Lawyer In Murder Case Trying To Prove GPS Is Junk Science

from the um...-good-luck-with-that-one dept

We’ve written before about court cases that involve some element of technology, where a lawyer convinces a judge or a jury of something by simply using a lot of techno-babble that doesn’t make sense, in an effort to prove a point that simply isn’t true. It sounds like that’s what a lawyer is about to do in the well hyped Laci Peterson murder trial here in California. Scott Peterson’s lawyer is going to try to have the court exclude GPS evidence on Peterson’s whereabouts by claiming GPS technology is unreliable and inaccurate and has “not been generally accepted by the scientific community.” Considering the number of applications that use GPS technology with pinpoint accuracy every day, they’re going to have a tough time convincing many people on this one.

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Comments on “Lawyer In Murder Case Trying To Prove GPS Is Junk Science”

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Anonymoose Cow-ard says:

Clear line of sight?

GPS requires clear line of sight to at least 3 satellites for a valid position.

Have you ever tried to use one of those GPS based automobile direction computers (the kind like Hertz uses) during a heavy rainstorm? The GPS guidance computer is completely useless and won’t track your position at all.

Perhaps the lawyers will use this type of explanation to prove that even though GPS works well when you have clear line of sight to satellites, there are times when GPS is useless and meaningless.

A known Amos Cowherd says:

Re: Clear line of sight?

I have four different GPSes and two of them can read my position inside my living room with none of the windows open or with a view of the sky. Granted, the signal is weak and the accuracy is between 50 and 100 feet, but it can get a lock.
Heavy tree cover can reduce accuracy to 40-50 feet. Strong electrical storms can cause you to lose tracking in the open. I’ve never had this happen for more than a few minutes, but I guess that could be enough time for me to get from Monterey to San Diego in my super sonic invisible jet.

Gary says:

Re: Re: Clear line of sight?

Well, First off you need to know what GPS device is in question. There is a big differance between a corrected GPS signal a ship might use to navigate and a $100 garmin from sportmart. I have clocked my back porch at over 60mph and watched it jump as much as 300ft according to my cheap GPS.

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