise similarly situated class in terms of anyone required to wear monitoring equipment…

  4. AvatarMarlin Scott

    It would be good if several in North Carolina banned together an filed a simular class action case. I have long wanted to get in on the action because of the life-time sentence of GPS. How can the Reasonableness clause be applied for one class of offenders but not for others being subjected to life-time SBM? And how would a person without the financial capability become involved in lobbying for changes in these laws?

  5. AvatarChristopher Brown

    Lol,scotus in grady vs NC,ruled this is a 4th,and must be viewed properly as a search!!!!
    So make the court view this as a search n u cannot lose!!!
    Why? The state has no exception to the warrant requirement,they played dirty by bypassing the warrant requirement when using a gps tracker,it makes no difference how dangerous they say u are.make them go buy the law n u got them,warrantless search for life! Reasonable under the 4th amendment,no way! If so then u just trashed the 4th amendment.cant use special needs doctrine,because it a law enforcement based search don’t have diminished privacy just because ur in a civil,non punitive sex offender.program.u have paid ur debt to society.the state has no hold on u like a probation or parole program,again goddamit ur in a non punitive program,otherwise its a xo PO facto violation,sorry state u cant have it both ways.

  6. AvatarNick

    What is ‘extreme intrusiveness’?
    Is it anything like the psychotropic torture innocent non-felon, US born, voting, home owning, US citizens have been experiencing in the state of Wisconsin? In particular in the 4th ward of Janesville Wisconsin?

Comments are closed.