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Unlawful GPS tracker leads judge to dismiss charges in poaching case

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Charges against a hunter accused in a high-profile poaching case have been dropped.

Joshua Liebl, 38, was facing 13 criminal charges after officers seized 37 guns, 28 sets of deer antlers, four sets of elk antlers and a set of mule deer antlers in the fall of 2014. They also discovered a fully intact, untagged piebald deer in a freezer.

But Lac qui Parle County District Judge Thomas Van Hon issued an order Monday ruling the state violated Liebl's Fourth Amendment rights when a conservation officer put a GPS tracking device on his pickup without a warrant.

Van Hon granted a motion filed by Liebl's attorney, which said the evidence obtained after the GPS was attached to Liebl's vehicle shouldn't be included in a trial.

And as a result, the judge dismissed all the charges against Liebl.

Lac qui Parle County Attorney Rick Stulz told Forum News Service they haven't decided if they'll seek an appeal on the judge's order, noting: "It think it's pretty clear in the order what the judge's rationale was."

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