In 2012, two years after the Wisconsin Department of Corrections officials affixed an ankle bracelet on him after his discharge from civil commitment, Michael Belleau sued, claiming the practice amounted to an ex post facto law as well as unreasonable search and seizure without a warrant.
In September, Chief U.S. District Judge William Griesbach agreed, saying Belleau had served his sentences and couldn’t be punished further just because the state now thinks the original sentence was too lenient. “Nor may the state force Belleau to wear a GPS tracking device around his ankle so that it can record his movement minute-by-minute for the rest of his life because it believes he might commit another crime in the future,” “The state’s authority over the individual is not unlimited.” WOW, THAT’S A REFRESHING PERSPECTIVE! However, it was also short lived.
Seventh Circus Judge Richard Posner adopted the state’s position that the GPS monitoring is merely regulatory, not punitive, and doesn’t limit where Belleau can go, like someone on probation. Posner also agreed that the application of this provision did not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution because the monitoring was triggered by Belleau’s discharge from civil commitment in 2010, after the GPS law took effect in 2006, not his earlier criminal convictions. “So if civil commitment is not punishment, as the Supreme Court has ruled, then a fortiori neither is having to wear an anklet monitor.” Obviously, Judge Posner never had to wear one of these devices!