The Georgia Supreme Court yesterday ruled that law enforcement must obtain a warrant before pulling data from an automobile as part of a crash investigation, overturning a verdict previously rendered and later upheld by lower courts.

The decision stems from the criminal case Mobley v. State, in which defendant Victor Mobley was convicted of two vehicular homicides, after data collected from his automobile's airbag control modules (ACMs) showed he was driving over 100 MPH when the fatal crash occurred.

Mobley had requested to suppress the ACM data, claiming that the warrantless gathering of the information was an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, but a Henry County trial court denied that motion. The Court of Appeals subsequently upheld this decision, with one judge opining that the collection of ACM data was not a search-and-seizure scenario at all because the Mobley had no reasonable expectation that his vehicular data would remain private.

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